My Father, My Friend

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I often find myself in a bit of an odd predicament. While not an unfriendly or anti-social type, I am often reluctant to open up enough to people to have many close friends. The inside of my head can be an ugly place and I’m worried about scaring people away. When I stop to consider who my closest friends are, I realize that my dad always makes it to the top 5 of the list. It’s a rare day that goes by without one of us calling or texting the other. Usually just “hi” or “look at this cute dog I saw” but still some sort of contact. I never have to worry about scaring away my dad because he’s met most of my demons and shook their hands.

Nothing is ever perfect. Know someone your entire life (literally) and there are bound to be a few spats here and there. Add to the mixture the fact that we also work together and things can get quite heated. There was a point in the middle of his divorce proceedings that he was withdrawing from both his life and his responsibilities. Like any devoted daughter would, I told him that if he didn’t show up to work, I said that I would quit working for him and become a stripper. And that I’d make sure to send out invites to my shows to all his business contacts.

He came to work the next day.

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A particularly defining characteristic is our shared love of dogs. My dad thinks that the cure for all ills can be found in a cup of tea and a dog pile. I’ve found that it certainly doesn’t hurt. He hugged me when my ancient pug passed away and went with me on the next pugventure when the hole in my heart was too big to ignore.

We’ve learned lots from each other. I learned to ride a bike, shoot a rifle and make a mean Eggs Benedict. My dad learned the value of therapy and the domain and range of a graph. There’s an ongoing game between us, where we both try to use the most interesting word in a natural sentence. The word must be used correctly and in proper context. Neither of us know the score, but we immediately contact the other when points are won. Nobody will play Scrabble with either of us.

My father is often absent-minded, easily distracted and shuns confrontation at nearly all costs. There have been many rifts formed and precarious bridges built across them. Ours is a bond forged of tears, bad movie quotes and unlimited phone plans. I wouldn’t trade the chaos for anything.

I love you Dad. And I’m glad you’re my friend.

Crazy dog mom, mental health advocate, project manager and writer

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