Friday, December 30, 2011

My Father

Yesterday was my father's birthday, he turned 83, and was very chipper when I called to wish him a happy day.  "I made it through another one," he said laughing, as if he's been playing hide and seek with Father Time and winning.  Age has made my father extremely sentimental and communicative.  He is  not the same emotionally unavailable man I have known my whole life.  As our conversation was winding down, he professed, "I just love you so much.  I want you to have a wonderful life." He paused, but before I could reply he said, "well, you already have that, don't you?"  "Yep, I already do."  And then, as my father often does, he made a non sequitur, although this one was easy to follow.  "If I was woman today I wouldn't get married either.  I don't have a problem with that."

I know my parents love me and are very proud of me.  They tell me these things often, but I also know I've disappointed them by never marrying or having children.  They view my single status as a defiant act of a petulant child, but in fact, my not being married has nothing to do with them.  They don't understand what went wrong, or what they did to cause this situation.  On his birthday, my father gave me one of the nicest gifts.  He comprehended marriage was not the only path to happiness,  life can still be good without a spouse, and I can be complete without a husband.  I was surprised, but appreciative he broke from a belief he shares with my mother, a concern they view as an issue, and validated my choices.

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