My dad just turned 75 years old on Sunday. And while the 50 years he has known me have been far more rocky then smooth, we have reached a place of respect, love and admiration that even 10 years ago I’d never have thought we could enjoy.
He is literally the only person I know who voted for George Bush and Mitt Romney – need I say more on that; he is an electrical engineer and I can turn on the lights; he is retired but still goes to work every day at 6 a.m. while if I ever get to retire I will spend my retirement years volunteering for causes I care about, making quilts and sleeping; he wears the same clothes today that he wore when I was born – polo shirts, blue or red crew neck sweaters, khaki pants and boat shoes with no socks while I am a clothes horse who has memorized “what not to wear”; he only eats meat while I am a vegetarian wannabe – however I will say we both gagged when I made a vegan meatless loaf for Thanksgiving last year; he only buys Honda’s and I work for the United Auto Workers….hmmmmm.
Conversely, he is really funny and while his jokes are far more off color then mine, we both are enormously amused by our own misfortunes, mishaps and mistakes; he is a hypochondriac and worry-wart and for those who know me I need not say more; he reads all of the time mostly non-fiction and so do I; he believes that corporate CEO’s are way over-paid and while he thinks my civil disobedience actions against corporate greed are nuts he understands the raging unfairness that drives me to those actions and I always know he would bail me out as needed; he is a workaholic dad and now grandfather and I am a workaholic mom; he used to be very athletic and I still am; he loves his children and his grandchildren and so do I.
All that said, he’d be the first to tell you I was no walk in the park growing up. The oldest of 4, I broke the ice in ways my siblings should be forever grateful, but my Dad assuredly still has nightmares over. Some of it we laugh over, some of it we feel sad to remember, some of it we don’t discuss at all, and some of it lies between us in a silent father daughter zone that has finally found peace.
So as I celebrate my Dad’s 75th year I think that despite and in spite of our relationship as father and daughter, I am a better person, mother, daughter, friend, employee, and activist. And just to tie it into the working mother theme so my boyfriend will be satisfied, I absolutely know I am a working mom because I had the example of 2 parents who worked at jobs and vocations they loved and raised their children and for the most part we all turned out pretty well – we just send him our therapy bills every year for fun.