I have never had problems with my dad and grandpa the way I have with my mom and grandma. We have never had the heated arguments, the screaming matches, the tears that the women I am related to seem to provoke in each other. That’s not to say I’ve never had issues with them, they can be overly hands off so as not to bother me, completely baffled by the interior emotional lives of women, and unsure how to handle their only daughter and granddaughter not being a little girl anymore. There’s also the matter of a huge cultural and generational difference that leaves a lot lost in translation even when we speak the same language.
I used to really yearn for the same kind of close relationship I have with my mom, my grandma, my aunt, but now, older and wiser (therapy), I realize that people can only give as much as they are able to. My grandpa, who had to throw out his abusive father at 14 and work while still going to school to support his mother and sisters and then start again in a new country not fifteen years later, can joke with me, his baby of sorts, and be there in a crisis and teach me how to balance my checkbook but he can’t go to that place, he can’t go to his vulnerable place with me or anyone because he’s scared to fall apart, not being there for everyone else. My dad also started over in a new country, built a business, became a dad later in life. He can put me on a plane home from some place when I call him desperate at 2 AM, he can fix the brake lights in my car himself, he can hug me when he’s not sure what to say.
But I wanted him to know what to say! I wanted that more than anything, I wanted them both to know what to say and to say it and to really turn things over with me, to figure them out with me. But they can’t. I used to think this was a failing or a lack of love on their part when really, people can only give what they can. It doesn’t mean it’s right but it also doesn’t mean you aren’t the most precious thing to them, it doesn’t mean they don’t love you; it definitely doesn’t mean you aren’t worthy of it. Just because someone isn’t perfect doesn’t mean they aren’t good, excellent I’d reckon.
I have two great men who have loved me from the moment I took my first breath. For most of my life, I wasn’t sure that there were men like that anymore, that perhaps nobody my age was honest and loyal like that. I am glad that I have met good men, I am glad that I married a man who is good like this and good in the ways I’ve always dreamed of. I’m glad that despite what they themselves couldn’t emotionally give me, they always told me I never deserved anything less. To the best men I know, fathers, grandfathers, fathers-in-law, men who will be the best fathers anyone has ever had, happy fathers day, with love from your favorite and, in all cases, only girl.