Last night, my dad called me and we talked for about an hour. It was the longest phone conversation we’ve had since I came to Yale. We talked about school, and my car (RIP Ringo), and a lot about politics. Luckily, my dad and I share pretty much the same views in that regard. Though we have disagreed about many things through the years, I’ve never had to argue with him about this. And I am lucky. I have friends who are not so; I can’t imagine living in a house where your beliefs are flat out rejected.
But my dad has never questioned if another human deserves the same rights and privileges that he has; he has never wanted to deprive someone of their rights because their beliefs don’t align with his. He doesn’t make those judgement calls.
My dad and I do not have a perfect relationship. Everyone knows this. I have spent a long time angry at him. I have spent a lot of time focusing on a short proportion of my life. Up until recently, I had forgotten a lot of important things that I need to remember.
My dad was the sole provider for me, my mom, my grandma, and my aunt. When I was in elementary school, he was working less than 40 hours a week trying to pay all of the bills and feed us, and give me all the things I wanted. At the time, I didn’t realize how poor we were. The economy improved some, and he began working all of the time, which was good for us financially. But it was terrible for his injured back and for his mental state. I can only imagine how stressful it was for him to have that weight on his shoulders.
My dad did everything he could to give me not only the things I needed, but the things I wanted. By the time I went to high school, I knew we were poor. But I rarely missed out on the things my friends were doing. My dad made a lot of sacrifices for me; and to forget that and only remember his shortcomings would not only be unfair. It would be hateful. And I have never wanted to be a hateful person.
I am lucky to have grown up with a large and loving family. But I also grew up with a lot of bad influences around me. And my dad was not one of them.
My dad is not a bad man; he is not selfish; he is not hateful. I am sorry that I ever thought he was any of those things.
(I’m sorry I was such a brat to you, Dad. I know you’re reading this. Thank you for always reading what I write and supporting me the best you can.)
I love my dad, and I want nothing more than for him to be proud of me and to know that he did an amazing job as my dad.