Birthdays & Disasters

19 March 2011

Since I've already posted about family once today I thought I'd do a sort of follow up. As a warning, this is a post about some of my more personal and private feelings so I don't mean to scare you away, just today was one of those days where I was forced to think about my family: what we have and what we will always be missing.

Today was my dad's 58th birthday. 

I decided to go to my hometown (only an hour away) this afternoon to spend time with him.  You may or may not know that my relationship with my dad is rocky at best. We were never close but when my mom passed away our relationship deteriorated. 

It has been a constant struggle for my sister and I to create a support group for ourselves and to accept that our family will never be traditional. There are days when I want to reconcile with my dad and days where I want to walk away from my old life with a finality of a door closing and pushing the dead-bolt through behind me.

I highly doubt that my dad views our relationship this way. He's always been a fairly antisocial guy - my mom was the warm, friendly type not him. For some reason, I don't see him concerned about our relationship or what we may lose. 

Today, out of an obligation that I can't explain, I decided to head on up and see him. While driving there I got a phone call from him saying that he had an accident this morning. He had been working with men from his church fixing up an elderly woman's home when he was working in the attic. He stumbled trying to step from rafter to rafter and fell straight through the insolation and ceiling down to the floor below (about 10 feet). 

I didn't know how to feel about this. I know my dad is mortal, after my experiences I never think anyone is invincible or capable of charging right through life without stopping to appreciate beauty and friends.

When I finally got home (ride took 2 hours instead of 1 because of accidents) I found him groaning and sitting. Any movement seemed to cause him pain. It worries me because sometimes I find myself thinking (with his age, diabetes, and a heart attack already under his belt) that I may not have that long with him. Maybe it's just paranoia after losing my mom.... I just don't know what I would do if I lost both of my parents during my college years. 

While I was there for a short period of time we had dinner, toured the basement, looked at my mom's wedding dress, and played a card game. I think he was genuinely happy to have me home for his birthday which was a nice feeling. Sometimes I wonder if he doesn't want Kelsey or me around any more... He's not an outwardly loving person and sometimes it's hard to tell if he's even interested in us at all. Literally in the middle of a sentence in a story I'm telling him he will get up and leave and not come back. It's like I don't register on his radar some days. 

Today was a good one though.

I did find myself looking at and twisting my engagement ring a lot though, thinking of Noah. It's hard for me when we're apart sometimes especially when I'm around my dad and his fiancee because I don't approve of their relationship. I don't like her and I don't think they're a good fit (beyond moving much too quickly). 

Driving home at nearly 9pm, I found myself thinking of my mom. I wonder often what a different state our lives would be in if she were still here. I know that I am so blessed in so many ways to have an amazing sister and a sweet, considerate, and supportive fiance but sometimes I get selfish and wish for more. 

I was embarrassed in high school to talk to my mom about some things such as a future with Noah (would she think I was taking a relationship way too seriously as a high schooler?) or ask her about her tumor and her thoughts about life (I didn't want to make her think about it more than I knew she already did).  I remember explicitly thinking when she died that I didn't regret anything, I had made an effort while in college to come home and see her and we loved one another.

Now, I'm not so sure. I guess with age comes wisdom, especially now that I'm about to graduate college and am making wedding plans. There are so many questions I would like to ask her that I never did. There are so many joys and experiences that I would like to share with her and I won't ever be able to. 

I apologize that this is somewhat self-pitying.  The biggest lesson to take away from this is to talk to your mom right now, while you can. Make time to call her at least once a week and see her periodically. If you're younger than me, don't be scared to talk to her about things you'll think are embarrassing or that she'll disapprove of - it's better to talk about it while you can.

There's no way to know right now where my relationship with my dad will go. Is it repairable? Will we go our separate ways some day?  I don't know. I guess we'll just keep taking it in little steps right now and try to pretend that our lives feel somewhat normal. Except they don't some days.

Thank you for bearing with me as I share some of my weaknesses and my worried inner thoughts. I keep thinking that one day in the future Noah and I will officially be a family. Then fur-babies and actual children will one day be in our lives. That seems like such a beautiful gift to me that I pray I never take for granted.

May you and yours be loving forever and may you create a beautiful family.

1 comment:

bethany said...

Oh beautifully-hearted Alli, this is not self-pitying at all. This is you working through life and emotions....and thats a courageous thing. Especially when you're willing to share openly about it. :)

My heart just aches for you, though. Every girl desires a father who finds her fascinating, who helps her fight her battles and loves her endlessly. I'm sure somehwere, deep down, your father feels that way but cannot figure out how to express it. Sometimes my father struggles with that--like, I don't remember the last time he told me he loved me. I know he does though his actions, but when I say it, he never says it back. It breaks my heart a little bit.

My sister and I were just talking yesterday about coming into adulthood and having to accept that in a million little ways, every family has brokeness, and our childhoods and experiences may have been more damaging that we thought. And we're all forced to come to the realization that we'll never have that picture-perfect family life. Accepting that is so much more difficult than I ever thought it would be!

Anyway, all that today: I'm thinking of you, your family and your heart on this rainy day in Wisconsin. You and Noah have such a wonderful future together, and like you said...a family of your own to come. :) Make sure to find happiness and peace in that, beautiful girl! :)

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