It’s my father’s birthday today. Or rather, it’s the day recorded as his birth. October 1st. His parents didn’t really know when he was born, so that’s the date they picked to put on his records. I had forgotten about it until approximately ten minutes ago, and then I thought about what to do. Normally, I send an e-card and am done with it. One year when I first started grappling with the molestation issues (over ten years ago), I didn’t send him anything. I heard from my mom that he was ‘so hurt’ by that, even though my brother sends them nothing. Ever.
This year, I was flummoxed as to what to do. I decided to send a card, but what would it say? I looked at different cards, and they were all too sappy for me. I mean, I am not a sappy person anyway, and most certainly not when it comes to my father. I found a simple one and wrote something like, “Happy Birthday, Dad. May your year be filled with peace, happiness, and love. Love, Minna.”
That’s all I could muster. And, strangely enough, I meant most of it.
You see, in my last therapy session, I talked a bit more about my father’s lack of enjoyment for life. As I’ve said, he’s traveled around the world, eats the finest food, and doesn’t care for any of it. He can be excused for his lack of enthusiasm for the countries themselves because he’s mostly in conferences while he’s there, but he gets treated to the best food each country has to offer, and he appreciates none of it.
It got me thinking about what he does enjoy. He likes watching war movies. He liked playing tennis (though I think it was more the social aspect than anything else). Other than that, nothing. His life is pretty joyless. Even his affairs were more about validation than for actual enjoyment. As I have also documented, he doesn’t have much use for women.
The more I talked about him, the more I felt a…stirring of…sympathy for him. But I will get to that in a minute.
On a wildly different track that isn’t different at all (bear with me), my aunt died a few months ago. This is my father’s sister, a woman who had nothing but contempt and disdain for me for not speaking Chinese/Taiwanese (but, not for my brother. Double standards runs in that family, I see). When my mom emailed me to tell me the news, I felt nothing. A few days ago, Kiki emailed me to tell me that someone with whom we had both worked many many years ago had died recently. I had had a crush on him when we worked together, and he had been kind to and admiring of me as well. I haven’t seen him in 16 years. Kiki saw him a couple years ago, and she told me then that he had asked about me. Just a few weeks ago, we were wondering what had happened to him. I Googled him, but I found nothing, and believe me, that’s very unusual in this day and age.