Every morning my dad would get up at 4 am, make coffee and then go work on his computer until it was time for him to leave for, well, more work. He would leave the house around 8 in morning to beat traffic and would usually get home around 5:30/6pm.
No, my dad wasn’t “distant” and no I didn’t feel as if I were raised by a single mom. My dad simply worked--a lot. When he did get home from work, he would either be on the couch sleeping or doing more work in his office in the basement. For thirteen years this continued as my dad worked his tail off to provide a wonderful life for my family. We went on nice vacations, went out to dinner a few times a week, and would always get what were on our Hanukkah and birthday lists.
I knew my dad loved me, like as a daughter but that extraneous relationship that I had with my mom, the friendship, rather, just wasn’t there.
When my dad and I took a U-Haul to Florida from Maryland for a weekend in May before the actual move that would be at the end of June, I remember trying to show my dad that I wasn’t that sensitive and annoying kid anymore. Unfortunately, I spent a lot of that weekend writing a paper on The Civil War and watching episodes of How It’s Made.
Sure, it was a bonding experience but I still felt like my dad and I were just that: dad and daughter.
When we finally moved to Florida I remember bringing this up with my mom who told me I was crazy but it was enough for her to share this with my dad who admittedly said he spent a lot of time with my younger brother because they have a lot in common.
I guess I should preface this with the fact that I don’t play sports, nor am I athletic, and I don’t like cars or being outside for too long. My dad is the opposite.
That talk with my mom led to an outing with my dad. We went to Kohl’s and he bought me new clothes, which wasn’t the worst thing but it also wasn’t what I was looking for. However, that’s when my relationship with him changed.
As I continued to navigate through high school, my dad and I grew closer. We went out to lunch when I’d leave school early for dual enrollment and would crack jokes about how crappy life gets. We spent Friday night’s on the couch ordering our two favorites, pizza and ziti, and being so cynical to the point where my mom would let us wallow.
We ate a lot, and laughed a lot. Even my sense of humor started becoming more like my dad’s. I started being more invested into sports and began having in depth conversations about whom the Ravens should, or should not, release.
I knew that I had my dad in my corner and when I went to England and begged my parents to come home early because of my anxiety, my dad was the first person to agree. Luckily for me, this didn’t happen. Despite not going home early, my dad and I would Skype every day and exchange funny pictures throughout the day.
We even started an annual tradition of going back to Maryland to see one Ravens game a year.
Now that I’m older I have the ability to choose whom I spent my time with and even still, I rather hang out with my parents.
I feel beyond grateful to have such strong friendships with both my mom and dad. I can’t imagine how I would’ve gotten through life thus far without that extra mile they’ve invested into our relationship. A lot of stuff hasn’t gone my way in life and there are plenty of things and people to be upset over, but my relationship with my parents is something that I wouldn’t trade for the world. I feel secure in the wrongs of life in the blanket they’ve provided me all of these years.
I once read an article that said how parents shouldn’t befriend their children and how the point of parenting is to be an authority figure and not a friend.
If my parents abided by that I wouldn’t have the same foundation that I do now. They truly are the spirits of whom I hope to one day emulate with my very future children.
Thanks mom for being my best friend the last twenty-two years and thanks dad for being my best friend the last eight. I love you with all of my heart.