Anytime a holiday comes around I have mixed emotions about it, whether it’s Christmas, Mother’s Day, or any other family-oriented holiday. Yesterday, which was Father’s Day, was no different. My father and I had not spoken in a few weeks and he had been on a trip to see distance cousins on his side of the family, so I gave him a few days to get resettled into his routine and called him for Father’s Day.
After a few messages back and forth to find a good time to call, I finally called around dinner time. I got to hear about his trip to Washington state for the his cousin’s wife’s memorial and about his visits with other members of their family. I am glad to hear that his trip went well and that he enjoyed himself. However, I am not glad that the conversation had to include digs about my mother’s side of the family and (implied) comparisons about the successful of other people’s children. We are all different people, and what makes me happy may not make someone else happy. We can’t also be astrophysicists.
I know, this is a Father’s Day phone call so it should not be about me. The same way many phone calls and text messages with him should not include complaints and derogatory language about my mother/his wife. This discourages me from communicating as frequently as others I know communicate with their fathers – because the effort to keep in touch and to let him know that I care is sometimes a less than rewarding experience, and rather a stressful and/or hurtful experience. The same goes for my mother, too, except that in between the concerns about my father there are a few newsbytes or lighthearted pop culture references.
Overall, it was a successful phone call, with my father enjoying a chance to talk about his dog rescue friends and his travels, and appreciating that I honored him on Father’s Day. I am glad that he is finally starting to take better care of his health. Families are complicated…