my dad texted me this morning about my car. at the end he added, "i miss you." later that day i learned that he texted my brother about something else, but also saying that he missed him. then at dinner my mom said he texted her that morning, telling her how much he misses me and my brother.
my relationship with my dad is kind of a sore subject for me... it didn't used to be. i was actually a huge daddy's girl when i was younger. i barely have any pictures with my mom, but i have so many pictures with my dad. when my parents got divorced, i still loved him more than anything. i wanted to live with him, and i looked forward to every weekend i spent with him.
after a couple years though, i started to grow up. i realized that i didn't have very much in common with him. and the things we did have in common are what kept us from being close.
my dad doesn't always speak his mind, but when he did, for some reason it always seemed to hurt me. he used to make comments to me and my brother about what we ate, what we wore, what we looked like. as a kid, all either of wanted to be was accepted. at my mom's house, we got that everyday - acceptance. my mom never told us who to be or what to like. she let us have our own opinions and let us do what made us happy (within reason of course). but my dad thought that anything out of his norm, or anything that would other people think less of us, was wrong. he would ask me when the last time i washed my face was, whether i really needed another serving of food, whether i really liked the clothes i was wearing, or the way i did my hair, or if i really thought that what i was wearing was pretty. he would criticize my brother for not liking the same things as him, for going on the computer too much, for wearing the clothes he wore, for eating what he ate, for growing his hair long. everything. he was pretty subtle about it, but when i got into my early teens, it really started to bother me.
after high school started, i stopped going to his house as often. marching band kept me from having a consistent schedule, so i went when i could. whenever i was there, i sat in my room all day. every weekend i would ask if we were going to do anything, and he'd always say no or ask if i wanted to do anything. he would ask what i do at my mom's house on the weekend. and i'd tell the truth, that i do pretty much the same thing, watch tv. but, at my mom's house we have one tv in our family room, and we all watch it together, and my mom let us watch whatever we wanted. whenever i tried to watch tv with my dad, i always had to watch whatever he wanted, and i never wanted to watch what he wanted. so i stayed in my room most of the time. after a while the only reason i went was because i thought i had to.
since i've started college, i've only seen my dad when i made the effort to go see him. i can count on one hand the amount of times he's come to see me since then, and i'd still have fingers left over. and every time he has come to see me, it's because i had to ask him if he wanted to come. after a while, i felt like i was the only person putting any effort into our relationship, and i knew i shouldn't, but i kind of stopped for a while.
last summer my mom and i had a long talk about my dad. about how when i was a baby, he wouldn't even realize i was in the room until my mom told him i was. about how she always had to make him put an effort in when i was younger. it made me mad that i always thought i was so close to him when i was younger... still kind of makes me mad.
my first semester of college, i was going through a slightly rough time one week. everything was just kind of going wrong and i was homesick. i still hadn't made very many friends, so i was alone on a friday night. i decided to watch my sister's keeper. and i'm just going to put it out there that i'm not a very big crier. when i do cry, not very many tears come out, and i really don't know why. even when i want to cry, it usually just doesn't happen. and up until then, i had only cried while watching a movie one time. anyways, so yeah the movie was sad and all, but whenever the dad would do something nice for the daughter, i'd start bawling. and at first i had no idea why, but i couldn't help it. it happened every time the dad was in a scene. for the next couple weeks, it was all i could think about.
and then i realized that i missed my dad. not just because i was in school and away from my family, but i missed him because he hadn't really been in my life since i was little. technically he was, i saw him every other weekend for almost 15 years, but i felt so distant from him for so long, that i just missed him being a dad.
you know, the reason i joined marching band in the first place was because he convinced me to. and all he had to say was that he had done it in high school and that he liked it. i joined so that we would have something in common. he came to a lot of my competitions and some football games, but other than that we didn't really talk about it. and now that i've continued on with it after high school, he doesn't understand. he doesn't try to help me like my mom is. he's cutting off my child support and isn't going to pay for my car insurance because i'm not in school anymore, even though i'm taking time off from school to save money for drumline. he doesn't understand why i would put my life on hold for drumline, why i would pay so much for it, even though he himself was in drumline. of course, they didn't have winter drumline when he was in school, but still. and honestly, i don't think i've told him how much it means to me, and that i'm putting my entire life on hold to be able to march for the next three years.
on my birthday this year, i asked if he would come up to flagstaff to have dinner with me. i could tell he didn't want to make the drive, but he came. and i had such a hard time appreciating it for some reason... it should have meant the world to me that he actually came. he actually put in an effort. but he didn't sit by me, he didn't even really talk to me. my mom told me that he said he remembers the day i was born like it was yesterday. but still, he doesn't put in much effort to talk to me, or even get to know me. he knows who i was when i was little i suppose, but i've changed so much since then.
a couple weeks ago the registration on my car expired and he kept telling me i needed to give him all this information like record numbers and stuff that i didn't have. he finally called me and said that i needed to renew my registration myself, and that he's going to put the title in my name soon and that i would have to start paying my own insurance. we talked for a little bit, but i was just getting frustrated because i'm trying so hard to save money, and if i have to start paying for a bunch of stuff, all of my money will be gone. the next day though after he called me, he said that he got an email about my registration and that he took care of it. i thanked him and we were very polite and what not.
anyways, the whole point of this is that every time i read or see anything about good father/daughter relationships, i can't help but cry. my dad isn't a good dad because he doesn't know how to be a dad. he doesn't know how to be there for me when i need him, and he doesn't know how to be there just because. he doesn't put in much effort, but i know that if i stop putting in effort, we'll never talk to each other. i honestly hate putting effort into relationships that seem too one sided, so i usually stop putting effort in when the other person does as well. but i have to keep reminding myself that this isn't some random person, it's my dad. and i don't want him to not be a part of my life.
so i'm going to be the better person. i'm going to be a better daughter than he has ever been a father. and i'm going to put in some effort. his birthday was a couple weeks ago and all i did was text him... maybe i'll send him a late present... i have no idea what kind of things he likes anymore.
also, i hope whoever i marry is the best father any daughter or son could ever have.