Thursday, October 25, 2007

Missing you

The other day I was listening to the Time Tunnel on the radio, and heard John Waite's "Missing You" brought back memories, it's the song of choice for today.

I left the airport and could feel the tears welling up in my eyes but promised myself I would only cry when I got home which I did. Afterwards I went to sleep, got up and went out - once I got to my destination I didn't want to come back home. It's so quiet here now.

I don't cope very well with these things and it's not getting any better. The other song that comes to mind is James Morrisson's "You Give Me Something".

I ain't missing you at all

Since you've been gone away

I ain't missing you

No matter what I might say

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Daddy's Girl

Up until that conversation with my mother, it had never occurred to me how much my father loved me.  I assumed he did in his own way, I knew I loved him in spite of his quirks and "issues", but I had not thought of how my father perceives me, his first born and only daughter.

When I was a child, my mother would work nights, and my father would be the one who looked after us.  He was a Man's Man, so imagine this Man's Man looking after 4 children every evening after his wife left for work.  He did a good job too.  He also did a good job plaiting my hair when my mother went away, in fact he did a better job than my mother.  It didn't even occur to me that he could plait hair until that moment!

He taught me to dance, how to paint a wall, showed me how he developed photos (he did a lot of this when I was a child).  In retrospect I wonder if I terrorised him a lot, because as a child I talked a lot and asked lots of questions, especially the awkward ones.  

Then we were separated for four years - and that was the wedge in our relationship that remained for another twenty years, even after we were reunited.  None of us were particularly rebellious except my sister who would insist on doing things my mother didn't approve of.  I'm reminded of an Oscar Wilde quote: "Children begin by loving their parents; after a while, they judge them.  Rarely if ever do they forgive them".  That would probably sum up my teens until I became a Christian and then decided to extend the peace branch to my father.  He was the father figure in the house but not the person that we relied on.  We were all going through our own thing and he was no different - except we could plead "puberty" and my father couldn't.

So after about 11 years away from home, I found myself sitting on my parents bed with my youngest brother and my mother, chatting about this and that.  My brother and I asked some pointed questions - maybe it was outside of our remit to ask my mother those questions, but they were questions I'd always wanted an answer to but never got.

It was during this conversation that she spoke of how much my father admired and loved me.  The sentence that threw me was "you are the apple of your father's eye".  I'd made the decision a long time before to be affectionate towards my father, who was not a naturally affectionate person.  I'd walk up to him whilst he was sitting, usually with a cigarette in his hand, wipe the line of sweat off his forehead and his him before I left.  And every now and then I'd give him a hug which always took him by surprise.  Yet here my mother was saying that whenever I called, he'd be upset if he didn't get to speak to me.  How concerned he was about my marital status, whether I was seeing someone (and assumed that my mother would know these things).  

That conversation changed my view of my father, and I finally realised there were things I could probably get away with or get done now that I knew of my "Daddy's Girl" status; unfortunately it was 20-something years too late, but I figured that when I'm there on holiday I can take advantage of it every now and then...buahahahahahahaaaah.

If I have a daughter I would hope that she would be as close to her father as I have been to mine.  There's something humbling and amazing about the look you get from a father who is proud of his his independent, adult daughter who's doing alright.  You don't notice it as much as a child, you take it for granted.  As an adult you've entered the parents world, but you will always be their "baby" and they will always be that one step ahead of you...