Friday, August 4, 2017

Papi Dearest

My daughter's wedding has been the grand event of the summer. Several of my family members made their way from NYC, Puerto Rico, Florida, Georgia and Chicago. It has been an exciting time, full of nostalgia and stories from long ago. I have been filled with pride as everyone admired my beautiful daughter and praised her accomplishments. By all accounts, the past few weeks have been the happiest! But, nothing in life is perfect and neither is my support system. For many years there's been a dark cloud in my life; my dad. Don't get me wrong, I love him very much, but he has always managed to make me feel less than good about my circumstances. Today I have a very good idea about the pain he has felt. The disappointment that has prompted some hurtful comments that I can never un-hear.

Almost every Prison Wife I have ever met has a story of a friend or family member who opposes her choice to wait or stand by her husband (or loved one). Some families have disowned their daughters, others nag them to no end. My father's style has been more passive-aggressive. I remember being told "if you had a husband..." as a reason for anything going 'wrong' in my life.
Here's pretty much how it looks;
"This lawn needs to be mowed, well if you had a husband..."
"Wow, your car needs a good wash, well if you had a husband..."
"You should always have two cars, in case one breaks down, since you don't have a husband..."
"Look at all this snow that needs to be plowed, well if you had a husband..."
"Oh. My. God. Your gutters look like a garden, if only you had a husband..."
"Your son has Type 1 Diabetes, taking care of him will be hard, if you had a husband..." You get the gist! My father's rationale is almost comical, except it always had a way of getting under my skin.

Once upon a time I would counter the redundant commentary by saying " I DO HAVE A HUSBAND,  he's just not here right now!" Now I'm just tired so I ignore it. Experience has taught me that my father has good intentions. What parent wouldn't want to see their child happy? I can only imagine how he feels, having to stand by while his first born chooses to wait for her man, possibly for a long, long time. How his dreams for me went up in flames the day I said "I do" to a lifetime of sadness. I get it! He feels the exact opposite of what I felt the day I watched my daughter marry the love of her life. My father has yet to celebrate the union I formed with my husband so many years ago. He's jaded and fails to see that hope makes me happy and my family means everything to me. But it's not too late yet. I will give him the chance to experience what he's been missing, to prove to him that the wait was worth it.

I still consider myself extremely fortunate. I know that the annoying moments I've experienced have sometimes been hurtful but I also know that my father's words come from a place of love. He just hasn't used the right ones. I've actually learned a lot about myself by reflecting on those words (as misguided as they may seem). Every time he has challenged my choices it has made me more sure of them. I choose to see my glass half full.
Papi and I, 1990

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