I love my father–that’s not an apology there’s no but after “I love my father”. If I am a good person, my father is no less so.
Dad keeps his promises, even if he never lets children win at Sorry. He gave me science fiction and philosophy. And bourbon, Dad gave me whiskey. Not sports–he kept his comfort with tennis balls flying at your face at 100 miles per hour to himself, though he seems to have given me his tennis elbow. Dad gave me Vince Guaraldi and a piano I’ll never play as well as he.
I am much of who I am because of my father. And I mean that at face value: I don’t mean “in spite of” or “to spite” I am not who I am as a reaction to my father. I am who I am, with a strong sense of conscience and desire to consider how my actions, choices and motivations radiate and impact the people around me because I was taught, by my father (and my mother but I’m talking about dad) to consider these things.
Even so, Dad and I very often come to different conclusions about the world or the people and things within it.
That’s difficult. Growing up and learning that someone you love–someone you consider the source of things you admire about yourself–places less value on a thing you believe is important. I am not always graceful when that happens.
There’s my “but”, I guess. He’s nearly 30 years older than I am, from a generation that framed the world differently. Across contexts, that framing becomes neutral, or positive, or not. The conflict confuses me, makes me aware of the multitudes we all contain–some less noble than others.
I love my Dad. The way he tells stories. The way he likes parties. The way he likes knowledge, even when it sometimes turns into pontificating when you wish he’d shush so you can hold forth a bit, yourself.
If I love myself, I can only love my dad, and be grateful that I am happy, secure, loved and sometimes capable of reflection.