I have spent the last several days decorating my home for Christmas. As I've said previously, I love Christmas. But this morning I began to feel just a little tinge of sadness. I started thinking about my father who never really liked Christmas. As a child, I hardly remember him participating in any of it. Except the one event I always hated: the annual Christmas shopping trip. This was a shopping trip in which I would pick out my Christmas present and my father would purchase it on the spot. Some would say that was thoughtful of him. But for some reason it seemed insensitive. It was almost like he couldn't be bothered with taking the time to listen to me or get to know me so he could choose a present he knew I would like. So each year I would pick out my present and each year he would buy it, take it home to my mother, have her wrap it, and place it under the tree.
After my mother passed away his disdain for the holidays increased. It didn't matter how much I tried to make it joyous and special for him, he dreaded that time of year. My children never truly understood, although I know it was related to the fact that she died shortly after Christmas. It brought back so many memories of the last Christmas we all spent together.
It's funny how childhood memories come flooding back this time of year. And it's a little sad that those feelings of insecurity seem to still be there when I think about my father. Even on the day he passed away I was still trying to please him; and he still never could let me know how much he loved me. Of course, my rational mind knew he loved me. But it always seemed I could never win his approval, no matter how hard I tried. And yet after he died, countless people contacted me to tell me how proud he was of me and how much he loved me. Sad that he could never really make me feel that himself. And in spite of it all, I miss him terribly. I miss our Sunday morning breakfasts together. I miss his infrequent hugs. I miss listening to gospel music with him. I even miss putting out his HUGE stocking at Christmas and filling it with gifts that were picked and given in love.
All I ever wanted was to please him, and all he ever wanted was for me to know he was proud of me. That's all daughters ever really want from their fathers. What a shame that most of them are never able to express it.
Feeling a bit sad and nostalgic today,