Friday, May 15, 2009

Father/Daughter

It has been nearly a month since I posted anything. I seem to start blogs but not finish them. This isn't for a lack of content, well usually that is not the reason, for some reason I cannot seem to complete one. Perhaps this one will be different.

Last night I was watching Last Chance Harvey with Dustin Hoffman. Harvey (Hoffman) goes to England to go to his daughter's wedding and it is clear that they have a strained relationship and it is all around awkward and his daughter is close to her step-father Brian, whom everyone treats like her Dad. So at the end of the rehearsal dinner he tells his daughter that he won't be staying for the reception rather leaving after the ceremony and she tells him that since he has been so involved the past few years that Brian is going to give her away.

I watched this and felt the quiet pain they did a good job of expressing between them. Kyle said something about how mean they all were to Harvey. And I said, "No. You don't know how hard that would be. You don't know." And I cried silently to myself. I cried because not only have I been in that situation - as has my sister and countless women with 2 dads - but because for me it remains unresolved. I tried to separate myself from the film by saying something about how complicated blended families are, but that isn't even the right term. I guess I thought if I could intellectualize it then the feeling that this is close to me could disappear.

The reality is that father-daughter issues don't disappear. That unresolved family issues don't go away. That loyalties do get divided and hearts get broken and children, even grown up ones, get hurt, as do their complex families. So, I was sad. I was sad because it is sad. I was sad because for years I couldn't barely even talk to my father, even mentioning him - through much of high school and into my late teens - I would burst into tears. This was around the same time that we moved in with Chuck and I didn't know how to, and I believed I had to, divide my loyalties. Only recently did I realize that it is probably around the same time that I learned how my parents actually got separated, I imagine those two factors had a huge impact. But underneath it all there still remain unresolved issues.

For example I recently told my Dad that when Kyle and I get married that it will be up here, probably in Washington actually. And he asked why we couldn't just do it down there. I told him because I want it to be up here, it is beautiful and will most likely be on his aunt's property. I also said that we wouldn't have the money to help him fly up or rent a place to stay so he should start saving. He did not seem pleased. He asked why we couldn't just have it in my mom's backyard or just have a reception down there. So I told him we would probably have a reception in California eventually so, no, it was not that big of a deal. He said, "Well, it is your second wedding." I said, "It isn't Kyle's, but you're right it is mine. If you can't make it when it happens it won't be the end of the world, I don't expect most people will make it up. We'll do something in California eventually." And part of me meant it because I don't want him to stress about saving up to get up here when it happens and part of me didn't want him to feel bad, but part of me was sad that he made it sound inconvenient. I doubt that is what he meant though, really.

When Harvey gets to his daughter's rehearsal dinner he says something about how far away England is for getting married and she says, slightly hurt, "I'm sorry for the inconvenience" and he says, "No, no, it was a joke. I was joking." He mostly meant that.

1 comment:

Jenny said...

I, too, saw that movie (on the plane) and loved it. I'm glad they showed it on the plane, because I had not heard of it otherwise. It actually made me think about how hard it must have been for you when you got married.

About Me

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Portland, OR, United States
I am a daughter, sister, friend, wife, counselor and colleague. I am a work in progress. There may be some pieces out of place and things might be messy, but it's okay. I would rather accept that I am still unfinished than think that this is it. You can find my comments on faith and spirituality on my blog: http://themessinessoffaith.blogspot.com/ And my comments and anecdotes on life at: http://sheisaworkinprogress.blogspot.com/

Books That Matter. Well, some of the many that matter.

  • Magical Shrinking: Stumbling Through Bipolar Disorder, Chris Wells
  • Pride & Prejudice, Jane Austen
  • An Abudance of Katherines, John Green
  • Dave Pelzer
  • Franny & Zooey, J.D. Salinger
  • I Was Told There'd Be Cake, Sloane Crosley
  • The Cloister Walk, Kathleen Norris
  • The Developing Mind: How Relationships and the Brain Interact to Shape Who We Are, Daniel J. Siegel