|photo by Tarah Coonan|
Perhaps because of that, I had a much more complicated relationship with my father when I was a child and, unsurprisingly, through my teenage years. I remember complaining to my sister, who was and still is the peace-maker of the family, that I'd inherited all of Dad's flaws; I didn't like seeing them in him and he didn't like seeing them in me. Honestly, we didn't know how to be easy with each other, and our interactions up until I graduated from college were generally tense.
In the last few years, though, our dynamic has changed. It's strange to realize that your parent is a fellow adult, but that understanding has transformed my relationship with my father. I'll always be his child, of course, but we've somehow switched gears and now see each other much more as peers, with imperfections that are unique to each of us and have nothing to do with the other. He is his own person as I am mine, and I think that the moment I acknowledged that was the moment I accepted that I don't get to decide who he is based on his relationship with me. He is so much more than just my dad, and all those other things that make him happy are just as important as his role as father.
I'm so glad I saw that - better late than never, I suppose! - because, really, all I want for him is to be happy. Since I told you to read this, Daddy, I write now directly to you: sorry I gave you a really hard time for the first two decades or so. I love you.