Monday, January 25, 2010

My Dad

My forced sabbatical has allowed me to spend the last two months with my dad at his large ranch style house in southwestern Connecticut. I have enjoyed every minute of it. We don't cross paths during most of the day, but I have been able to have dinner with him almost every night, and its been a real treat.

My dad is not much of a conversationalist, and I never thought we had much in common, but our evening conversations have been great. Not having a good memory for details, I don't remember most of our specific conversations during my recent stay. But I do remember one night we talked at length about World War II, a war in which he was an active participant, a member of the Air Force at the time. Actually, my dad did most of the talking while I just asked questions and listened.

I have been watching football games with my dad during my stay here, but unfortunately will not be here on the East Coast to spend Super Bowl Sunday with him. I am not much of a football fan ordinarily, but over the years I have watched football with him anytime I am staying here just so that we have something to talk about. A few times over the past two months I have picked up a copy of the New York Times, and to my surprise, my dad enjoys reading it. He's a Republican and and I'm a Democrat so we pretty much have steered our conversations away from politics for the sake of keeping peace in the house. (Except for the Democrats losing the Senate seat of Ted Kennedy, which frustrated me, and thrilled my dad, but we kept that discussion very short.) We have talked a lot about people he knew, and distant family relatives, most of them long since dead.

Recently my dad came across a mother lode - a package of photos and papers his cousin had sent to him years ago, including an article about my grandfather, his father. My grandfather was a World War I hero, saving someone from a burning ship and getting a medal for risking his life. I don't recall ever seeing the medal, and I had never before seen the story of his heroism in print. I only recall vague conversations among the adults during my childhood about my grandfather rescuing people during the war. My grandfather was a quiet man; he never discussed it himself and he died when I was quite young.

After years of my feeling that we had nothing to say to each other, I wonder why suddenly my dad and I seem to have things to talk about. Have I changed? Has he? I'm not really sure. My dad seems to get less angry about things, especially about things that are unlikely to change. I think he is more at peace with the world, and with himself. Me, I am just enjoying being here, spending time in his presence, even if not a word is spoken. Maybe I am making up for 30 years of lost time, before its too late. Or maybe its just that we both realize how short life is, and how precious, and that none of us know how long we are going to be here, alive and alert, in the company of those we love.


  1. Your so lucky to have this time with your Dad.

    Mine passed suddenly at 59 and I truly value those last few trips home when I was able to talk to my dad as an adult.

  2. i think fathers and daughters can be so tricky. my dad and i have always had a decent relationship, but as i get older he seems to be more open, approachable. it's so nice and i'm glad we're there. i'm glad you're there with your dad too. :)

    stopping by per crazy baby mama--new follower!

  3. okay, so i'm trying to follow but google is undergoing maintenance...or something. will be back!

  4. Welcome Tiffany....and thanks to both of you for sharing your comments...its nice to know that someone is actually reading what I write...