Last night we took our daughter to her first in-theatre movie (she's seen two out in the park and one at the drive-in). She did so well. A natural movie go-er. Passed down from her grandfather. It brought back memories of going to the movies with my dad. That was our limited bonding activity throughout the years. Peter Pan, E.T., Star Wars, Terminator... As I got older we would discuss the making of the movie. I loved how he would explain things.
I am so grateful that I have a relationship with my dad. I didn't grow up with him and at 11 years old I moved to a different province. Then my life became the stress ridden whirlwind of a teen and I didn't give my connection to him much time or thought. I regret my lack of endeavouring to have a bond but I think it may be normal for troubled youth.
It wasn't until my (late) graduation that I really made an effort, albeit a brief one. I invited him to come attend and I was so pleased that he accepted. I could tell that he was proud of my accomplishments even though I could have been doing much better and it made me glad he was mine.
That's one thing I loved about going to the movies with my dad. He was the only person in the world I felt was proud of me. Especially when we would go with my little sister. He would beam as he showed off his girls. It didn't bother him that I made stupid mistakes. He didn't judge me for graduating late or not knowing what to do with myself. I was his daughter and that was what mattered.
We visited occasionally over the next few years. Of course, not enough. When I got married I again invited him to come be a part of the event. He hung out and helped set up a little. And he walked me down the isle. I still remember feeling in awe that it was really happening. That I was really in love with a man enough to marry. I again was so grateful to have someone next to me to share this event. I loved seeing the three generations of men together, my brother and my dad and my grandfather, at my reception. Something I pray will happen again some day.
His next big visit was when I was the lead in a musical. I was excited he was coming and hired a housekeeper for the first time as I was busy with rehearsals. She moved the coffee table and I ended up having to do the show with a broken toe. But the show went on. I truly felt my dad was my biggest fan. I know he thoroughly enjoyed the musical and he said I did well (um, okay, he actually said I played a good skank, but that is what he meant).
Unfortunately, in all these times I don't know if he discerned how much I appreciated his presence. Moments like this I long to be able to truly show my heart. To get beyond past hurts, questioned motives, poor communication skills, and foggy assumptions. Maybe I didn't quite get it myself. Not until he fell ill when I was pregnant. I came to see him and tried to show him I was really there for him.
He is part of who I am. His analytical way of looking at things. His ability to express creatively. His artistic talent. His appreciation of music. His love for eating popcorn with a spoon.
I wish my daughter could get to know her papa better. I hope one day she will go to the movies with him. I am so grateful for the family she does have living in the same town. I love that we can pop in and see her paternal grandfather. Or meet my mom for lunch. I wish she could have that relationship with everyone.
But with technology today, I really should take advantage of what is available and aspire more to blossom the relationships. It has never before been this easy. She could talk to her sister or her great grandparents or her cousins on the computer.
I think it is more difficult with my dad because he's like me. Not much of a phone or message guy. More of a face-to-face guy. We'll have great conversations. We just are both poor at initiating them. So, this is a reiterated reminder to myself to initiate more. I have the tools. I need to make the time.
Facebook, email, text message, FaceTime, Skype...
It's time to get my family in my daughter's face. Because I love them.
I love my dad.