Thursday, January 17, 2013

Random Things From My Dad - #4

So here's a bit of background on how I came to write the "Random Things From My Dad" blog posts... my dad is an interesting and complex individual.  He is usually angry about something and regularly gets on his soap box to yell at "you" when he's mad at someone else.  He is pushing 80 and very set in his ways.  The relationship within our family has always been one of stress and turbulence... always looking for that other "shoe to drop"... so to speak.

It's taken me a lot of years to come to a kind of peace and acceptance of my dad.  I remind myself, almost daily, that I cannot control his reaction to any given situation... I can only control how I choose to react or respond.  His stress does not have to  be my stress... I am not required to live my life constantly making decisions about what I say or do based on what I anticipate his reaction might be.  It's very liberating when I get it right.... mostly, it's a test of patience and temperament.

So how does this relate to the "Random Things"?  Well... since my parents moved to Texas, there has been an ongoing theme of "shopping" with my dad.  He is always on the lookout for a bargain... if he has a coupon, apparently not using it is not an option.  Their house has enough food, candy and canned goods to feed a small army for several weeks I'm certain.

He constantly, constantly, constantly was buying things for us...  mostly groceries that I never expressed an interest in, nor did I use on a regular basis... but sometimes household items, clothing, toys for the kids... if they make it... and it was on sale or there was a coupon... he most likely bought it.  He has bought us televisions, lawn equipment, silk plant arrangements, shoes, kitchen appliances.... I'm not sure there's a room or cupboard in our house that doesn't hold some gifts from my dad.  (Seriously... at one point in time I had a minimum of 6 - super size bottles of Advil gel caps... who needs that much Advil?)

I found myself getting annoyed with his purchases... almost every time I went to their house there were items displayed on their dining room table... before I could leave he would say "I need you to go through the stuff on the table".... what this started to mean to me was... "great... now I have to bag up and haul home a bunch of things I didn't ask for and then find a place for them."  My pantry is always full, and mostly with canned goods that don't fit into our daily eating regime.

But then I realized that I was looking at it all wrong.  With all of his faults, this is how he knows to show me that he loves me... that he cares about me and my kids... and that he wants to help out.  This is his way of showing love and support... He lacks the capacity to do so with words... he doesn't know how to be supportive without being judgmental.... but he does know how to give... to be generous to a fault.

So now, instead of being annoyed, I remind myself to feel loved... he buys these things for me and my kids because he loves us... this is how he knows to show it.  So I must accept it... I must be gracious... I must be appreciative... we all have our strengths and weaknesses.  We are all flawed... we are all human... and we all long to be needed... to be an important and vital part of other people's lives... especially our family.  We get the family we get and it is so important to learn to embrace them wholly... the good, the bad and the ugly.  The quirks and imperfections make us all unique, fallible, and vulnerable.

So... I love my dad... and I have learned to love each and every thing he sends my way...

With that having been said... here's the latest spread from my dad...

Nine beautiful white roses, a package of fully cooked bacon, a pound of butter and
Smucker's Red Plum Jelly (Milam's favorite)

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