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.