I need to spend more time with my daddy. He’s getting older and I can’t ignore his mortality anymore. He wears his age well but I see a much older man than the invincible daddy of my childhood. He and I have had a contentious relationship for the better part of my young life. We’re friends now, but the road has been long and winding.
As I grew up and made my own mistakes I realized how he must have felt when I stood in judgment of him. Sometimes, I literally hated him. I thought he was the devil incarnate. I don’t think he was the devil now, but I know he was a willing conduit for the devil at many different times in his life. I believe I felt such a strong hatred towards him because our relationship began with me worshipping him. I had to fight hard to hate him, because I still wanted him to be the daddy I used to worship. I still wished he could be a good husband to my mamma, and a good father to me. Since I still had that hope, I’d let the hatred ebb for a minute to check to see if he had changed. Of course he didn’t change – so the hatred again flowed. That cycle repeated itself throughout my teenage years.
When I was in my early twenties I softened to him a bit. I think the birth of my daughter gave me a different perspective on being a parent. I took off a few pieces of my armor and extended an olive branch to him - but I was still cautious. Looking out for that gut-punch feeling I got when he did something to hurt me. Checking over my shoulder to see if my armor was still there because I might need it at anytime. That time never came.
I can’t remember my daddy ever being really angry with me. Even when I wished him dead, well not dead, but I certainly wished for grave bodily harm to befall him immediately. He took responsibility for his failings and patiently waited for my heart to change. Over the years I let my guard down as much as I could – but I did test him from time to time. I’d have a flashback of one of the laundry list of shit he’d done in the past. So I’d bring those things up and watch for him to deny responsibility for his actions or try some revisionist history crap. But he stood firm and put my hurt and fragile feelings ahead of his feelings of guilt and shame.
Now 20 years later I love to see him. I love to sit beside him and feel arm his pressed up against mine. He and I laugh and joke like we’re old friends. He is not perfect, in fact he can say some downright “ignit” shit sometimes, but I accept him as he is. I know that some of his feisty ways are part of who I am, and I like that. When I’m with him I feel special and loved unconditionally. I know that he “gets” me. He doesn’t judge me or chide my own foolish behavior the way I did him.
I love to look at him. He’s gone from a good looking, cocky man who talked a lot of shit to a serene, handsome, regal looking older man. He still talks shit, but I like that about him.
When I sit beside my daddy now I feel like I’m eating warm pecan candy.