Here's another story I wrote for my contemplative listening class. I didn't realize how emotional this story was going to make me while I was going through the contemplative listening process with my small group. I share this at the risk of my dad seeing it. If you are reading this, Dad, please read it all the way to the end and know that I love you very much. The past is the past, and no one's childhood is perfect. I love you for who you are now and that is what is important.
For everyone else, here is a peek into my psyche:
I don’t have a lot of fond memories of my dad from when I was little. He was an impatient, angry man, short-tempered and extremely stubborn. I was afraid of him, as were my two brothers, and my sister. My brother James and I bore the brunt of it: me because I was the oldest, and James because he was the troublemaker. I like to tell people that I was the guinea pig for my parents, that they made all of their mistakes on me.
I tell you this because there is one particular memory of my father that will surface from time to time, not necessarily prompted by anything specific, just a memory that I find myself going back to. It’s probably the earliest memory I have of actually enjoying time with my dad.
When I was little, I was really bad about doing my homework. My teachers would always be sending notes home with me to let my parents know that I had yet again not done the homework for the class. This would typically result in my dad belting me. But, one time, and I’m not sure why this time was different, instead of getting mad, he decided to help me.
I was supposed to write a five page state report, and I had chosen Colorado because I wanted to do a report about the Grand Canyon. Of course, I eventually found that the Grand Canyon is not in Colorado. The report was already a few days late. The memories are vague, but I remember my dad looking at the encyclopedia entry for Colorado, trying to find random facts for me to add to the report while I flipped through magazines for pictures to cut out. I think I actually ended up drawing most of them because I couldn’t find pictures for the Colorado state bird, tree or flower.
The thing I remember most is sitting with my dad, and actually enjoying his company, wondering why he was being so nice. It almost wasn’t real and I remember wondering why our relationship couldn’t be more like that moment instead of what it was usually like, like when I would hug him and pretend I was happy when he came back from his business trips. That’s the only memory I have like that of my dad, and maybe that’s why I always come back to it. I have a great relationship with my dad now. I just sometimes wish I had more good memories to go along with it.