My dad had his prostate surgery on Monday. I spent several hours with him in the hospital, and it was a scary experience. He was in some pain, and was generally uncomfortable, and was pale and, I think, a little scared.
You know, I've never been close to my dad. I've always wished that we had the kind of relationship that I have with my mom- close, comfortable, honest. But it's just never been that way. I was a disappointment to him in my later teenage years, and that feeling seems to have stuck with him somehow. I partied, and didn't really care about college, and didn't really care about jobs, and I made bad grades and then stopped going to school altogether. I know that he wasn't just trying to be a wet blanket; he was worried about how I would get along once he wasn't here to help me out any more, trying to prepare me to be self-sufficient and all that.
I cleaned up my act a few years ago; I got things together. I held jobs, made money, got my ass back in school and made some good grades. I graduated and got a full time job that pays really well and has some great benefits. I got married and had a baby and added THREE grandchildren to his collection, not just one.
And still he's acted like I disappoint him, like he just doesn't know what to do with me. I've spent a lot of time resenting him for not being able to just say, "Good job." But I think I've finally let it go. Looking at him in his hospital bed, KNOWING that his fears are just like mine, I just let it go. I realize that you might think, "Well, you shoulda let it go a long time ago!" and that I might sound really bitchy. But old habits within families are hard to break; it's not always as easy as all that. I can't explain the way my heart felt, the way my stomach felt, sitting in the room with him. We were quiet, and we both just rested, and I listened closely when nurses or doctors came to talk to him.
He has high cholesterol; I didn't know that. He gets shooting pains in his left arm sometimes; I didn't know that. He bled a lot more than is normal with that surgery. He has some kind of benign heart condition, with a CRAZY name that I can't remember (bigeny something, something that made me think "By jeminy!" every time they said it), that makes every third heart beat come too fast every now and then. They sent four samples off after the surgery, and all four came back negative for cancer.
I am learning new things all the time these days. I learn. I DESERVE a pat on the back for that one, because not everyone can say that.