Thursday, July 09, 2009

Time Away

The Fourth of July this year was spent at the family beach house. This house was built from an inheritance my father received and none of us knew was coming. My grandparents were depression children and saved money their entire lives; when they died, that money became a forced family fun building project at the beach. Spending the summer I was 14 with my parents 2 and a half hours from home was not my idea of a wonderful experience before high school. However, now it is a wonderful place for our family to get together on such holidays as the Fourth of July.

The relationship with my father has been very strained from the time I was incredibly small. We are both oppositionally defiant, stubborn, independent, and just plain pig headed. He is/was a stanch Republican; I'm a rather hardcore democrat. He believes that education and money bring you up out of having to labor; I would prefer to labor and have less money. He's very much a clean cut, organized, things in the right places sort of person; I'm a dirty hippie. He says I do everything the hard way; I say the experience is much more important than the destination. We grew up in a 4200 square foot house; the best times of my life have been living in a 16x9 lime green van. But he is my dad and he loves me. We are both trying very very hard and have made significant headway. The Spicy Barracuda has been a wonderful help here. He is a dirty hippie child with a blue mohawk who is also amazingly well behaved, respectful, organized and intelligent. Somehow the genes must have sorted themselves out.

My father, his significant other, her daughter and boyfriend, Jules, the Barracuda,
and I all ventured out to the beach for three to four days. It was quite delightful!

There was much bike riding, bridge running, and wetlands viewing. We also got to venture up to the lighthouse on the point, roast marshmallows in the fireplace (as well as out on the beach watching the fireworks), eat potato chips and candy, and a few piggy back rides. The Barracuda hasn't had much experience with many of these things and enjoyed himself thoroughly.

The beach is a great place to take the Barracuda for fireworks. It is like a war zone long before any of the professional explosives start to go off. Thousands of dollars are ignited in matters of minutes and go on long through the night as we walked back home to bed. It affords us the ability to experience all the excitement without having to blow all the cash. Secondly, I am clumsy and accident prone. Explosives and I probably aren't a great mix without medical insurance. We will stick to the Pop-Its (or Whipper Snapers in the South) and have a wonderful time just watching.

Most importantly, some quality time was spent together as a family. Vacations away from our house are rare in these parts and vacations away with much other than the three of us are virtually unheard of. The calming of the beach is a great place for all our stresses and household chores to fall away and get right down to good old fun. The thought that walking along the Pacific Ocean will be so common to our son is quite incredible.

Jules also got to have some time with my father discussing whatever it is that guys discuss. They spent a long night talking out on the porch after the rest of us had gone to bed. The little I have been privy to involved the woods, relationships, me, the horrificly stupid neighbors, marriage, and other sorts of apparent dude topics. I'm perfectly happy only knowing that they can openly discuss things and forge a relationship together. My father hasn't been to thrilled with any other of my males that he has met, but apparently Jules passed the test. He has gotten me to be clean. I now make the bed in the morning, do the dishes when people get up from the table, make really great food, have a person for The Barracuda to refer to as Dad who is respectable and plays, and other adult like stuff. I now dress in non-patched clothing, look female by wearing dresses or skirts, and do momlike things such as reading to my son before bed. Most importantly to my father (other than being clean) I am domestic. I make our food (from scratch), I knit, I wash clothes, garden, take care of family chores, and have The Barracuda doing the same. Finally, I'm fitting the picture of what a young lady should be in my father's eyes. With these things, he can overlook the blue mohawk, dread locks, chanting of freedom rock, and recitation of classical poetry. I'm happy, fitting a cultural place, and not living in a van anymore!

All in all, the weekend was a succuss and to be repeated in a couple of months when the family will once again venture down to the beach together. It is odd how well it has all worked out with such a rocky beginning, but finally, it appears, we are a family.

2 thoughts:

Jess said...

I've always had a tough relationship with my dad as well, though in recent years it's been much much better than when I was a teen living at home.

Still, my current switch in career aspirations from professional to farmer has left him a little baffled as a techie who's started a number of businesses and been very financially successful.

I can see he always wants the best for me -- happiness, money, intellectual challenge, meeting my "potential" -- and he worries that I might not find that in the direction I'm currently headed. I worry too sometimes, and it been nice to be able to convince myself by convincing him...

Granola Girl said...

My father has finally come to see (at least I think) that I'm not completely screwing myself up. Oh, there have been many a time when my decisions were not great, but haven't we all been there.

It seems through much stabbing in the dark, my wanderings have led me to some kind of self. It just happens that the self I found doesn't really align with his "prosperity." He can't really deny that I've found it though.

Hopefully you will get there too. In the end, I think all our dad's just want us to be happy. Seeing happy come from a weird and foreign place must be kind of scary.

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