My father lives in Northern GA.
I haven't seen my father in 13 years.
During those 13 years, I've spoken to him once.
Growing up, my father never called me, he told me to call him collect.
His excuse then? He didn't want to have to speak to my stepdad.
His excuse now? He doesn't want to bother me.
Initially, not talking to my Dad was an experiment, a test. I wanted to see if he would call me. As the months turned into years, the years turned into stubborness, turned into hurt, turned into anger. Why couldn't he just call me? What was his excuse now? Didn't he love me? I'll show him! I just won't care!
Grasping on to anyway that he had ever wronged me, I fueled my anger. I was convinced that without my grandparents pushing him to see me, I would have never known him as a child. The pedestal I had once put him on as his little girl came crashing to the ground. My Superman was broken, and along with it, was my heart. How could a father ever cast his daughter aside? And, how could anyone not want a relationship with such beautiful granddaughters?! ♪Blackbird crying in the dead of night, take these broken wings and learn to fly♪ (the Beatles)
13 years is a long time. In that time, my girls have grown and blossomed into beautiful ladies. They are the flowers in my garden. ♪Every rose has it's thorn, just like every night has it's dawn♪ (Poison) Yet, my father knows only their pictures. He was not there to be a grandfather to them. They do not know him, and could pass him on the street like any other stranger. He missed seeing them grow.
On Monday, I accidentally changed the wallpaper on my phone from a purple eye with butterflies to a picture of mountains. It was pretty, so I thought: "what the hell, I'll keep it." Later, that day I found out I won a conference ticket to Type A Mom, in the Blue ridge Mountains of NC.
I struggled with whether it was worth the cost of getting there, and paying for the hotel, and almost said "no" when Shell told me she was looking for a roomie. This would save me some money, and Bear assured me that we could find a way to pay for it, so I decided to go.
Yesterday, as I contemplated driving (11 hours) or flying, a thought creeped in about visiting my Dad on the way there. I very quickly pushed this thought back down where it came from, reminding myself that there was no reason to see him. Afterall, he would never come to see me.
Last night, my phone rang. I almost didn't answer, and when I did, I expected this strange number to be a bill collector. On the other end of the line was my Step-Mom. My Dad is in ICU with a severe gallbladder infection. They are trying to get him stable enough for surgery. He will be in the hospital for at least 2 weeks, and will need 12 weeks to recover if all goes well.
She was calling me, because when my Dad was told how bad things are, the first thing he did was tell her to call me. Me! He thought of me first! Not my little brothers, but me.
I'm his daughter, and deep down I know he loves me. I just don't agree with his old ways of thinking: that because I am married; I am now my husbands responsibility. My husband is THE most important man in my life, and always will be! But, that doesn't mean that there isn't room in my heart for my Dad.
So, I will drive to Asheville, and along the way I will stop to see my father. As his body works through the pain, I will try to work through the pain in my heart. Everything happens for a reason, and this reason is clear.
Being a father doesn't end when your daughter turns 18, or gets married. Being a father means being there, even when the girl doesn't know she needs you. When she thinks being stubborn is proof of her strength. When she hopes to make you proud with everything she does; she needs you to say that you are, not just quietly approve. If you are a father, declare your love for your child everyday! She may not need you every day, but she does need your love!
♪Oh, with all that I've done wrong, I must have done something right
To deserve her love every morning and butterfly kisses at night♪ (Collin Raye)