October 1st, 2013
I haven’t talked with either of my parents since July 18 when I ended a call after my dad wouldn’t call me by my name. Up until then, I’d usually talk to one parent or the other every three or four days, so it’s been a bit of an adjustment to go over two months without talking to either of them.
It so happens that today is my dad’s birthday, and although he and I still have our differences, I figured that I’d give him a call—I wasn’t sure if it might be awkward, but he’s still my old man, for Pete’s sake. I sort of thought of it like how some opposing soldiers would put down their arms on Christmas day and share a meal together.
I just got off the phone with him, and the call was somewhat surreal—our chat had many of the same conversational cues as if everything were fine, but I think we both knew that wasn’t really the case.
As the call was wrapping up, my dad asked if I had any travel plans coming up. Since I’m not working—and unlikely to spend money on travel for the heck of it—I think that was my dad’s way of asking whether I’d be coming to visit for Thanksgiving. At first I was reluctant to answer, seeing as though I didn’t want to rain on my dad’s birthday call, but I finally said,
ME: “I don’t have any travel coming up in the next few weeks… but I suppose Thanksgiving is coming up in November too. And I think I’d like to come for Thanksgiving. If you were to call me Ashley, I’d love to stay with you at the house. Or if not, I may book a room at a nearby hotel or stay with someone else.”
“So how are things going with the job hunt?”
Sometimes I wish my dad would set aside his stiff-upper-lip routine and tell me how he feels. Granted, a birthday call probably wouldn’t be the right context to get into a full discussion, but even a sentence or two of his thoughts would have been nice to hear.