When I was growing up, my Mom worked weekends and took Mondays and Tuesdays off. This way, I would only come home to an empty house three days in the week instead of five. This meant that I spent my weekends with just my Dad. I was never a Daddy's Girl; I was my Father's Daughter. We thought about things the same way, had similar priorities in life, came to the same types of conclusions, etc.
But then, in my teens, we grew apart. He suddenly stopped playing with me, stopped showing me cool stuff and generally stopped spending time with me doing fun stuff the way he used to when I was younger. I remember him muttering something about me growing up and "being a girl now." I had a sneaking suspicion that someone embarrassed him about being closer to me than my Mom was. I think he also just had no idea how to handle being a Dad to a daughter growing up and pushed me away preemptively so that he couldn't "screw it up", so to speak.
I didn't understand at the time, so I just reacted to it. I grew up respectful and dutiful, if a little distant with both my parents. But now that I do understand it, I miss my Dad terribly.
I'm still more protective and affectionate towards Dad, but I try to be fair about spending time with Mom too. I feel bad that my Mom missed out on the weekend time with me, which is a bigger sacrifice than I'd ever realized. But, that's a little easier, in that there are many more Mom Appreciation ideas that I can pick from to do for her, just because North American culture is more heavily biased toward Moms.
Watching my Dad grow older has been emotionally painful. And he's doing really well for his age. He has plenty of Math and Physics students to keep his brain occupied. There will always be a never-ending supply of highschool
twits kids who are trying to bust ass in their Grade 12 year to get good marks to get into University. His choir has been a great social outlet for him. But even without any health problems or anything, the thought of him growing older and inevitably leaving me is almost too much for me, even now.
I'm taking him to see Luciano Pavarotti this June. I got the best seats I could find as early as I could manage it. 12th row, floor section. CAD$730 total for the both of us. It hardly seems worth it when you think about it objectively. The guy is not my favorite tenor, nor is he Dad's favorite. Pavarotti's voice has changed. And in a venue like General Motors Place, you can be sure we'll be hearing him through a sound system. I'll be pissed, but not altogether surprised if he ends up lip-synching.
But what's crazy is, it doesn't feel like it's enough. Even if it's purely for the t-shirt rights (y'know, the "we saw Pavarotti sorta live" t-shirt). It still doesn't feel like it's enough.
I'll also be headed to Guangzhou this October for a boy cousin's wedding. This boy cousin is the son of a very wealthy Uncle and Aunt who have reserved an entire newly built hotel to accommodate all the out-of-town guests. The whole Shanghai Clan will be there. They're having over 100 tables (which seat 10 guests each; making it a guest list of over 1000). And, of course, we're invited.
We were looking at airfare and prices. And just now, I was thinking of taking Dad in Business Class. I really want him to be comfortable, but I really wish money weren't such an obstacle. Both for this trip and for wanting to do something equivalent for Mom, to be fair.
I'm sure I'll stop crying by tomorrow.