I'm sitting at my dad's computer as I write, about to down a pint of Haagen Daaz's (sp?) chocolate ice cream. But first, I wanted to write about Dad. He's in the hospital and I feel him slipping away from me and my siblings.
Before I get to Dad, I need to mention two of the few people who reside in my group of "My Most Important People In the World." I give my parents most of the credit for cultivating a rich, memorable childhood for us, but without my siblings, my childhood and adulthood would be devoid of so many good things. I am grateful for them and our closeness then, now and always. It's true that we are typical siblings. With three of us, however, there always was an "odd man out." And the other two ganged up on that odd person (who generally was me - LOL).
But last night, as I sat in the waiting room with Pat and John while the nurses cared for Dad, we were giggling, making remarks, and acting as if no time had passed over the years when we were annoying the hell out of each other, or playing ding-dong ditch on unwitting neighbors, in a team-spirited fashion.
But back to dad. Over the years, I have remembered and held close many things that dad has said to me. One of them is his phrase, "Someday you'll thank me."
When I was in the 7th grade, I was shy, skinny and lanky. Those three ingredients made for a volatile cocktail of teasing. And I got teased - BAD. One evening, I said to Dad, "I hate school. I can't wait until I get out of there and work." Dad said, "I don't want to hear that kind of talk; you're going to go to school and love it because once it's gone, it's gone. And you can never return. Remember this and one day you'll thank me." Several years later, I did. Things got better and I enjoyed high school incredibly. I was still shy, skinny and lanky, but I got better at dealing with it.
One summer evening, at the tender age of 14, my brother and his friends were sleeping out in the backyard and my mom had said that my sister and I could camp out too. I had a crush on one of the boys. At that age, hormones are raging and the thought of being out under the stars all night with a boy I liked seemed so romantic. My dad lowered the ax and told me and Pat we had to come in for the night and that this was just not acceptable. As I stomped up the stairs to bed, he called out, "One day you'll thank me for this!" Yes, Dad, I do thank you, because I remained a good girl and respected the boundaries you put in place.
One evening, when I was 18, I was at the home of a friend. We were playing Yahtzee on her bedroom floor, completely innocent of any wrongdoing. My parents had always told me to be home by 10:00, even at the age of 18, except on Saturday nights when I could stay out a little later. It was summer. What the hell. I wasn't home by 10. They knew where I was.
At 10:15, there was a knock on the door; it was my mother, come to retrieve me. We walked home in silence and, as I walked in the door of our house, my dad was sitting there, in his white leather chair, watching TV. I angrily slipped off my shoes and stomped off to bed, and he called out, "One day you'll thank me!"
On a summer's day in 1978, after being in Tennessee visiting a friend, Dad and I were driving home from running errands. I often went with Dad while we ran errands because I really cherished the time with him. And sometimes he'd buy me a milkshake. Anyway, at the time, I had had a high school sweetheart who had broken up with me and it was painstaking for me to deal with. I never seemed to get past it. Even now I still dream of him, even though I am quite "past it/him."
Dad and I were driving down the road and were in front of our house when I saw the ex-boyfriend and a friend walking down our street. I yelled for Dad to stop and I jumped out and yelled, "Baby, Baby, Baby!!!!" Dad had just begun to drive towards our house when he slammed on his brakes, flung open the passenger side door and yelled, "Suzanne, get in here!" I obliged and slinked into the seat beside him and looked straight ahead. "You are a LADY," Dad said, "Now act like one." He pulled into the driveway and said, "Get in the house and go up to your room and think about that for awhile. Someday you'll thank me." I was 18. I went to my room. I thought about it. He was right.
Dad has taught me many things over the years, with many more "Someday you'll thank me's."
I don't begrudge Dad (and mom) for not allowing me to live a typical teenage life. But it wasn't even that; I obeyed them because I loved them. I knew, early on, that my parents were my teachers, and they were good role models for me. No one is perfect, but my parents did pretty well, especially based on their own hardships growing up.
To my Dad: Someday is here, and I'm thanking you. And I love you.
Copyright 2012 liamsgrandma