Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Well THAT was awkward...

Tonight's blog was intended to be about family in a totally different sense. I made a phone call tonight that changed the tune...

It's 9:32pm on a Tuesday night and I just got off the phone with my father. Yep, you read that right: my father. After 18 years, the only word I can think of to explain the 7 minute conversation that just ended is: AWKWARD. Those of you that know me well know that I haven't had any relationship with my father since June 16, 1998...the day I graduated from high school and also his 42nd birthday. (Those of you that didn't know before, welp, now you know!) Before that sunny day in June of '98, the relationship could only be described as tumultuous at best.

A few weeks ago my aunt let me know that my father found my Bat Mitzvah proofs and he wanted to know if I wanted them. I don't have too many memories from my childhood but my Bat Mitzvah is one I hold in my heart. My mom worked her ass off to make that party special and it was an absolute blast! Of course I want the pictures! All these years I thought they were lost in a move and to learn that they're not was really exciting.

My aunt graciously offered to "arrange" for me to get them. I appreciated the offer but I want to get them myself. I want my father to be man enough to face me after all of these years. I want him to see the woman I've grown up to become. So I mustered the courage, after several weeks of contemplation, and made the call tonight.

Obviously I won't call him dad so I just started with "Hi, it's Amanda." It took him a second and then he responded with an excited "Oh, hi." I thanked him for finding the pictures and cut right to the point: "I can come pick them up this weekend." He was a little taken aback but he said he'd be home and gave me his address. He tried to make small talk and said, "so, what have you been up to?" I was silent for a few seconds and he said, "wow. I guess that was weird." Ummmmm, yeah. How do you ask your daughter after 18 years what she's been up to? Really? How was I supposed to respond? We talked for a few minutes about my living in Horsham and him calling me a "suburbanite." He said he'll probably be BBQing on Saturday and that I could have a hot dog but it wouldn't be kosher. He asked if I was coming alone and I told him my boyfriend is likely to come. He said his girlfriend and neighbors may be there. He was watching hockey (no surprise) and I could tell he'd been drinking. He asked what I did for a living and I gave him a snapshot. He said last he heard I wanted to be a journalist. Yes, father...when I was 17. Childhood dreams change. I wasn't interested (or ready for that matter) in small talk and it was getting more awkward. I answered his questions concisely and softly and ended the conversation pretty quickly.

As soon as I hung up, the tears poured. He's missed so much. He doesn't know me and I fear he may not even recognize me when I get there Saturday. I literally have zero expectations for how it will go. I have an idea of what it's probably going to be like but I don't want to make too many assumptions and psych myself out. I'm going to be nervous all week but I know I can do this. At least I'll have my Bat Mitzvah pictures! ! !

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