Growing up, I always felt special for having two dads- I mean think of what that actually means. It means I got two birthday celebrations, two Christmas' (actually more than that when you tie in the extended families), and two men who loved me. Sure, there were times when I wished it wasn't that way and thought about what I was missing out on. I didn't get to spend the holidays with both of my parents at the same time and I was constantly being shuffled back and forth from house to house. Later on, it did cause some psychological issues, as I didn't have the regular father-daughter relationships that most children have with their fathers. I felt that my relationship with my Dad was lacking in closeness and support and I resented the fact that my father didn't really know ME for who I am. If he didn't know what my favorite tv show was or what my real goals and aspirations were, could he really love me as anything other than his child? I wanted him to love me for my personality and wit- not just because he had to.
When Dad was diagnosed with Lung Cancer it was very scary for me. I had already watched Mom fight through Breast Cancer and saw the toll that it took on her and my family. Somehow though, it didn't seem so bad because my Mom beat it, surely Dad could too. His attitude furthered that theory of mine, it's hard to think that anything bad could be happening when everything is a "piece of cake". I really thought he was going to pull through it and that everything would be back to normal- only better. When Dad was in the hospital (before they actually diagnosed him and when they still thought it was just pneumonia) I had a good conversation with him about what we needed from each other. I told him how I needed to know what was going on and that he couldn't shelter me forever. I was trying to be more angry (that he hadn't told me that he was in the hospital until they were about to discharge him) than scared (that it could possibly be something more than pneumonia) unsuccessfully. I will say that my Dad's cancer definitely changed our relationship for the better. We talked much more often (pretty much every other day) which I thought was weird at first, but then grew to love. I felt like that was what I was missing all along. I thought for a while that maybe his disease was a gift to us, a way to rekindle our relationship and learn to really need each other again. I never expected him to die. While I still see those last months with my father as a gift, I also can't help but feel burned. It's almost as if I was shown what I could have had all along and then punished for not always feeling that way. I can't help but still feel very strongly about the loss of my father, and I'm sure I will feel this way for much longer- when we have kids especially. As much as I'd like to move on and say I feel fine again, it's days like today that I can't even pretend that I'm not still hurt by it.
However- this was supposed to be a happy post full of fond memories (of both of my fathers) and happy thoughts. I woke up this morning and thought of a long list of things that I have learned from my Father(s) and how that has changed me forever. Here are just a few of the things that I've learned:
-How to throw a ball in an un-girly fashion
-Being quiet is sometimes better than blabbing constantly
-Hard work always pays off
-People appreciate honesty
-Men are really good at getting out tangles without pulling hair
-Sometimes the garage is more relaxing/peaceful than the comfy sofa
-Singing in the car is something that should be done, even if people are watching
-Chicken and Dumplings and French Fries are soothing to the soul
-Sometimes Pizza does require a fork
-Advice should be given when asked (not whenever you feel like giving it)
-What to look for in a spouse (it's odd how much Nic is like my Papa)
-Sometimes you have to do things that other people want, even though it's not in your best interests (e.g. shave your beard, then hear everyone scream "grow it back!" because you don't look the same)
-Moving to a new place far from all your extended family isn't as scary if you have your immediate family with you
-Sometimes you don't have to say anything to get your point across, sometimes a look will do the trick
-Brownies are the best dessert (well... peach cobbler is pretty good too)
-Happy meals really do make people happy
-Staying up late to watch T.V. together is a pretty good bonding activity
-Gin Rummy is an awesome card game
-Father-Daughter square dances are never to be forgotten
-You don't have to be related by blood to be a really awesome parent
I've been pretty lucky to have two father figures in my life.
I would like to say a couple things to Papa- I love you so very much for everything you have done for me. You have always been there when I needed you (and when I thought I didn't). You have taught me so much about myself that I can't tell you how much I really appreciate you. You have sacrificed so much to give us a better life and have been exactly what I needed. I don't know where I'd be without you and I credit so many of my successes to you and the lessons you have given me.
To all the Father's out there- Papa, Tony, Joey... Happy Father's Day! I love you all and hope you have a very relaxing and enjoyable day.