My S10 Note+ buzzes and shuffles around the kitchen island. Dread creeps in. Someone somewhere needs to reach me, NOW. Ugh! The introvert in me prepares for the worst – my clan and peeps text first, unless it’s an emergency. 😅 What now? 😶 A quick peek at the caller ID shows it’s my dad. 😱🤯 It wasn’t my birthday, a holiday or any of the other occasions that warrant spoken platitudes. 🤔 I hope it’s good news. 🤞 I can’t handle any more loss or misfortune.
Not today, Satan.
Apprehensively, I press the green receiver icon and slide it to answer. “Hola hija, what’s your address?” Awkward pause. “I already asked your sister for hers, you know, to keep for my records.” Records? *Phew!* I chuckle. “Dad, I’ll text you the info, that way you won’t lose it.” Another pause. “Nah, just tell me so I can write it down. I’m 78 years old and set in my ways.” 🤭 Alrighty then! Faint pen scratches on paper follow along as I dictate the house numbers, street name, city and zip code. The voice on the other side of the line double checks the scribbled notes and announces plans to visit as soon as the pandemic allows. 😷 “Te quiero mi niña, bye.” At that moment the mystery begins.
Why did he need to write down my info?
After almost 16 years living stateside, never did he once had asked for my physical residence. Heck, I hadn’t even asked where he lived! Throughout my life, I’d only hung out with him at mom’s, my maternal grandparens’ house, or at wedding venues, restaurants, parks and funerals. We’d always catch up at Longhorn’s, Fuddruckers or Sizzler when visiting Puerto Rico to escape adulting. Visits with dad had always been few and far between, a direct consequence of my parents long and complicated courtship due to his married status. My mother’s death in 2018 hadn’t impacted this dynamic in the slightest. To be honest, dad’s random appearances at crucial events in our lives had been the only true constant in times of uncertainty.
About a week later, my husband drops a navy blue envelope on my lap. It was a Christmas card from none other than my father! I made sure to save the return address as I tore through the paper that separated me from this unexpected holiday cheer. The familiar illegible black in cursive blended into the dark blue background. “Darling daughter, I hope that the new year brings you joy, and a job. Love, Dad.” 🤣😂 I stuck the card on the gratitude wreath and started putting together the 🎄. There was nothing else 2020 could to do shock me. Mom is surely getting a kick out of this one!
Wait long enough, and people will surprise and impress you. It might even take years, but people will show you their good side.RANDY PAUSH
Unfortunately, my sister wasn’t as pleasantly impressed. True, she was amazed that after three decades he had finally taken a few moments of his time to actually send her a note, but the very curt and tone deaf dedication undermimed the gesture: “Te desea, *formal name*.
Standing in front of the reluctantly displayed luddite custom, we burst out laughing. Geez, dad! 🤬 My sister ironically scoffs in disbelief. “FORMAL NAME! WTF, I DIDN’T EVEN GET A LOVE, DAD! Wao.” 😤 I cringed and told her what he had written me. 😬 “Guess now we know who the favorite is?” She rolls her eyes and chuckles. 🙃 It is what it is!
It’s not lost on me that a parent can be and mean different things to each one of their progeny. Whereas he’s been unimpeachable in his dealings with me, my father hasn’t found a saving grace with my sister. It’s a particularly vexing brand of estrangement. He tries to connect and fails miserably but she is willing to let him try, on the off chance the miracle happens. A very unique win-win. I’m glad they decide to give each other room to maneuver, that they assume good intentions despite the unforgettable faux pases. That in of itself is what makes us unwittingly, family.