I had a great visit with my Pop the other day. He loves the boat and is always keen to come by. We sit and talk, updating each other on anything new before settling in to the usual topics: How he’s found happiness; Whatever happened to whatshername (we liked her you know) and The meaning of life.
Things were not always so easy with us, which makes these conversations all the more wonderful. I used to get impatient and he defensive, a poor combination for sure. The crux of our conflict was our individual insecurities. I wanted to be acknowledged and heard by my father while he felt the need to continually offer unsolicited things, opinions and advice. As an example, no matter how may times I said I was full he’d keep offering more food.
Our breakthrough came several years ago. Walking home from lunch and yet another frustrating time together, I finally found the right words to explain what I needed, all I needed, from him. To listen to and acknowledge what I had to say rather than continuing the barrage of generous offers or telling me what the problem with it was. And that if he could do either, I would find it easier to be patient with him. He rose to the challenge.
I am truly grateful for the relationship we have today and consider myself incredibly lucky to have him in my life.
** BTW, in case you were wondering, I have two Dads. This is Al, my biological father. The other is Terry, with whom I went canoeing recently.