I live 1200 miles away from my immediate family. We don’t talk on the phone that much because none of us really like it. My mom and I email back and forth, and I text and Facebook with my brother. My parents read my blog, keep up with me that way. I visit them in Oregon once a year.
To see it listed like that seems like we don’t have much of a connection. And yet, my family is part of every day of my life. My mom and I always joke because we are having this ongoing conversation with each other, but a lot of what we say is in our heads and we can’t remember which of the things we actually told each other. I might not talk to my dad directly very often, and yet he’s always there.
He’s there every time I write or publish something. My dad’s faith and encouragement is the one thing, besides my own drive, that kept me at it, kept me believing. When I finally finish the book I’m writing, it will be because of him as much as me.
He’s there every time I have to stick up for myself. He always told me to never let anyone tell me how to live my life, that it didn’t matter what anyone else thought about it. He gave me permission to love what I love, and the strength to stand up to people who are jerks.
He’s there when I’m getting shit done. When things get tough and I handle it, I learned that from him. Because of him, I can take care of myself.
He’s there every time I doubt myself. He’s always told me I could do and be anything I wanted. And he didn’t say it in that lovey dovey fake way a lot of people might. He really means it. He’s pretty skeptical of most things, but I think he actually believes it. His faith is an antidote to my doubt.
He’s there every time I struggle. By example, he showed me how to do hard things. It feels like it’s partly in my DNA and partly by watching him that I learned to never give up, to keep showing up and trying until I figured it out.
He’s there every time I’m sad. I watched him struggle with his own sadness, and it helped me to face my own. Sure, some of his example was how not to do things, but even in that way he helped me. I have this memory of being pretty young and waking up crying in the middle of the night. I’d probably had a bad dream, but I couldn’t stop crying. My dad sat in the dark next to my bed, rubbing my back and saying, “it’s okay, you’re okay.” Eventually, I fell back asleep, pretty sure that what he’d said is true. Because of him, I know it’s normal to be sad, and that it doesn’t mean your only option is to give up.
Happy Father’s Day, Dad. I love and miss you, and will see you soon. In the meantime, I’m going to get back to work on my book.