I sent my Boo off to stay with my parents over MEA weekend this year.
Some of you might pause at that. Those of you that have heard stories of my father.
My Boo has a relationship with my dad that I wish I had. I am not going to let anger and hurt from the past ruin what is the present or the future.
She has an understanding with him that I never did.
That silly universe has gone and done it again....
My father has been in the military in some form or another for most of his adult life. He ran his home, much like the service. When you were asked to do something you did it quickly, efficiently and with no questions asked.... well you did that if you were my sisters.
If you were me you felt the need to ask why, and move at your own pace, and sometimes not understanding the directive, or that the request was time sensitive you didn't accomplish the task without severe consequences.
My father was also an alcoholic. Which led to lots of angry unjustified "punishments" which in turn fueled the injustice I felt grow right along with me in each passing year.
By the time I graduated high school I wanted to move away and never come back. Ever.
All of this changed when I had my daughter. I felt compelled to go "home" to see them as often as possible, instead of my normal once or at the most twice a year visits made only out of guilt and obligation.
What was the difference you ask?
I watched him actually be invested in her life. From the moment I brought her home, he held her and talked to her, and paid attention to her, almost non-stop.
I remember when I was small and wanted his attention, and all he wanted to do was sit and watch 60 minutes and have a beer. It didn't really bother me too much then, I had my sister to bug instead, but sometimes it felt a little lonely or that I was a bother.... the big issues were his temper and his drinking.
I shook myself from the memory before I went any deeper.
We visited a lot from when she was born until she was 5. Then I think weekends were taken up by work and eventually rehearsals for festival. And if I'm completely honest, I think I really enjoyed the weekends being at my parents when she was smaller, as a single mom it was the only time I could get a few minutes to myself... and I could NAP!!! Oh what a joy napping is when you are the parent of a small child that is full of never ending energy. As she got older, I could let her wake up on her own and I could enjoy the comforts of my own bed.
Selfish I know.
Still I felt that guilt. That any weekend I had available I should in fact be driving the 3.5 hours one way to bring her down to visit them.
Being the selfish person I am... I started letting her go by herself, cuz really, its not so much that they enjoyed time with me... it was all about the Boo.
My dad sent me a picture this weekend while she was down there. A picture of a little girl on a giant 4-wheeler.
"She rides that herself" I asked with a bit of concern, and a lot of shock.
"Oh yeah, I give her the keys and she puts it in gear and off she goes."
"I can't even get her to steer her bike without going off the path...."
"Oh I let her know if she goes to fast, that the keys are taken away and it's off limits, it's fine." He said reassuringly.
Immediately I was taken back to 16 year old me coming home 5 minutes past midnight and placing the keys on the kitchen table knowing I had blown the right to use the car for a month.
Yep. 5 minutes... even 1 minute late and she knew the consequence. No car for 1 month. No arguing. No questions. No excuses.
When I was the child... I hated not being able to ask questions or let him know that it wasn't my fault because so and so wouldn't get in the car and I couldn't just leave her... so really... if you would just listen, I'm sure you'd understand and I would still be able to use the car.....
It's funny how life changes. How something so seemingly clear seems so opposite yet just as clear from the other side.
Life is a never ending journey of lessons and wonder.
I know that every time I have been adamant about something, the universe has chosen to jump up and place that exact situation in front of me to test whatever conclusion I had come to, and most of the time I have learned that there is no clear "one" right way. Because in fact you can look at the same situation from a different perspective and draw a vastly different conclusion.
If you would've told 16 year old me that I would have the relationship with my father that I do now, or that my daughter would have the relationship with her grandfather that she does now I would've laughed and thought you were utterly ridiculous.
The only thing I know for sure, is to keep your eyes and heart open on this journey. And try to see things from all sides before drawing any one conclusion.