My father admitted to me the other day that he still occasionally checked my blog for new blog posts. And honestly, my first thought was “Oh, snap!” Not because I care that Dad see this very real side of me here, but because the last thing I thought he needed was my worries added onto his. I did a quick scan of my posts, and sure enough, found my words of worry specifically about him. He has asked if I care that he still reads my blog, and I have assured him I don’t. I was planning on posting something in the following vein even before I knew for sure he would read it, but now I am glad to know he’ll see this, maybe it will unknot some of the tangling emotions I have added to his pile.
I love you so much. And I am sorry that you read my worries about you. They came from a mind crowded with a whole bunch of worries of the future, worries about the whole family. Mom was worried about you too, you know. She made me promise to look after you. Made me promise never to forget you. She should have known I would never let our family drift apart, that I would never neglect our relationship. But she loved you, and wanted you looked after. And I suppose I knew I never could do that as well as her, and so I feared. But let’s come back to that later.
In all honesty there have been times in my life when I haven’t felt like we were very close. I NEVER doubted you loved me, and I NEVER doubted that you would do anything to help me if I needed it. But I remember feeling like we didn’t really talk, or converse regularly, and I remember being very frustrated and hurt over it. Then one day Jenna made everyone in the family take the Meyers-Brigs personality test, and you ended up scoring as an ISTJ, which is what I was. There was a light bulb moment when I realized you and I functioned so similarly. We both hold our emotions so deep within us. We both are reticent when it comes to sharing and opening up. You wouldn’t know, but I think that was a major turning point for me in our relationship. I understood you, and understood what you did and didn’t do because I tended to do the same things. And somehow it suddenly didn’t matter that unlike Mom and I who might stay up late into the night ranting or whatnot, you and I had a quieter, less visible relationship, and that was okay.
That doesn’t mean that before that I don’t have the bestest of memories of the two of us. I’ve written to you of those before, if you recall, quite a while ago. I don’t think I even realized back then just how out of your way you went for me. I was thinking just the other day how many wild cat sanctuaries you let me drag you to on vacations. Or how you sometimes let me order dessert instead of dinner. My goodness, you spoiled this crazy cat girl. Teaching me to drive, teaching me to fish, teaching me to be independent and studious and strong. I remember you’d come to tuck me into bed at night and you’d start chanting “Fee, Fi, Fo Fum” just like Jack and the Beanstock. You never could give me a reason why you did it, or why you did it only for me. But I loved it. We’ve worked on so many projects, the most recent of which is your remodeled bathroom. I love that I’m the designated tile picker and how we can just dive into projects together.
You had always struck me as a person who didn’t need anyone but Mom, and I think that was a really sweet, beautiful marriage. And a lot of my worries for you stemmed from what you would be without her. I was worried that with the one person you confided in and leaned on gone that you would bottle it all up inside. I was worried that as you hadn’t been very social of late (Due to wanting to stay close to Mom), you had developed a habit of it and would not socialize anytime soon. And all this culminated in me picturing you as very alone, no matter what schemes I tried to form to make it not so.
But with the downward turn of Mom’s illness, that quiet friendship we had seemed to be morphing. We had already shared going to church together without the rest of the family for more than a year, as Christian stayed home with Mom, who couldn’t come. It was a simple pleasure to have that little thing that just the two of us shared, even though it came with the sad circumstances. And with that came a little more conversation into our lives. And I have of recent watched you open up more to everyone. I remember sitting in the kitchen talking to you sometime very early this spring, and having the thought “Is he confiding in me? When did that start to happen?” I have seen you make an effort to attend events and I have seen you hang out with friends and family and not dwell on the past, and it has cheered my soul greatly.
So shorten it all to say that while I won’t say I don’t still worry (I still worry about all the family, after all. I don’t know that that will ever change) I do not have those terrible fears that so beset me when I first wrote them down. And I have always loved you and I have loved the relationship we had, and I love how we have developed a new, deeper one.
I hope this post doesn’t bring you any pain, goodness knows I want to spare you any of that on my account. I just hope that you know that I think you’re going to be alright, as I think we all are. I am looking forward to all the conversations and the adventures we will have in the future. You’re the best of dads.
Your fellow early morning riser, your fellow quiet person, your Brat girl or Bratoria or whatever form of Brat and my name you can think of (I must have been a really snarky kid for all that), your daughter,