Father and Son
If I were asked to describe what my family looked liked growing up my answer would be that it was my mother, my two older sisters and I. Much of my childhood existed with my father out of that picture. In my minds memory I can only actually recall us living together as a family for maybe 4 years of my childhood. For a long time I was mad at my dad for not being there and even went so far as to not care if he was or not, I became indifferent about it. A have a close friend that says indifference is worse than hate or anger because with hate or anger you have at least connected an emotion to that person. Over the years I have learned to forgive my father. What I now know is that my dad, whom I call “Daddy-O”, was doing the best he knew how to do when he knew it. He has grown exponentially over the years, and so have I. We’ve grown individually and also together as Father and Son.
He has missed birthdays and performances of shows that I’ve done, either because I didn’t invite him or he just didn’t come to them. He didn’t teach me to shave or tie a tie or even teach me how to drive. What he has done for as long as I can remember is tell me that he loves me and is proud of me at least once every time I talk to him. He also gives me a hug when I see him and also when we say goodbye. Those are the things that I will always remember and they are the most important elements of our relationship to me. If he never saw another performance I did, or never called me on my birthday again I wouldn’t care as long as he continues to tell me he loves me and is proud of me and I trust that he will because he has for so many years.
Four years ago a guy I was dating broke up with me and not knowing who to talk to in my family about it, I shared it with my dad. I was in a very low place about it all and I wanted comfort from more than just my friends about it. When I told my dad this is what he said; “I’m so sorry. Is there anything that I can do? I know what it’s like to not be with someone you love and you’re my son and I want you to be happy.” My father does not agree with me being gay and I know that because he’s told me and even with that there, he wanted for his son to be happy. Him saying that and being there for me emotionally is one of the greatest things my Daddy-O has ever done for me…so far.
As a kid I could have very easily looked at what our relationship was and made the choice to be ok with it and be mad at him for the rest of my life. What I did instead was to look at where our relationship was and ask myself if I wanted more. For me, the answer was YES! Since I wanted our relationship to work, I had to move beyond myself and my issues with him because it takes two people to have a relationship and they both have to work at it. I’m happy to say that we are happily working at having a loving, respectful and authentic relationship. I’m also happy to say that he got married Aug. 31 to his long time girlfriend and it is the happiest I’ve ever known him to be as a man and husband. He has finally allowed himself to love someone else and let them love him with less fear than before and I can see it in him.
It doesn’t matter what your age is, you can learn and grow when you make the choice to do so.