Today over lunch with my dad, I thought about family. The fact that we were sharing a meal was a huge improvement, considering I used to see him once a year… or less. Meeting him for lunch on a Saturday was out of the question 2 years ago, for two reasons: I lived roughly 1,500 miles away and we spoke on the phone maybe twice a year.
He said he was growing impatient, waiting for our food in Ballard. I said “So that’s where I get it from,” with a smile. He’s always on time, but not very patient. I’m always running about 5 minutes late, and at times not very patient. (Waiting for the bus, waiting for friends to show up, waiting for 5 o’clock to finally arrive when I’m at work)
The older I get, the more I think I’m just like my parents in some ways. And that’s not necessarily (always) a bad thing. The sayings and freckles I inherited from my mom, the stubbornness I got from my dad’s side of the family.
My dad and I have an interesting interaction. I’d say we’re somewhere between family members and acquaintances. After my grandmother died in 2008, I realized that if I wanted a better relationship with my dad, I was just as responsible as he was for making an effort.
Sure, he would never be the stereotypical father figure, or the first person I call with good news, but he’s my dad. And I only have one. When I need something, he’s generally eager to help (I was shocked when he offered to help me move. This is the same man who, once I moved to Seattle, wouldn’t give me a ride to the airport. He’d always been happy to pick me up at Sea-Tac when I was visiting from the Midwest.)
I didn’t move to Seattle to be closer to him. It was an added bonus, although at times I contemplated if I really wanted to live that close to the parent that had been largely absent during my childhood.
Father’s Day is coming up. Just like in years past, I’ll get two cards: one for my dad, and one for my Uncle Dale, who is my father figure.
Dale was the one who babysat when I was a crying toddler, and taught me how to ride a bike. He built me a Barbie house and went to every school play and graduation. He met most of the boyfriends, and was sufficiently intimidating. And if I got married in a traditional ceremony, I’d want him to walk me down the aisle.
They say there’s the family you’re born into, and the family you choose. As far as the family I was born into… I’m pretty lucky, really.