Days off

Yet another day off and yet another day of not wanting to move or do anything that could be considered productive. I am in significant pain today… and for the last few days. Lumbar pain, cyatica, migraines and yet I hae felt more like myself than I have in over a year.

I’ll do anything to keep it this way.

I just finished reading 2001: A Space Odyssey for the first time. I’ve never seen the move. It wasn’t what I thought it would be but I can see the fingerprints it left over everything else I love. And I did catch the John Carter reference and I reveled in it. I love to read. I never stopped but I forgot how to enjoy it. I feel like maybe I should reread some books in the last couple of years to give them a new chance with my newly revived brain.

Today, I’ll try not to aggravate my aching bones so much. I’ll try not to convince myself that I have West Nile. I’ll try to be in the moment with the things I am doing. Maybe I’ll call my father this evening and catch up and not feel like I’m putting on a show for him. When I say I’m okay, I’ll really mean it.

I find myself thinking of my relationship with my father a lot these days. It’s not as close as it could be. When Mom was alive, she was the buffer and the link. Without her, all of us just kind of spun away from each other and he’s drawing us back. He doesn’t really know how and unfortunately for him, the woman he married has set forth a barrier that none of us are willing to cross, even for our father’s sake. I, personally, will treat no woman like a queen unless she’s shown she deserves it. Kindness, generosity and patience. The woman has shown her husband’s children none and express we should treat her as if she raised us. We were all grown and moved away when they married.

Dad wasn’t around much. My parents had a happy marriage but as a welder, you get more money for away gigs than you do from sticking around the home base. Four children meant he spent most of his time making sure he could feed and clothe us and pay for my mother’s medical bills. I remember the holidays. He saved his sick leave for times when we would all be together.

I remember holiday spent at barbecues and family gatherings with Dad supervising the wild antics of kids tumbling everywhere. I remember quiet afternoons learning to play poker and 21. Some of my favorites are not even things I can remember. I have pictures of Dad reading to me, indulging my toothless carpet antics. I hear the stories from my older sister who was 7 when I came into the world. I remember New Year’s Eve with Twilight Zone marathons. My Barbies were always outfitted with cardboard mansions and a blue ’57 Chevy. My She-Ra collection an indulgence because he didn’t like me playing with brother’s He-Man toys.

These days we chat about the weather, whichever desert he’s working in, what I put up with at work… my physical health. We don’t talk about his wife or, by silent agreement, my love life. He’ll fill me on in whatever he’d gleaned about my brother… because my sister-in-law hates my stepmother a whole of a lot more than I do. Sometimes he’ll tell me about  a movie she made him watch. Sometimes, I’m amused like the time she got him to watch Lars and the Real Girl. Or when he told me about the time he took a picture with a drag queen at the New York Pride Parade (my father is homophobic and I’m really surprised he didn’t punch anyone).

I teach him Lauren’s name because he keeps calling her Logan. He really thought, in hindsight, she was a boy and I have no clue why. She’s very clearly a woman and spent my entire surgery with him last year.

My father has given me a lot. My work ethic. My kindness. My generosity. My love of westerns and sci-fi (though mine now delves deeper than his ever did). My love of reading. My pragmatism. My romanticism. My coloring. My complexion. My love of the desert. My impatience with felines. My obsession with making sure the tops of my bread align in my sandwich. My inability to drink any liquid during the meal. My respect for anyone who wears a uniform.

The man has his flaws. He’s only learning how to speak to us. He has a temper and it has come out in inopportune times. I get my cutting remarks from that fire. His utter bafflement of dating (I share this. He really has no clue how much my mother ran that show). It took him a long time to realize that his children are not him.

I live far away from my family as it’s necessary for my sanity. When I’m in the midst of all of them, I feel like I’m drowning. Far away, I can breathe and I can be me and I can love them for who they are. I love the time we have when we’re together. Board games and movies while we catch up, work on whatever family function and give each other our time. Time is really all we have to give our loved ones. Time together, time to be ourselves and let everyone be themselves. I can be annoyed all I want at my siblings choices but those choices are what make them who they are and who I love.

I miss my family but really, we all are where we need to be in order to be who we want to be.

And so, with memories, love and support… I shall continue to be a nervous wreck until such time that I can convince myself that I am exactly who I need to be.

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