6.16.2008

Fathers

A while back, I wrote this about my Dad.

That was written eight years ago now, and a lot has happened in that time. Life has gone on: Punkin has a brother and a sister, my sister, Dit, is expecting her first child, and G.G. passed on just over three years ago now.

While dealing with G.G.'s estate, I was the one designated to communicate with Dad. It was an odd time. It had been about 10 years since I showed up on his doorstep unexpectedly, and I had had time to work through what I felt for him and what I wanted, if anything, from him in a relationship. I'd given up on the Father/Daughter thing. He didn't seem to be wired for that.

Dad had sort of offered up the proverbial olive branch of peace to me just after G.G. had died. "Maybe it takes something like this to bring people closer..." I smiled in appreciation of the gesture. There was a time when I would have leapt at that offering. I knew him better now. I thanked him for the offer, and let him know that that probably wouldn't happen. He smiled and made a sort of concilliatory gesture that showed he understood what I was saying. If that kind of change did happen, then fine, but I wasn't going to "force" anything on him.

During that time, Dad had given me his cell number and told me to call him whenever I wanted. That is all I needed. Just the option to call him and talk to him if I wanted to. We will probably not ever be very close, and I have made peace with that.

The clowns sometimes ask me about my Father, (Where is he? Do I have one?) and I'm able to answer them calmly, honestly, without bitterness, and without bursting into inner-little-girl-child tears over what was lost and what I never had.

Father's Day was pretty much a non-issue for us growing up because of Dad's decision. Yesterday though, we celebrated Father's Day for Papa and for Hubby.

Papa is 93 years old. His health has been declining, and his hearing is mostly, if not entirely gone. Some days he's lucid, other days, not so much. It's dementia. The man that would get up early to take me fishing and go ice skating and accompany me on walks down the gravel road in Michigan isn't the same person he used to be. When his wife, Nonnie, passed away in 2006 he said he would "stick around" until he turned 95 years old. There is speculation in the family now that he may not last through this year.

I sat next to Papa yesterday, looked into his eyes, and held his hand. I wanted to just lean on him, let him know I loved him, but that seemed to make him slightly uncomfortable. I just sat next to him for a bit, fighting back tears. Eighteen or so years ago, I sat next to him at a Father's Day get-together and asked him to walk me down the aisle on my wedding day (that's how we announced our engagement to my family). This Father's Day, he sat there silent as the family moved around him, almost like he wasn't there. I do not know how much he understood or took in, nor what he was thinking.

And Hubby, bless his heart, came with me yesterday (I gave him the option of having a "day off" for Father's Day). In spite of the things that he may or may not do that drive me crazy, he is still the best Father I've ever known. He goes out in the backyard and plays with the clowns, keeps them in line, and does his very best to be there and take care of his family. He goes off on motorcycle rides, but even then, he is very present back at home. He balances me, and "talks me off the ledge" when I need it. Most of all, he loves his children, and is there for them, and me, on a daily basis.

The clowns may never know Papa the way I know him, but I am so very happy they have a Daddy that cares so much for them. That means a lot to me.

14 comments:

Brudfger doug said...

How fortunate Sis, that you have a loving and supporive husbnf eho i a uuper and loving father to your clownsa.

Circus Kelli said...

Brudder Doug - You are so right. I am very blessed. :)

Lynn said...

{{{{Kelli}}}}

I read the link at the beginning. I had never read it before. You have come a long way and are just amazing.

WILLIAM said...

Amazing.

Circus Kelli said...

Lynn and William - *blush* Thank you.

Mama Zen said...

I totally understand.

Nance said...

Sigh. Families...know what I mean?

Mrs. G. said...

oqYou have such a kind heart. You're family is lucky to have you.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

First off, I had no idea you've been blogging so long . . . wow!

We have very similar Dad stories. When my sister got sick last year my Dad finally stepped up and was a father to her. For that, I know invite to things like my son's graduation party. I owe him nothing, but it feels good to be forgiving. I draw the line at buying a Father's Day card--there just aren't the right words.

Kudos to you for creating a different life for yourself and your kids.

Claudia said...

Having lost my father when I was 25 fathers day has been a little rough. I am thankful for my husband and the love he has for my kids and their devotion and adoration they have for him....and sometimes, just sometimes I wonder about my birth father...Mostly, I drink on fathers day.

Circus Kelli said...

Mama Zen - It's a relief that someone does. :)

Nance - Totally.

Mrs. G - Thank you. The same could be said for your family.

Jenn - Yep I've been online for 8 years. Kudos to you as well. Forgiveness isn't always easy.

Claudia - Sounds like a good excuse to me. :)

apathy lounge said...

Wow. Just...wow. So lovely. And sad.

kcinnova said...

The link (I read with a lump in my throat) makes this post all the more poignant.

You've come a long way.
Thank God for broken cycles.

[lump still in throat]

Mary said...

I read your link with tears in my eyes. I was adopted as a baby, and met my biological father 10 years ago, but it was a good meeting and we keep in touch still. Father's Day with my adopted father this year for some reason brought nothing but tears at remember the abuse that I had to endure when I was little. He has alzhiemers now, and I just couldnt bring myself to go see him on Father's Day, and I feel guilty for it,and was told by my therapist that I shouldn't feel guilty whatsoever, but I still do, I haven't been to seem him in about a month now, and don't know what to do..hugss Mary

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