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Isn't it pretty?

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Graduation Post-Hoc - The Talk

To end my graduation weekend, my mom was scheduled to leave at the crack of dawn on Sunday, with my dad following in the afternoon. This gave my father and I the rare opportunity to spend some time together without anyone else around. This is literally an occurrence that takes place once every year or so, if that often. Because of the frustration and hurt that had been building up in me for the past few months (and years), I wanted to take the opportunity to have a good, honest, mature and hopefully healing, talk. I felt a bit bad about doing this, because I knew my father had no idea that it was coming. But I figured that if I hadn't myself in a controlled, non-emotional (very important to my father) manner, then things should be okay. Sunday morning we went out to a bagel place for brunch and then when we left, I told my dad that I wanted to talk, seriously. We went to a gazebo behind my apartment and sat down, face to face. I calmly told my father about the hurt I have felt, about how I was upset about some issues that had come up, how I want to have a better relationship with him. I also told him how much it meant to me that he had come for the weekend and how I finally saw him being proud of me, which moved me greatly. I explained to him that I felt that he saw me as the volatile teenager I used to be, not the adult that I have become. I told him that it hurt me that in the five years since I moved away from Birmingham, this had been his first visit. He acknowledged that many of these things were true, but that he had no idea what I had been feeling (which I knew). He told me how proud of me he was, and how it was a new experience for him to see me as a mature adult with my friends. He said that the weekend had done a lot for him to see me for the person I am now, and he was impressed. He told me he wanted to have a better relationship with me as well, and thanked me for bringing it up. He asked me to help him listen to me more fully. He told me he is going to try to visit more often. It was such a huge step; I am not sure my father and I have ever had such an open talk wherein we both heard each other in the past. I am not sure I was capable of it in the past. The entire weekend did so much good, in so many ways. I am sure there will be things that come up in the future, but I think we have now laid the groundwork to having a better relationship, which is at least something. It is incredible how much has come from my decision almost two years ago to return to college. I simply thought it would mean a new career that I cared about. Instead, it has meant a greater self-confidence, an expanded field of knowledge, a renewed love of learning and exploration, a pride in my intellect, and maybe most importantly, a maturity that has allowed me to heal some really old wounds. It was hard, but it was sure worth it.

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