Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A Daddy's Girl... and what happens when he's gone.

So I am a hard core Daddy's girl, have been one my whole life, I honestly can't remember a time when I didn't want my dad more than my mom. I know that sounds horrible especially since now I am a mom and I would be so sad if one of my girls ever treated me the way I treated my mother. I wasn't nice. I mean I didn't try to be mean or even feel at the time that things that I said or did were out of line, it's just that I didn't really ever take my mom's feelings into consideration. She wasn't one to come out and say to me "Nina, that really hurt me" I think she just internalized it all. I also think that she had my brother Mike and he was so good to her and had so much patience for her that it made up for me.
I remember being young, probably in middle school or so and my parents were arguing (as parents often do) and I thought for sure they were going to get a divorce, because honestly in my 11 year old world it seemed like a pretty bad argument. I looked at my Dad and said "let's go, if you want to leave, I will go with you." I so badly wanted it to be just me and him against the world. I pictured me taking care of him, learning how to cook for him and cleaning the house.... of course it would have never happened but in my imagination it was a great idea.
The funny thing is my dad loved me, there is no doubt, I know I was his "baby" but really he truly loved my mom too, and I am so glad he did. She deserved it. She put up with a lot, much more than I would ever put up with. My dad was a guy who loved his friends and his brother and made no mistake about the fact that he was going to spend time with them when he wanted to, and that sometimes meant he wasn't coming home after work, even IF my mom had cooked dinner and was patiently waiting for him. She would get upset and cry and yell and I would think 'what is the big deal, so what if he wanted to stop after work and have a couple drinks with his friends'? OH MY GOD, if my husband did that to me, especially as often as my dad did, I would kill him. Coming home a little drunk on a random Wednesday night after I had cooked and cleaned all day? Oh no, not in my home, it wouldn't happen. I love my husband and he is a good man but I promise you if he started doing that stuff I would be gone in a heartbeat. It's a different time of course than when my parents were younger and raising kids and I am so glad that my mom didn't leave.

Anyway, the whole reason for this little story is the other story I am about to tell...
My dad has been gone for many years now. My mom instantly became a very independent woman, especially considering she had been married for almost every minute of her adult life. She suddenly was on her own and responsible for everything, buying her home, her car and taking care of all the little stuff too. In the beginning it was great, we only saw each other every week or two, we talked every day but that was it. Then about 4 years ago my mom's doctor told her that she really shouldn't be living on her own, that her health was getting worse and if she had the option of living with her daughter that maybe she should consider it. Hmmm.... so this is where it all changed.
My mom sold her house and put the money into building a guest house onto our home. It was really cute and it was in front of our house so it was really kind of like we were neighbors. She came and went as she pleased, often times without us even knowing that she was gone. We got along pretty well at this point and she was still pretty independent just a little slower moving than she once was.
Two years after she built the guest house we decided we wanted to move. We found a house that had an even nicer guest house but this time it was in the back. My mom's health had gotten much worse at this point and the move was very hard on her. I felt horrible, like I was causing her to deteriorate just because I had a need to have a bigger home. We started arguing ALOT more. It was getting harder and harder to have a conversation with her without feeling like I had to run out of the room before I absolutely lost my mind.
She is a very tough lady, she doesn't have a filter, in other words, if she feels it-she says it, even if it's hurtful. Even if it's offensive. It makes me crazy.
We have been in the house for two and half years now and her health has gotten increasingly worse as time has gone on. I am now completely responsible for everything she does. She no longer drives, I take care of everything, which is exactly what I pictured myself doing for my dad someday... ironic right? Irony or retribution? Who knows. All I know is that no matter how offended I get, how hurt my kids feelings get or how crazy she makes me she is still my mom. I am going to be 41 years old next week and I am still learning every day how to be a better daughter to my mom. I am learning patience.
Today I had a friend tell me that the older I get the more I sound like her. That? freaked me out so bad, I cannot get it out of my head. I am obsessing over it. I do not want to offend people and I certainly do not want anybody to think that I don't have a filter or that I don't take people's feelings into consideration. I feel like I strive to do the exact opposite, I go out of my way to make sure people's feelings aren't hurt. I do however always stand up for what I believe in and make sure my voice is heard when I feel something is truly important. I will never, ever stand in the back of a crowded room and just shake my head when I disagree with something, I will not ever speak ill of someone and then turn around and act as their friend. Some people might think these things are cold hearted (which my mom has been accused of being) but I just feel like I have integrity and am being honest. I make an effort every day to be the best person I can be. I am passionate, opinionated and honest, if those things make me act like my mom, well then so be it.
I realize now that my mom has a lot of great qualities, she is patient, she has lived through so many heartbreaks, given up a son and buried 3 of her own children and was so strong through it all. I admire these things about her. She stands up for what she believes in and she really is my biggest fan even though sometimes it feels like she is always judging me, my appearance and my attitude. I know she loves me and I really do love her. This doesn't mean I don't miss my dad, it just means that had it gone the other way if he would have lived and she was gone I wouldn't have had the chance to learn to understand my mom the way I do now.


  1. made me cry. i love your mom. and you.

  2. The fact that you fight for what you believe in makes me admire you so much. I do not have that strength and I wish I did. I try my best to be a person who others can rely on and feel good around, but I don't always stick up for myself the way I would for others.

    You are a wonderful friend! And, BTW, I was just thinking that your birthday was coming up - how can we celebrate you? xo


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