Tuesday, September 13, 2011

My dad is a changed man!

June 2005

I am waiting at the bar at Christopher’s in Cambridge for my dinner of steak tips and beans when my cell phone rings. The caller ID shows it is my dad. I get up and sign to Mark that I will take the phone call outside.

“Hi Dad, what’s up” I say while my sandals click under my feet and my skirt is flapping in the soft ocean breeze. The pink flowered hanging baskets create a beautiful entrance, and I feel grateful to live in an area where spring means that you can keep your coat at home.

My fathers voice booms through the phone “Hi Iris. I am so glad to speak with you”. It is like he is standing right there next to me. I know that he just has been on a holiday with his boat and I assume that his excited demeanor has to do with that. He had been in a dip for a while, and I am happy to hear him so cheery. “Dad, you sound great. How was your holiday?”

He tells me a bit about his adventures on his sailboat. He sailed to the Oeral Festival on Terschelling, which is one of the Dutch Islands. For a whole week artists perform all over the Island. There is music everywhere. There is theatre everywhere. You can find painters show their work in outside expositions etc. There is activity all day and all night.

“I had a great time” he says. “That’s awesome dad. I am so happy for you. I am glad you decided to go this year.” My dad has always been a man of ideas but not a man that executes them. In June 2005 he had been living for thirty years in the same house where he started with my mom. They did not have a happy marriage and when they divorced, I always thought he would start over somewhere else, but he never did.

“Iris, I have to tell you something” dad continues. My stomach clings together. When my dad says that, it normally isn’t good. “Ok, dad” I respond apprehensive.

“I... I... I...” he stutters and then almost shout through the phone “I think I am in love”. I start laughing from relief and he continues with a very serious voice. “You know, I loved your mom a lot. I also loved Ellen a lot. But you know, I am sixty years old and I have never felt like this before.” “Dad, I am so happy for you”. I respond and we continue our conversation.

What happened next...

The love my dad found helped him made changes to his life in ways he always wanted but never did before. In a fairly short time he sold his house and moved into a new apartment with his wonderful girlfriend at the other side of the Netherlands. They started a new life based on respect, direct communication and love. I can say that I never saw my dad so happy as over the last years. My dad, who had been disappointed to hear that I was not planning to have children, became the stepfather of two wonderful young women (my half sisters). My oldest half sister made him the proud grandfather of two grandchildren. I am proud that my dad decided that he could make changes at sixty. I am proud that he has expanded his horizons and is continuously creating a new life full of love and excitement.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

My dad left a short message on my answer machine. He is back from holiday. He will call again. I put some lunch in the microwave and give him a call. “Welcome home, dad. Did you have a good time on Curacao?” I ask. “ It was absolutely fabulous” he responds with more energy than I have ever heard before. “We had such a wonderful time staying with the family. We walked in our shorts all day. We hang out with so many of the local people. We didn’t want to go back home. And I think that a year from now you might have to call to Curacao to reach us.” he says.

Before I can respond he continues, “We love it so much we want to move there”. “Dad. That’s amazing. I love that idea. We are looking forward to coming by.” I respond happily. He laughs. He is happy that I am happy for him. He says “There are some things to arrange and to be thought about, but we really want this”.

He tells me about the rules to move as a retiree to Curacao (which is part of the Dutch Government); about selling his condo; about traveling there again at the beginning of next year to look around for places they would want to live; about learning Spanish and Papiamento; about the things he wants to figure out before making the decision.

He shares with me a memory of the day that he showed my husband and me his new apartment. He told Teflon at that time that this probably would be his last house. Tef responded with “Your last house? Why? How do you know that?” Dad laughs and said Teflon was right again. He seems thoroughly exited to realize that he is on the verge of changing everything that he thought would be.

Jokingly we set a date for a holiday in their new Curacao home at the beginning of 2013, and then we hang up.

Dad is actively creating a new life, with new dreams and I am in awe. This man is not the dad I grew up with, the man that would get stuck in concerns and disbelief. This is a man with a plan. This is a man with a want, and he is going to do what is needed to see if he can fulfill his want. Pursuing wants makes people look at themselves, and recreate who they are. I believe my dad is a better person today because he jumps in these days and pursues his wants with a new dedication. He is more loving, more accepting and more exited then I have ever seen him.

Dad, I am cheering you on! I love you.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Read, smile, think and post a message to let us know how this article inspired you...