Sunday, June 19, 2011

To Dad, With Love

It seems so many people have far more complicated relationships with their parents than I do.  My parents are still married, they've lived in the same town since I was born, and although we do have our quirks, our family is inherently kind, loving, and...well, normal.

The one thing we don't do very well is talk.  About emotions or difficult subjects or what we're up to.  I think it's a Swedish thing.  We play our entire lives close to the vest because embarrassment or shame is a fate worse than death.  We share good news, but only once it's a fait accompli.

That's kind of how I handled my eBook.  When it was all put together and posted on Amazon, I sent a link to my family.  Not before.  Not while I was writing it.  Not when I first thought of writing it.  When the cover, the formatting, and everything had already been done...then I coughed up a confession as to what I'd been up to.

And then my dad wrote me back:

Hi Jen, Just wanted to say that I read your book yesterday. I really liked it. I loved your reference to my Lou Gehrig statement. I cracked up out load when I read it! Of course the pristine white 66 Mustang also got my attention. At one point while reading, I thought to myself I haven't read any reference to Indy. Within a couple pages the first Indy reference popped up. Amazing! How long did it take you to write it? It was quite a thrill to read a book written by someone you know. It really was a unique and fascinating feeling. I'm so happy that you are doing the things that you really enjoy. I hope you continue to do that. Congratulations on your wonderful book. LOVE, Dad  

Dad, sorry if it's weird to be posting this online.  (Of course, being Swedish, I haven't told my family I have a blog...maybe when I crack a hundred views per day.)  I just want the people who read this to know that it makes your family so happy when you do what you love.  For me, that's writing.  Whether I suck at it or make it big someday, they're just happy I'm trying.  So if you aren't doing what you love, stop whatever it is you are doing and think about why.  If you're an accountant and you hate it, why do you do it?  If you're a writer and you hate it, isn't there something else you could do that would make you happier?  Your family knows when you're truly happy.  It shines through.  Wouldn't you like to give yourself--and them--the gift of a radiant smile because you're truly happy for once?

Okay, I'm almost done being mushy.  Just one more small point.  If, like me, you do have a good relationship with your family, be grateful.  Call your dad and say hi.  Call your dad and say anything.  My husband doesn't speak to his father.  He doesn't know if the man's alive or dead.  Granted, that's because his father treated him so poorly as a child it's a wonder the boy isn't in a mental institution.  But still.  If you are in any sort of pleasant relationship with your father, consider yourself lucky.

And, even if you're Swedish, try to tell the big guy how much you appreciate him this Father's Day.  Or any day, really.