what I need you to be

My dad came up to see me this weekend; he drove 3 hours so he could help me build a landscaped wall around my patio. I know to some it may not look like much, father's are supposed to help their daughters with things like that, but to me it meant the world. My dad has always tried to help me with things as much as he could but between the endless parade of women through his life and the bottles of booze lining the walkway - I somehow always came last. When you are a kid you cannot understand why drinking stops your dad from being the person you can rely on, you just know he is not the father you need him to be. We do that a lot don't we - need people to be a certain way? It took me years to learn that people are who they are and you either need them the way they are - or you don't. There's nothing in between. I forced myself not to need anyone for so many years because it was less disappointing that way. Even now, I'm careful about what I let myself need. I guess old habits die hard. This weekend as I watched my dad haul blocks to my backyard even though his back hurt and his knees are shot...I let myself need him, a little. God it was scary but at the same time it felt like coming home after a long journey spent running away. My daughter couldn't get enough of her grandpa. As I listened to her call after him, "come on Grandpa, come with me," and watched him obey, I realized that I've actually needed my dad more than I was ever willing to admit. Maybe the trick to balancing need and disappointment is to love the parts of them you do need more than the parts of them you hate.

I'm not a child anymore but this weekend I felt like daddy's little girl and somehow that helped me be a whole lot more grown up.


  1. Anonymous said...
    To compliment what you wrote, sometimes we forget how hard it was for our parents to raise us in their circumstances. We expect them to be ready for the challenge to be a super hero and warrior to rescue us. We seldom are capable to understand what their needs are or what their demons are. I like what you wrote because it is honest and filled with emotion. It does not sugar coat truth.

    Sometimes we withhold love because of our hurt. We end up withholding love from people who need it from us as well. Healing works both ways, that is the hardest part to give healing to those who need it from too. Healing though never works well in a vacuum. It takes presence in a room, in a back yard, in an environment that love can work its magic. In this story you have shared with us that your daughter brings that love unconditionally and in a way demonstrates to her Mother grace when it comes to her Grandpa and your Dad.
    Lex-Sunshine said...
    How wonderful. thank you for sharing. its a challenge to need those people in our lives and have the drink get in the way. and then have them show up, makes me REALLY appreciate them
    Michelle said...
    I had to dry the tears from my eyes after reading your post. My dad was and is an alcoholic and never spent time with me, just my brother. I tried and tried to have a relationship with him and he never put forth an effort. It is so nice to hear your story and how your dad still tried to put forth an effort though you had different lives. I would give anything to have one day like that and would be willing to put some of the bad memories behind just for that one good one.
    kimmyk said...
    What a great memory for not only you now but for your daughter.

    It's nice when we get older and we see our parents differently.....

    I'm glad you had a good weekend with him and your daughter!
    Shannon said...
    thanks for sharing that
    think we came from the same place and or have the same dad LOL
    I have the same love for him, the acceptance of who he is vs what I wished he would be
    I love my dad
    oregoncelticlady said...
    Wow! I stopped by through Melissa's place and was greeted with beautiful music and your writing brought tears to my eyes! Thank you for sharing...would you mind if I come back?
    Caterpillar said...
    I'm so happy that you had a good weekend with your father, and that Alice was able to spend fun time with her grandpa!

    I can't say anything that those above me haven't already so perfectly said. I'm just happy for you!
    Anonymous said...
    Net,I allowed myself to love the parts of my Dad I needed just in time.
    Shortly after I learned to let go of my hate towards him and his disease of alcoholism, he passed away.
    I will have that love I accepted forever.You too, will also have your Fathers love you want and need,
    cherish each moment :)
    Lovely post,thank you for sharing~
    Fitèna said...
    Thanks for sharing this Net. Each time i read you I feel like laughing and crying at the same time. This is real beautiful. Thank you!

    NML said...
    I really enjoy your posts. It sounds like you had a lovely time with your dad. I only started spending time with my dad over the past few years and I explained to my mum that I'm not trying to having the childhood relationship I never had. Instead I just want to have a fulfilling adult relationship with him. They can't make up for what they missed out on or turn into dad of the year, but they can make the most of having us now :-)
    NMAMFQLMSH said...
    I miss my dad.
    I see you,

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