My father and I are taking a trip today, but this time I will be doing the driving. He turned 87 this year, and I’ll be 57 next week. When he asked me what I wanted for my birthday, I told him that I would love to go up north (to the Saranac Lake/Paul Smiths area of New York where he grew up) with him and just see it through his eyes for a day.
We’ve talked about taking this trip for the past 10 years and at one point, I seriously doubted it would ever happen because he would never commit. I wasn’t even sure (until he called to confirm 2 days ago) if it we were still on for today, and I had made peace with this possibility …maybe I wasn’t ready until today.
As I think about this, I’m sure it is true. Up until the last few years, I’d still needed something from him. I’m not sure if it was approval, recognition or just attention, but for most of my life, I’d lived with the feeling that I wasn’t getting enough of him. He seemed just out of reach to me and this left me with a grasping feeling, which made me angry at both him and myself.
It wasn’t easy to turn this pattern around; to stop looking for what I was getting from the relationship, and to start thinking about what I was bringing, but the reward had been the feeling that I have even more love to give.