A few weeks ago I had a rather large argument with my father. He opened a can of worms with me by bringing up a subject that he thought we felt the same way about. Yet it only took seconds for him to realize that his assumption was wrong. With tears streaming down my face I yelled at him as he continued to speak. I think he was caught so off guard that all he could say was, “I didn’t know this meant so much to you.”
Certainly, what we fought about still remains an intensely personal topic for me but the larger conversation and argument we had was probably even more heartbreaking. In some ways, the thing we argued about represented a handful of other personal issues that I am pretty sure he had no intention of surfacing…but it happened.
As I’ve mulled over this experience, I came to the desperate realization that my father is not who I perceive him to be. And in some ways I think this is one of the most heart-wrenching experiences of a child’s life.
To realize that your parents are not who you want them to be is…tough. Especially when you have held them on a pedestal for so many years. As the man who raised me…through a lot of difficult times, he certainly deserves an award….but the picture I painted in my mind about him changed.
As children our parents mold us. I became a small clone of my father in some ways with subtle improvements here and there, mixed with the spunk, intelligence and creativity of my mother. But everyone knows, I am my father’s daughter.
But those “subtle” improvements are more like larger gaps in our relationship. As a result of societal changes, culture, the life I had growing up I now have a different outlook than my father ever will and maybe that is just the way it is going to be. Bur for someone like me…devout…loyal and generally optimistic…it’s hard to find bridges with such important issues.
As I’ve learned in life “learning to agree to disagree” is sometimes the best option. Accepting that people evolve at different paces is important to live. And realizing that you can’t change anyone is a difficult realization to put into practice.
My father is liberal, compassionate, caring, funny, open minded, faithful and loyal.
I am all of those things as well in a different generation. Let it suffice to be said that I evolved from the base that my father created but he didn’t necessarily follow too far behind.
As I write this, I realize how cryptic this really is. But I think the general theme is…I will always love my father unconditionally. And I am grateful that we can disagree on something and it doesn’t end our relationship. But disagreements and arguments of such degree chip away at our hearts…and these days I am more interested in “heart preservation” rather than defending why.
In the end, my father decided to go against what I thought was right even though he felt he was compromising. To fight him any more would have been the real self-sacrifice