My Old Man Was Born to Rock

So, maybe you saw my twitter fit on Friday night. If you didn’t, all you really need to know is that I came unglued. After I stopped tweeting, I started sobbing and hyperventilating and just losing my shit in general. I called my sister, and she talked to me for awhile. I went to bed.

The next morning, my Dad called. He said two sentences. “Are you ready for some company?” and when I replied in the affirmative, “I will be there in ten to twelve hours”.

Twelve hours after we had that conversation, he was sitting on my porch with me. We were up till 3am, drinking and talking and drinking and talking. I laid my soul bare, telling him stories he never heard, hurts never admitted, fears unspoken. All of my pain and hurt and bewilderment spilled out of me in a steady stream. I listed off my frustrations- simple things, like learning how to use the grill, what’s wrong with the toilet that won’t stop running, and if my internets don’t get fixed soon I’m going to break out into hives.

Over the next few days, he fixed things and cleaned things and taught me things and made lists for me. He showed me how to grill a steak- the way I eat steak (rare medium rare), and not the way he likes steak (shoe sole). The internet connection problem meant him crawling up into my attic (not the greatest place in the world) through a trapdoor in the closet ceiling not once, not twice, but six times to get everything working properly with the best signal possible. He cleaned all the windows in the house and my car.

As we worked on all of this, he helped me sort through all the anguish I laid at his feet that first night. It was something that only he could have done- at least just the way he did it. We’re so much alike, and he knows me so well. His words held a weight and a meaning above and beyond any other person’s, simply because he has a better understanding of the dark corners of my heart.

This morning, we left at the same time. I left to come to work, to do the closing, to go to class- to be me and do what I have to do. He left to drive twelve hours home, to his wife (who was NOT. PLEASED.  with this impromptu visit), so that tomorrow he can take her to have her blood drawn and Thursday he can take her to her chemotherapy treatment. He left to be him and do what he has to do. He followed me out to the gas station, we each got a cup of coffee and said our goodbyes in the parking lot. He turned on to I-40 West, and I turned on to I-40 East, both headed towards lives and destinies of our own.

The tears slipped quietly down my cheeks, much like the soft rain running down my windshield. I know that he has to go. I know that Mom needs him, that he is hers, and I know that I have to accept the new order of things. That everyone who tries to fix my weedwacker or takes trash to the dump for me or fixes my lawnmower is just helping out where they can. I am alone. I have to accept that position and become comfortable with it. Deciding what to attempt myself, what to hire someone for, when to ask for help and who to ask, and what to do if they tell me to fuck off and leave them alone.

I think that was why I needed him so desperately- I find it unbearably hard to borrow my friends’ husbands and boyfriends, to ask them to take on the littlest thing for me. I am not their responsibility. It would be far too easy to depend too much on Daddy if he were close enough. That wouldn’t be good for me, and it probably wouldn’t be good for him. It wouldn’t be good for Mom either, but that’s in the “pro” column, if you ask me.

So I will walk down the road in front of me, my steps a little lighter for having some of the obstacles in that road moved out of my way, but mostly for knowing that someone in this world knows how it feels to be me.

Let me run with you tonight
I'll take you on a moonlight ride
There's someone I used to see
But she don't give a damn for me

And turn the radio loud, I'm too alone to be proud
You don't know how it feels
You don't know how it feels to be me

People come, people go
Some grow young, some grow cold 
I woke up in between
A memory and a dream

And you don't know how it feels
You don't know how it feels to be me

My old man was born to rock
He's still tryin' to beat the clock
Think of me what you will
I've got a little space to fill
And you don't know how it feels
You don't know how it feels
No, you don't know how it feels to be me

-Tom Petty

9 Responses

  1. Dad’s are the greatest! It’s really cool that he was able to help you when you needed him most.

    That’s my Dad’s specialty. When it’s time, he’s there.

  2. My dad is so much like me… He is the only person that knows how it feels to be me – too. I’ve cried listening to that song before – for the very same reason you used it in this post!

    AS I read this…I completely understood. Although our situations are different – they are really similar. My Daddy is the one person who can fix anything. I can tell that both you and I are Daddy’s girls.

    I’ve been thinking of you and I’m wishing you all the best! Please let me know if there is anything I can do – even if it is just to listen. I have no relationship with my mom at all… My dad doesn’t either – but he did, not too very long ago.

    I’m thinking of you!
    -M

    Thanks, hon. You’re too sweet. I am unabashedly a Daddy’s girl, but it gives me the warm fuzzies to commiserate with another Daddy’s girl. I love my Mom. She’s a nutcase, though. A rather harmless nutcase, but still.

  3. Like I said, your dad is a good egg…

    Yes, he is. Pickled, maybe, but one hell of an egg. ;)

  4. A good dad IS a rockstar. Because no matter how much shit hits the fan, there’s that phrase that seems to always ring true: “you’re always going to be his little girl.”

    I’m the apple of his eye. ;)

  5. my dad would have done the same. that’s just how amazing daddies are. there’s nothing like them.

    you’re very, very lucky, at least for that.

    that, as you stated so eloquently earlier in the week, is no small matter. <3

  6. Aw, chica, you are NOT alone. You may be by yourself when it comes to getting things done, but you always have a support system. My heart breaks for you, that you are feeling so much pain. I’d say it’ll get better (which it will) but knowing that never helps in the moment, so I’ll just remind you that there is a whole aisle of really good ice cream available at most grocery stores… :)

  7. Although I always have a “to do” list for my dad when my parents come for their yearly visit, part of me is grateful that I lived alone for the last ten years. I learned how to do things myself, if something broke, how I could figure out how to fix it, and only ask for help for things that were really beyond my scope (like a broken pipe, for example).

    Turns out, that now that the boy has moved in, I’m a lot more handy than he is. True, he and my dad changed a toilet together, something I’d have no clue how to do, but for the little day to day things, it’s all me. And I’m thankful for that.

  8. I don’t know what I’d do without my dad – THANK GOD he only lives a mile down the road. My husband wants to move back to Ohio in the worst way and I placate him sometimes and say we will BUT the way things are going I’d have to be insane to move away from my daddy.

  9. Great post, I lost my Mom in ’94 to cancer but my Dad is still a rock star at 76 and I dread the day he starts looking to me to help him out, when we make that transition and the balance of power shifts and the parent becomes the child – because that day will be a lonely one and it isn’t far away . . . .

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