Larry and I had a very intense dating relationship. Things got serious very quickly and at one point the inevitable happened. We broke up. (I say “inevitable” because I think any couple with that intense of a relationship needs one good break up before the lifelong commitment.) I remember the night clearly… it was raining and we were standing outside my studio apartment in Pt. Loma and he told me (and can I just say I get intense pleasure from reminding him), “God has someone for everyone and I don’t think we’re it for each other.” Now at the time I was absolutely convinced that he was “the one” so this completely shattered my heart into a gazillion pieces. But in the midst of this, Larry and God gave me a gift.
You see, after Larry left I walked back to my apartment and called my mom and dad who were about 20 minutes away. It was late at night and I woke my dad up. Through tears I asked my dad if I could come home for the night. He said, “Of course…I get the spare room ready.” (Now, this meant a sleeping bag on the floor but I wanted home more than a bed at the moment.) So, I jumped in my car and, listening to sappy music, cried my way home.
A little background: My dad came into my life about 7 months after my birth father was killed in Vietnam. Some mutual friends had invited my mom and dad to a picnic and my dad says that when he saw my mom walking across the grass with me he knew she was the one he would marry. But things did not come easily for me and Dad. Both of us had passionate, strong, choleric temperaments and would butt heads at every corner. He was also a strong disciplinarian while I was one who always had to learn the hard way… not the best combination. I began struggling with depression as a teen and it often came out in anger while my Dad also struggled with anger. We fought so often and things were so tense that it is often hard for me to come up with tender, warm memories of my time growing up with him. Even our physical affection like hugs and kissed was strained at best. When I reached college he began a transformation. He was in the midst of this when I called in tears that rainy night.
When I arrived home, my dad was waiting up for me. He let me in the front door and I remember clearly that he didn’t push me to talk or ask me why I was crying. I went into the spare room and crawled into the sleeping bag and sobbed into my pillow. After a few minutes I heard someone kneeling down beside me. Soon a hand started stroking my head. It was my dad. He never said a word. Just let me cry. This was my gift. A beautiful, tender memory with my dad. I will never forget it. While things would still become rocky at times between us, this memory was burned in my heart forever.
So to the two most important dads in my life:
Larry: Thank you for giving me that moment with my dad. Oh, and for deciding that you were wrong. God did mean for us to be together.
Dad: Thank you for just letting me cry. Thank you for sitting there until I fell asleep, worn out with tears. Thank you for the tenderness you showed me that night. I love you.
Happy Father’s Day