My dad and I have always a tumultuous relationship. We have alarmingly similar personalities--at least in our negative qualities. Unfortunately, we are both stubborn and have the uncanny ability to say the meanest thing possible at any given moment. You can imagine how lovely our arguments can get. I like to think that I am a kinder, gentler version of him but this may be true or may not be true.
We went through a time when I was a teenager when I didn't speak to him for more than a year. Other than pass the salt and I will be home by ten.
Since then we have worked very hard to repair our relationship. There has been a lot of two steps forward, two steps back (damn it I know have Paula Abdul's "Opposites Attract" stuck in my head) but we just keep plugging away. It has been a considerable commitment on both of our parts. And we have been largely successful. We are friends and get along very well if we avoid some big topics (politics). But I have learned that he is not the person I should go when I am have a rough time. He is just a pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps-god-will-provide kind of guy. And honestly, there are about zero situations when that is helpful.
But he knows I have been struggling. And he has been at a loss as to how to help. Actually, I am fairly sure that everyone has been at a lost of what to do with me. He and my mom went on vacation and he brought back a gift for me. An Eeyore doll that is a little different than this one, a little softer and more worn looking. He told me that he thought that I needed something to be sad with.
And you know? He was 100% right. I took that doll to work today (today was a day that really reminded me of Gladys) and every time I started to feel overwhelmed by it I would just look at that doll. I even loaned it out a bit to the other girls that were having a hard time today. It seems weird and stupid to me that such a thing would make a difference. But somehow it did.
Just when I feel like my dad and I have not moved forward at all, he does something that reminds me why it is worth every effort.