The last time I hung out with my dad I was 11 and we went to go see "The Mask" with Jim Carey. I remember exactly how I felt about my dad at that age, but to simply say he was my hero sums it all up. I remember the day we went to see "The Mask" because I always looked forward to hanging out with my dad... it was always a highlight. Lots of things have changed since I was 11 and circumstances have come in the way of my dad and I having the best relationship in the world, but some things never change. For some reason a man that I've said I've hated in the past is still my hero and just to spend time with him still makes me feel really special.
All we did was go out for lunch, go to see "Wolverine", and wash my car, but it was a day I'll never forget. Because I had been hurt by my dad so much in the past my automatic reaction when it comes to our relationship is to protect myself, my feelings, my expectations, and my emotions; because I don't want to get hurt I usually become numb and turn all defense mechanisms on full blast.
But that's an awful way to live.
I realized sitting in that restaurant with my father that I do love him, I do have hope and expectations and that's healthy and normal. I've finally come to the point in my relationship with my father where I'm not constantly thinking how I need to protect myself. By protecting my emotions, I realized I would never grow and mature, emotionally at least.
Love equals risk. Relationships require lots of risk and vulnerability. Accepting the fact that I love my dad, despite our history, is a huge step for me and I just wanted to share that with my Blogger family. I forgave my father a year and a couple months ago and told him I loved him for the first time in years. Last week we hung out for the first time since age 11. If I can make progress so can you. This is a very sincere encouragement to all those who have a hard time reconciling with a parent, specifically a dad. There's hope! You don't have to have bulletproof emotions. Don't be afraid to be vulnerable for in your moments of vulnerability you will find true strength.