May 8, 2008

Father knows best


I have such a mix of emotions when it comes to this topic. I have a great dad! I actually feel lucky to say that because I know that not everybody can say the same. It's not just about him being my dad...it's about loving and supporting me. I actually have great parents who are not perfect and do get on my nerves often, but the core of who they are and how they love me is comforting. Don't get me wrong, my parents have done and said hurtful things from time to time, and I have worried about how they will respond to things in my life. But they always surprise me by showing up and supporting me.


Back to my dad...I would describe him as having a large personality and yet the delivery comes from a calm demeanor. I think of him as a large man who could save me from a burning building...when in reality he is really 5'5 on a good day and might try to save me, but wouldn't offer to help take my trash outside. He is smart, super smart and has never once in my life made me feel stupid in comparison. On top of all of these great qualities, my dad has made many statements which have had a profound impact on my life. Some have been negative but the majority have been positive. Some of the most memorable statements that my dad has made are: "You can't change somebody...they are who they are!" "Life is about standing up and putting one foot in front of the other." "You can't pick who you fall in love with." "You can do or be whatever you want, it's really about what your willing to do or give up." "Your children are important and you will always love them no matter what. But your partner is your life so make sure you pick somebody who loves you 100% and will make you the most important person to them as well."


As a kid, I grew up watching my parents have an unbreakable bond. They loved my brother and I and we did family things together all of the time, but my dad would often talk about his life being wrapped around his relationship with my mom. He once told me that your kids grow up, develop their own personalities and create their own lives. And in the end, you will love your kids even if you disagree, don't understand or approve of their choices. But picking a partner is the most important thing you can do because they become your bests friend, lover, partner; they are your future. I loved when he would say that...I always felt like they had discovered the secret to life. But as an adult, I have learned that not everybody gets to have that relationship.


My dad's words are always in the back of my mind. I wish there was a manual for love that would give me exact directions to make it all work. I was raised to believe that you can only love and support somebody and hope that they feel the same. And yet my recent split has me now questioning those words that once gave me great comfort. I was raised to believe that you can't change people or make decisions for them. That the best you can offer is unconditional love and support and eventually it will all work out. So when I love, I try to love what I know, what I see and what I hear. And that was suppose to be the formula that worked.


Recently I have been seeing a therapist and we have been talking about what I did wrong. Will I ever get it right or how could my dad be so wrong when his words always felt so right. How do I support the one I love while they make their own life decisions without trying to change them, control them or let them feel like I wasn't invested? How did my support back fire and cost me everything? I keep replaying my decisions to figure out what I did wrong and how do I make sure that I never do anything like that again. How do I change myself and all that I have grown to know is true about love, life and choices?


And I know that my dad would say..."you can't change somebody...they are who they are." "And life is standing up and putting one foot in front of the other." So for now I depend on those words to replace the words that no longer give me comfort or confidence.


1 comment:

Suze's Sass said...

When you stop hurting, you'll realize that your dads words were right. For a relationship to work, a partner also has to feel that you are the most important person.

Hang in there my friend!