So I was having a conversation with my father a few weeks ago, and he just reminded me of all the reasons why I always thought he was so cool. My parents had me pretty young; they were barely out of high school at the time. I didn’t realize how young my parents were until I entered college and all of my friend’s parents were 10 and 20 years older than mine. Anyway, I was talking with my Dad about if he would let me take care of him if he’d ever gotten to the point that he couldn’t take care of himself. I asked him if he would trust my decision-making skills when it came to his health and his affairs. He said, “P, I’ve trusted your judgment since you were five years old. I know you wouldn’t do anything to hurt me so yes, I would let you take care of me.”
He says this now, but I remember a time when we almost got into a fight when I wanted to take him to the eye doctor to get his vision checked. He acted like I was taking him to get a seeing eye dog when it turned out all he needed was reading glasses…but I digress. One thing I’ll give him (and my mother) credit for was that they always just encouraged us to be ourselves, whatever that might be. They never tried to force their personal agendas on us. All my parents wanted for us was to accomplish certain things: graduate high school, go to college, don’t have kids, stay out of jail. Pretty simple list.
My father’s direction growing up was all about school. Up until I entered college all I heard from him was, “Books and boys don’t mix,” and “You don’t need any friends, you need to know your school work,” When I started dating, like for real dating, he pretty much left me alone. I was with a guy for about five years in and after college. My dad never really said much about the relationship, and he was always nice to my ex, so I found it a little surprising when I told him that we were having problems and he basically told me I didn’t have to put up with it. That’s when I knew he was only nice to my ex because he thought I was happy. Once it showed that I wasn’t, he was completely supportive of my decision to break up with him (and he took it as a personal opportunity to roast my ex- yes, my father can be very petty at times). I knew then that I could talk to him about anything.
Because he’s a pretty simple guy, my siblings and I try to take him out to different places to do and try different things. He isn’t very accepting of change; up until about 2009 he still walk around with a cassette player until my sister got so fed up she bought him an iPod. We did the same thing with a smart phone and a tablet. The only high tech stuff he likes is music equipment and video games, so we always pitch in and buy him tech related gifts for his birthday (much to my step-mother’s protest). My next biggest challenge is getting him to visit me here in Atlanta. He hates to fly, and I’m trying hard to convince him that it’ll be so much easier to spend less than 3 hours on a plane than spending 15+ hours in a car.
Wish me luck.