My stepmother once mentioned you are your father’s daughter when less than pleased with both of us. This is not news to me. I’ve been my father’s daughter my whole life. You have to take the bad with the good… but my futile efforts to arrange a Fathers Day get-together went from bad to worse.
The noisy environs of our apartment mean we often don’t hear our mobile phones ring if it coincides with a passing train. In conferring with the G.O. re his 4WD quest Dad’s taken to calling him directly on his mobile but if the G.O. doesn’t answer then Dad calls my mobile, and leaves messages on both.
I missed Dad’s call on my phone but heard the message beep, and caught the G.O.’s ringing so answered Dad’s call. To the point as usual, he explained it wasn’t necessary for us to give him a lift back to collect his ute, he was catching the train but would like to see us anyway on Saturday night. I countered yes, we hoped so too but the G.O. had yet to make arrangements, and it was still likely to be Sunday as he’d been working long hours each day including Saturday and over the course of several weeks, so driving up on the Saturday night wasn’t preferable. Dad barely waited for me to finish before suggesting it didn’t matter if we arrived very late. The G.O. could have a lovely sleep sequestered in the spare room at the end of the hall. I reiterated my explanation.
Now concerned for the G.O.’s welfare, Dad suggested he stay on there for the week to catch up on much-needed rest. By this time my patience had run out and my volume had increased, as I announced fine, I haven’t been able to organize anything like that but I’ll put you onto him, and you see if you can do better than me. There’s no dignity in this, I thought, here we are shouting at each other like it’s 30 years ago and I’m 17. As I thrust the phone at the G.O. Dad’s final parry was well that’s whose phone I called.
Dad went quiet for a few seconds as the G.O. said hello, hello… into the ethers, but re-grouped and clarified to the G.O. look, I understand she’s just trying to look after you, just do what you can… and moved onto the safe topic of the newly purchased 4WD, completely ignoring the reality that I have no say in the matter at all.
A day later I received a civilised phone call from Dad assuring me all was in its right place, including him. He’d had a reasonable train trip, sleeping and reading; collected the old ute; been successfully guided out of the city by my uncle; and driven home. Upon arriving home a little worse for wear after a few busy days, he was perplexed to see the 4WD wasn’t where he’d parked it on the street in front of the house. He assumed Someone Else, impatient to connect it up to the caravan, had located the key and moved it to the backyard. Except upon seeking to make visual confirmation of this, it wasn’t there. Only then did he realise he’d driven the 4WD to the train station in the first part of his journey back to the city to retrieve the old ute.
Dad assured me he was calmer now, and if we could manage a visit it would be appreciated, if not, that was ok too. Calmer myself, I reiterated the decision was not mine. The G.O. would be in touch.
Did we go up to visit Dad last weekend, or this? Unfortunately, no. Not because we didn’t want to but because reality is reality. The G.O. called Dad on Friday evening and explained. Nothing had changed; he was working the next day. Sunday was his only day off before doing it all again. This is our life at the moment. When things quiet down we will visit. Because we want to.
We all meant well.