Friday, April 28, 2006

I love you because...

. . . today, you had the insight to know when enough was enough. I know you are feeling like you let yourself down, but you actually did yourself a great service in leaving that situation when you did. If you hadn't left when you did (and merely powered through the day) not only would you be considerably more grumpy, but the company you were working for would not have been as understanding (or have offered to be reference for you in the future).

Not only did you not let yourself down, but you did something admirable in knowing your boundery and taking care of yourself (in getting out of the situation). Many people would have stayed just to have been eligible for the two weeks of vacation pay, and then left. You showed, as you have in the past, that a person's mental health and integrity are much more important than any amount of money.

Besides, we wouldn't want you to be connected to any of these:

I love you, Sweetie, and I am proud of you!

Thursday, April 27, 2006

I love you because...

. . . you can and DO clean the bathroom much better than I. I don't know if it's because of your military background, or because I have lower standards (which cause me not to clean as well), but you sure can make a bathroom shine.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

I love you because...

. . . you willingly, and without complaint, ate the tuna fish sandwiches I packed in your lunches for three days in a row (even though it was me who forgot to get regular lunch meat the two times I was at the grocery store right before and during that three day stretch).

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

I love you because...

. . . on Superbowl Sunday, many years ago, you didn't turn your back on a fuzzy little kitten who needed a home. And since then you have cared for and worried about that fuzzy little freak who still lets us live with her. You've even tried to find her a job so she can help with the bills (the ungrateful twerp).

Monday, April 24, 2006

I love you because...

. . . you are strong and moved our MASSIVE container of "christmas houses" out to the garage for me.

Friday, April 21, 2006

I love you because...

. . . you are generous to your friends. For example: helping MM upgrade his video card because you know all his money is going to adopt a baby.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

I love you because...

. . . you think I'm funny, even when I'm not really.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

I love you because...

. . . you always want me to have the best computer. Even if that means taking parts from your computer and putting them in mine.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Blue Bunnies

It is Easter and today I am reminded of another Easter season several years ago and an important lesson I learned about my dad. First let me say that the relationship I had with my dad was often rocky. Partly because he didn’t know how to be the kind of father I wanted him to be and partly because I was so set on the idea of the kind of father I wanted that I couldn’t see the kind of father I had.

When I was still in high school, my mom had to call the ambulance late one night for my dad. By this point in time he had been medically retired for a couple years because of recurring heart problems, most notably congestive heart failure. That night I could hear Mom yelling. I don’t remember what exactly she was yelling but it didn’t make sense at the time so I went downstairs to investigate. Dad was in bed and not very responsive, and when he did respond it was as if he was in some kind of fog. When the ambulance crew arrived Dad was a little more coherent and didn’t want to go with them. Somehow, though, Mom convinced him it was the right thing to do. She didn’t want my younger brothers to see him being taken out of the house on a stretcher so she had me stand at the bottom of the stairs to make sure they didn’t come down. As he was wheeled past the stairs I heard him say to Mom, “Tell the boys I love them and I wish I could have seen the little ones grow up.”

I was devastated to say the least. Here was my dad, thinking he was going to die, and not a word about him loving me, his only daughter. In that moment I felt my world crashing down on me and I thought that the one thing I had denied all my life was finally confirmed. Dad had never loved or wanted me.

Dad recovered and came home. I pushed the memory of that night to the back of my mind as best I could and didn’t think about it until years later when I was in college. I was home on Easter break. Mom, Dad, and I had gone to a local retail establishment to do some shopping before I went back to school. Near the front of the store was a large display of Easter baskets with different colored stuffed rabbits in each one. Dad and I started joking about how the poor little bunnies had been trapped inside the cellophane wrapped baskets for too long and that you could tell which ones had been trapped the longest by their color. White ones had just been put in, pink or yellow had only been in a little while, blue ones were running out of oxygen but still had a chance of survival, purple ones had just died of suffocation, and the green ones were already decaying. We had a great time and Mom was so embarrassed by us that she just walked away like she didn’t know us.

A couple weeks later I received a box in the mail. I was surprised because it was unusual to get a care package from home so soon after I had just been there. When I opened the box there was one of the Easter baskets (filled with Peeps – my favorite Easter treat) with a little blue bunny inside. There was also a note from Dad that simply said “Look what I found in the shed.” The hurt from that night when I was in high school came rushing back to me. But as I cried, and held on to that silly stuffed bunny, the pain went away and was replaced by the knowledge that Dad did really love me. He just didn’t know how to say it.

What was the lesson I learned? Just because someone isn’t telling me that they love me the way I want to hear it doesn’t mean they aren’t saying they love me in the only way they know how to. Be open to receiving love in whatever form it comes.

Monday, April 03, 2006

A visit from Mom. . .

Spent the afternoon with Mom. She decided she just needed to get “out of there” for awhile. What she meant was that she needed to get away from all the reminders about how slowly things are progressing out on the lot. She goes out there everyday to pick up the mail and to check on the garage (make sure things haven’t been broken into). She sees on a daily basis just how much progress (meaning none) is being made. But there is nothing she, or anyone else, can do until the ground dries out more. I’m hoping that by early summer she will be back living in her own home.
We spent some time talking about Dad and how the boys (at least two of them) don’t really think that Dad helped to raise us kids. I see their point to a certain extent. But I also cut him some slack because of how and where he was raised. His adoptive father was not the best role model for fatherhood, and the area where he was raised was of a culture where the men were MEN and didn’t show their emotions. The men showed their love for their families by taking care of them, and that often meant long days in the fields away from the kids. And when the kids got old enough they helped out in the fields. The women were the ones who stayed with the little ones and got them off to school. The women were the ones who kissed the scraped knees and wiped away the tears. Life where he grew up was hard, and having the father he had was even harder.
Dad didn’t really know anything else until he became a part of my mom’s family when they were married. Then he looked to his father-in-law (my grandpa) as an example. But that only lasted until my grandpa died when I was about twelve. After that he had to rely on what he remembered. And by that time his own father had moved in with us and the memories of how he had been treated as a child were much closer to the surface and sometimes hard to ignore. I can remember him acting out on them a couple of times.
Anyway, I think he was scared of being a father, of repeating the behavior he had instinctively known was not love when he was a child. I think he was especially scared by me, his only daughter, what a novelty I was! He had a hard time figuring out how to raise boys, what was he supposed to do with a girl?
I’ve come to these realizations slowly over the years. I’ve wished many times over the past few months that I had come to them sooner, when there was more time to build a better relationship with him. But at least I came to them before this. My brothers have all this anger (at least I think it’s anger) and disappointment. I pray that they are able to someday see that Dad did the best he could with what he had (both materially and emotionally) to give.
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