Fast forward a few years.
Now, I am not only an adult but very successful and very self-assured. My identity and my acknowledging that I am a good and valuable person are well cemented. With that, and as I visibly watch my parents – father in particular – break down and age rapidly, my perspective is changing as well.
I want to think of him as a good person. Heck, I *know* that he is a good person. But I do not want him to wear the crown of thorns that I pressed down upon his head as I attempted to reconcile the past. Now that I have peace, I want him to be absolved of it as well.
This came to me unintentionally, without analytical thought. I just caught myself the other day saying, “You know, I don’t think that things were all that bad as a child. I think that I was just a very difficult child. He did the very best that he could and I made it too difficult.” Saying that to myself, I stepped back and tried to figure out where that came from. And the above analysis is what I came up with as the reason why.
I can bear that now. I don’t need to blame him – or anyone – for what happened. It just happened. We all love each other now and, actually, we all loved each other then. I had to grow up into an adult and mature into a man in order to realize that. There were no villains, just uncooked people doing the best that we could.
I love my father. I hope that he realizes it. And even more than that, I do now truly realize how much that he loves me.