Tonight, I heard my dad say the words, “I love you” to me for the first time.
Now, before you jump to any conclusions or make any sort of judgments, hear me out. I don’t know if anyone else has this family dynamic but my dad tends to not be a very emotional person. He doesn’t like to express his feelings, he doesn’t like to tell people how he’s feeling. He’s sort of an awkward person when it comes to that type of stuff. The sad thing is that I’ve noticed it more and more as I’ve grown older.
My mom told me that she talked to him over lunch one day about his upbringing. She asked, “Has your mother ever told you that she loves you?” He replied with, “No.” My mom said, “Have you ever told your mother you love her?” My dad replied with, “I don’t need to tell her she knows.” My mom then asked, “Do you ever tell your daughters that you love them?” He replied with, “Yeah, once a year…in a card.” My mom said, “That’s not the same. I tell them every day that I love them.”
I KNOW my dad loves me. He just doesn’t show it as much as my mother. I think because he had a different upbringing, he’s not used to this kind of thing. I was really sad when my mom told me that story, but then again, it all began to make sense. Now I understood why my dad and I never emotionally connected. I don’t think I’ve ever told him I love him, or at least I can’t remember (which is sad), and I don’t ever remember a time hearing him say those words to me. It’s both of our faults, I realize.
So I was sitting in the office printing out my homework for tomorrow. My dad works graveyard shifts so he got ready and before he left, he poked his head in the doorway and said, “Goodbye, I love you.” I smiled and said, “I love you too.” Yes, it was terribly awkward because I’ve spent my whole life never hearing those words from him and never saying them to him. It’s sad, but true. But my mom was really proud of him. Now it’s MY turn to make more of an effort. I want my dad to know he’s loved. He’s the one who showed up to every band concert, marching band competition, sports event. He’s helped my sister and me with homework and he’s always been the patient one. I definitely don’t give my dad the credit he deserves so I’m going to work on this. Is it going to be difficult? Of course…like I said, this is completely awkward for me and I’m not used to it. But hopefully the more we express these feelings towards each other, the easier it will be.