My dad just left, as is customery after his hours-long visits most days a week, and I started thinking about his feelings.
I know, right? Weird.
Usually, his feelings aren't something that I think about. He didn't think about mine, Rachel's or mom's when we were younger and he would terrorize us over the smallest things. He didn't seem to care about us or our feelings when he moved from house to house, eventually moving to Michigan to live with his mother (Note: I realize now that he HAD to do that; he had no other options and he didn't want to).
I used to be very scared of my dad, and I still am when I whitness him while intoxicated; I usually just steer clear until he's subdued or gone. I went from being scared of him to hating him, and didn't talk to him for five years. I went back to being scared when he came back to Texas the summer before my Senior year of high school (Note: He hadn't seen us for six or seven years by this point, and didn't even recognize my sister). From my senior year to now, he's lived with us off and on, and I finally, finally know how to feel about him.
My dad is a good man, and is actually pretty thoughtful. When he left the house a little while ago, he came back to help get the trash to the curb. He bought groceries and brought them over here to share with us, and even though most of it is definitely man food, I'm very grateful. If it weren't for his alcoholism, he would be a fabulous man.
I know how I felt during those tough few years and how I feel now, but how did he feel? He did he feel when he realized that he was having negative effects on his family? How did he feel when he found his stuff on the front porch and his family missing? How did he feel when he signed the divorce papers? When he only got to see us once every couple of weeks? When he moved to Michigan and didn't see us for YEARS? How did he feel when I refused his phone calls? How did he feel when he was kicked out of here AGAIN? How does he feel when I'm mad at him? How does he feel when he leaves after a visit?
Through my blind fear in regard to his alcoholism, I forget that he is, indeed, a person. I forget that he does love my sister and I, and is doing all he can to help support us, even though he couldn't be here to finish raising us.
I've realized that despite all of our invidiual failures, shortcomings, harships, and brokenness, we are a family. We may not like each other at times, or live together, but we are still a family nonetheless. I'm extremely blessed to have Rachel as my sister, my mother as my mom, and yes, my dad as my dad.