What do you say to a father with whom you have no relationship? To a man who alternated between ignoring and making loving declarations over the course of your 47 years? To a man who you’d like to call dad, but can just manage…
It would be more dramatic to begin by saying that the storms that rolled through here about 7 this morning startled me from my slumber. To begin by saying that the thunder, lightning and the crash of tree parts and other debris into cars and onto the streets was a most un-settling way to begin the day would be, in truth, not the beginning of my day, though yes, it was un-settling.
My day began three hours earlier thanks to Pete, the cat! He started, per usual at about 4 with his meows, chin chucking and various other actions trying to rouse me. I did my best to ignore him and eventually he sauntered away, to sit and stare. By six, we decide it was time to eat. He feasts on a breakfast of turkey and giblets, I have cereal and a banana.
The storms roll in at 7 and Pete, the cat is a tad un-nerved. He was perched on the sill of one of the open windows. The crashes and lightning sent him skittering. He’s been pacing about, not quite sure of what to make of all the whirling and blowing. I close the windows against the growing breezes for fear that they might turn from refreshing to violent. Neither of us would welcome that eventuality.
I know you’re wondering, who the heck is Pete, the cat? Well, I adopted a cat at the urging of D, my daughter. You remember my daughter, don’t you? True, she was what…9 or 10 the last time you saw her? But I’ve spoken of her in the many letters I’ve sent in the interim. She’s nearly 23 now and working as a vet tech at one of the local animal shelters. The adoptions didn’t stop at Pete, the cat. Diamond, diva dog, also calls our condo home. Diamond and D will be moving as soon as my daughter can get all her ducks in a row. I’ll miss them both, but when it’s that time, well, it is.
There have been many other changes in my life, our lives since we last saw or even spoken to one other. M, my son graduated from college and has been pursuing a career in the theatre. He is working a “day” job that is very satisfying and will serve to provide him the security to continue to pursue his passions. He moved out a year ago and while I’ve stumbled on turning what was his space in the condo, into my space, the time has come for me to forge full speed ahead with that/those projects.
For the biggest change in the past few years is that I’ve fallen in love. The love is on her way, yes…her way here for the first time. I’ve visited her on a number of occasions because it was easier (since I have daughter here and such), but now…she wants to visit Chicago, me and see, rather than hear, how I live. When it’s that time, well, it is.
I don’t remember when you and I have last talked verbally or in print, but I do remember the contexts. I remember you’re stating, trying to assure me that you love me. I have to tell you, I find your declarations hard to believe given what we’ve shared, or rather haven’t, for the bulk of my 47 years. But, never fear I no longer dwell on whether or not you love me or vice versa. That part doesn’t matter. What does matter is that you’re my father and I would like to, at the very least know you and vice versa. So, on this day, the day set aside for children to honor their fathers, allow me to say, I hope that your life has been and continues to be all you hoped and dreamed. I hope your health and that of your wife allows for relaxing enjoyment during these golden years. Finally father, I hope you are happy.
I hope, you hope, the same for me.
Your only daughter, Deborah
I guess I would start there, maybe.