When I look at my father, I see a man who is different than me. He raised me (along with my mother), and I would say he did a damn fine job. But somehow in the process of teaching me the basics, I don’t think he ever realized that one day I would be challenging him as much as I currently do.
My father and I are composed of vastly different chemical makeups.
He has a short fuse, perhaps the shortest fuse of anyone I have ever met. He could spill his coffee by accident and proceed to curse, sigh and shake his head in one distinct motion — that’s how good he is at being sometimes unbearable. I, on the other hand, would be described by a 17-year-old as being very ‘chill.’ Not too many things bother me and drive me up a wall so high that I don’t seem to quickly gain my footing and slowly ascend back to ground level. If I spilled my cup of lemonade, I would probably mutter “dammit” and then proceed to clean up said mess.
We have different ideologies on life, most especially religion. My father grew up in a family that was composed of devout Catholics, and he has gone through deaths in his own immediate family and other life-changing experiences to remain a close follower. I, however, recently developed revised thoughts on religion (see my blog post: Keeping the faith where it belongs: In humanity) and am quite involved in dissecting what’s real from what’s fiction. But my father likes to hear what he wants to hear. As a conservative, he would rather watch Fox News than MSNBC (for obvious reasons). But if I point out said obvious reasons, my dad will just shrug it off and try to come up with some other reason for why Democrats are pompous assholes.
He has firm convictions, which I respect. But to prove him wrong or debate him on something, whether it be what sports team is best or why religion is based on numerous misconceptions, he doesn’t have the time to listen. He doesn’t want to listen, which is part of the problem. I always envisioned having that special father-son relationship that revolved around intelligently talking about our Detroit Red Wings hockey team or discussing the most asked questions revolving reality and each human’s place in life, but those conversations don’t really take place all that much.
Mainly because the desire to have such things no longer encompasses me.
It’s honestly real strange to think about not only my relationship with my father, but my mother as well. I feel like the mouse who has found the block of cheese in the middle of the maze and is ready to go through another maze to find more cheese. And my parents don’t seem to understand that all that much, with my mom being the parent who is more clueless about what I want in life right now. Some days even I am clueless, but I have learned to keep that kind of stuff stashed away when my parents are around. We can talk about the weather or baseball or my cousin’s brand new baby boy, but work and the future are topics I would rather not discuss. The discourse just turns into my parents acting as if I know absolutely nothing about the real world, and me just walking away from two people who have never adapted to this new generation.
I always found that odd: My parents are of the “baby boomer” generation, not following their parents’ rules and running amok around town, smoking joints on football fields and saying how things were ‘quite groovy’ at the disco club. As someone in their mid-20s, I thought the relationship between my parents and me would be stronger at this point, not the other way around.
But I just try to embrace what I have with them for as long as I am around them. I want to traverse the globe, meet new people and experience new things. My parents (and their brothers and sisters) have never even lived out of the state of Michigan. Only one of my cousins (the only male besides me in my extended family in regards to being 35 and younger) ever lived out of state, and that was when he interned in California right out of college. And I kind of look up to my cousin more than my parents in regards to making certain life decisions, mainly because he has gone out of his comfort zone and just “went for it.”
Well, I want to go for it as well. And I can thank my mother and father for molding me into a child who has dreams and visions of success and living life to the fullest, the way it is meant to be lived. Even with all the disagreements and static conversation, I feel like I am still somehow getting through to them. Or at least I hope.
I wouldn’t be the type of person I am without them guiding me along and putting me on the right path. Someday, I think they will be quite proud of the son they helped mold and they too will realize how much input they had on me being the person I am today. That will appease them more than anything, and we can all agree on that.