So, as you know, my dad is visiting. Well, I say visiting, but I’ve seen him twice since he arrived about two weeks ago. I know he’s not here to see us – we’re incidental. He’s here to see his sister (my aunt). I don’t begrudge him that. It’s not like he’d ever come here just to see us, anyway.
It was his birthday on Wednesday. I finished work at about 8pm (yep, another 11-hour day) and rang to wish him on my way home. He was having supper at one of my cousin’s (the one whose husband smashed a jug over her head some months back). I was trying to organise our meeting the following day, so he could come and see Rosie’s Christmas play as he’d promised. When we’d made the plan, I’d suggested he stay the night at my place so we could explore this side of London a bit more.
“Well, I have to be back here at 5pm,” he said. “We’re going out for supper.” He didn’t mean 5pm the next day. Given that he is 1.5 hours away, and given that Rosie’s play was in the afternoon, I suggested he not bother. “No, no, I’ll come.”
So, I stopped at the shops on the way home to buy some ingredients for a gluten and dairy-free cake, since he and I share the same allergies. I got on the tube, hoping to get home within an hour, but someone had had enough of life somewhere further up my branch of the tube resulting in delays (due to a person under a train as the euphemism here goes).
When I got home it was almost 10. I baked a lemon and poppyseed loaf and hit the sack at about midnight. The next morning, my dad rang. “My head was turning when I got up,” he said. In other words, he wasn’t coming. I’m sure he needed his rest so he could go out that evening… for that all-important dinner.
And that was that. He said he’d ring me that evening, but he didn’t. I haven’t heard from him since. I’d suggested we meet tomorrow, but I don’t expect that to happen. So, I suppose the last time I will see him before he goes back to Canada is Monday – if he bothers to show up. Which would make it three times that I’ve seen him during his three-week holiday in London.
Put into perspective, that’s not too bad, I suppose. After all, I usually only speak to him about three times a year, if that. So, we’ve achieved our annual quota within a month – just in time for the end of the year.
I don’t know what it is about my dad that brings out the snivelling teenager in me. I should be grateful to him, really. He taught me some valuable lessons in life. Like: never trust a man, and don’t depend on anyone but yourself, and keep your expectations low, and it will usually end in disappointment (which is really the same as the one before it).
I applied these lessons to my own life and look where it got me. Married to and then separated from an alcoholic. Oh yes, I have much to be thankful for. He prepared me for the difficult road ahead and made sure I knew exactly how to survive the trauma. If nothing else, he taught me resilience.