I called my Dad tonight to wish him a happy Fathers Day. As usual our conversation consisted of my asking “what’s new” and him going on and on and on with complaints about his “short end of the stick”. My Dad likes to think that he was dealt a crappy hand in life, and in some regards he would be right… but he’s also had a lot to be grateful for, things I’m not sure he often remembers to appreciate. There is often a lot of tension in our phone calls, and I typically feel very frustrated afterwards.
My relationship with my Dad has changed over the past few years. He used to tell me that he was proud of my accomplishments or that he loved me if I called him crying after a bad day. My Dad was always someone I could count on to provide a hug when it was needed.
I’m not sure when he realized I wasn’t a “little girl” anymore, but somewhere along the way I think I convinced him that I didn’t need my Daddy anymore.
He talks to me differently now, sort of like… we’re in a different “class” if that makes sense. My Mom always said that my Dad easily felt threatened by more successful people, like his brother for example… but I wonder if I’ve been too hard on my Dad, always trying to encourage him to go out and do something with his life, or constantly nagging at him to put down the cigarettes.
It frustrates me to no end watching him sit in that recliner smoking himself to death… but my Dad is fifty-two years old and it’s taken me until now to realize that he’s probably never going to change.
I also realize now that my “Dad” has stopped being my “Daddy” because I’ve let him feel insignificant in my life. I stopped being the child and started being the parent…
…so tonight, when I could hear him puffing on his cigarette while he complained about all of the things a small town guy can find to complain about, I didn’t say a word.
I just let him talk, and when he finished, I told him that I loved him, and I hung up the phone.