Sunday, June 15, 2008
My parents were best friends. They slept in separate bedrooms and each had their own interests and activities. My mother took me to art openings, the symphony and the ballet. My father took me to boating, fishing, hunting and horsey events. My siblings were much older and I got to be my mother's daughter and my father's son. I was dreadfully spoiled by my father--that much is very true. He took great joy in making me happy.
It was easy to be overshadowed by my mother, she was like a force of nature--but he never minded and quietly went about restoring wooden boats, woodworking and fishing, his greatest passions. He was funny and loved to laugh, turning bright red and tearing when he was really tickled. He was courtly and chivalric with a deep sense of justice. He never really got it that life wasn't fair. He always thought that it should be.
I never imagined my parent's relationship to be a passionate one--other than the deep respect and affection they showed to each other. When I packed up the house after he died, I came across his love letters to my mother. They were works of art penned in my father's Victorian scrawl and I realized his was a great love and so much that I had not understood became clear.
My father never wore his undershirt to the dinner table. Not once.
He was fond of saying when he became exasperated with me--when I did not behave as he thought I should, "I just don't understand you!" In the weeks before he died, as I sat by his bedside, I think he finally did understand. He finally understood that I was just like him.
Happy Sunday. Happy Father's Day. I miss my Daddy.