It’s the day after Father’s Day, and I’m just getting around to writing about it. I blame myself partially for not writing in advance to be scheduled on the day, and I partially blame the fact that I was traveling, i.e. not having the time to do so. In any case, I’m writing about Father’s Day now, because I’ve actually been thinking about it, and how important it is to me nowadays.
What essentially triggered my need to write about Father’s Day is, of course, my relationship with my dad. We’ve had some tumultuous times since I was a kid (especially as a teenager/early twenties), as we’ve disagreed on issues like politics, work, and definitely how my career should look like once I reach a certain age.
I’m currently in my late twenties, and the pressure is all too real: not just with finding a new job after my contractual one ends this August, but also the pull of being closer to home with my family. Especially when my mom and my grandparents (dad’s side) aren’t doing too well in terms of health, my dad has been under a lot of stress managing them, and I have sensed that he isn’t all too happy that I’m still abroad trying to figure out my next steps while also traveling Europe before I leave for an indefinite period of time.
Really, this sentiment has been eating at me– for several weeks, too! I particularly felt the tension during our last Skype session before I left for a 10-day trip: my mom was doing most of the talking while my dad was paying almost no attention whatsoever, except to bring up my taxes in France. While I know it’s important to resolve tax and other financial issues (trust me, it’s been stressful for me, too), I couldn’t help but feel a little hurt that he wasn’t very happy with me, for making the decision to stay longer in France rather than coming home earlier for the family.
Maybe he was feeling overwhelmed that day, and he wasn’t in the right mood to talk– I guess I could understand that. But really, it’s been hard: health problems in the family and needing to take care of them pretty much on his own. My sister is too busy figuring out her life, too: despite being at home with them, she’s also preoccupied with preparing for accounting exams, and she can’t fully invest in the situation as well.
Seriously, if all of these unfortunate events were to happen later, when my sister and I already had stable careers going for us, things wouldn’t be such a mess. Nor tense with my dad. I do want to be there for my family, I do care– but I also want to have a job to make money to help them out, even if they’re financial well-off: I have this dread that I’m not making my dad proud (e.g. being a liberal arts major, living far away from home, traveling too much, being *potentially* jobless…). The emotions were so overwhelming that I even had a silent cry at the airport I was staying in overnight during my trip.
I love my dad, even if I don’t agree with everything he believes. I want to make him proud, and I want to show him that I’ll be successful in life, all the while be there for the family in times of need and struggle. I don’t know if it’s possible to achieve both, especially when the element of living abroad comes into play. Personally, I would still like to live overseas for work, as I find there are more, wider opportunities out there than at home. But that means being far away for most of the time, and how can I be there for my family if I’m physically not there? It’s a conundrum that has eaten at me since September– I thought I’d have it all figured out by now, but turns out, I was really wrong.
This post is rambling, and I realize that it’s not really about my dad. Rather, it’s more about my relationship with him, complicated as it is (and has been for years). We love each other, but we’re both just really different people with different ideas of how the world works. I hope we can find middle ground in these times of turmoil, and go forward from there. Guess time (and getting older) will have to tell.
Thanks for reading, and I hope you had a great Father’s Day.
— The Finicky Cynic
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