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Thoughts on ordinary and not so ordinary adventures in the life of one Mom

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Venturing into Unknown Territory

This Father's Day,  I'm reminded of one of the bravest things I've ever done in my life.  For many people, the simple act of saying "I love you" comes naturally.  It's easy for them to tell those they care about these three little words, but it's not easy for me.   I was always comfortable saying "I Love you" to my kids and niece, my Mom and siblings, and my husband, but no one else, including my father.  

Growing up, I never heard those three little words from my Dad's lips and I took his lead, never telling him "I love you" either.   The sentiment was there, but it was silently shared between us.  My mom always assured my siblings and I that he loved us and we all knew this was true.  But, about 10 years ago, probably influenced by the age of self help books and Oprah,  I decided it was time to actually come out and say "I love You" 

Sometimes words are not necessary

One evening, after a lengthy conversation with my Mom, she put my Dad on the phone so that we could have our usual 2 minute conversation.  The chat was always the same and one I could have with almost any acquaintance.   This evening, though, was different, because I had  decided I was actually going to end the conversation with three words he had never heard me say.

Not knowing what to expect, I nervously said "I love you" when were about to end our conversation.  He was obviously taken by surprise because there was silence.  I didn't know if I would get an "I love you " back and I half expected to hear "very good", my dad's go-to response for nearly every statement.  When he started to respond, his already shaky voice cracked a little more than usual as he said "I love you, Aida".   I was happy to hear it, but even more, relieved that we could break the silence for the the rest of our lives together which I hoped would be a very long time.

Nowadays, saying "I love you"  comes naturally between us.  However, venturing into unknown emotional territory remains a challenge for me.   When I am afraid to open up, I often look back about ten years to when my father let me know that it's ok for me to take the lead once in a while.  He inspired me to be brave and that's what Fathers do best.

Happy Father's Day, Daddy.

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