“You know, being a parent isn’t as easy as you think, you’ll see.”
Those were some of the last words my dad ever spoke to me during a heated conversation.
If anyone has met me, you might understand how a motorcycle driving, leather vest clad man and I never saw eye to eye.
My dad had always been the less favored parent. I cried when he tried to do my hair in elementary school when my mom worked nights. After my parent’s tumultuous divorce in high school, our relationship was broken beyond repair.
Years went by, and we became amicable.
I didn’t ask him to walk me down the aisle or dance with me at my wedding. I did choose to celebrate him when he was going to be a grandfather to my first daughter. I had high hopes that we’d have a second chance at a relationship when he became a grandpa.
After ignoring his texts on my birthday, August 19, 2014, he was in a fatal motorcycle accident the next day. Driving around the mountains of New Hampshire, he died doing what he loved. He’ll never hear me say I’m sorry, that I loved him, or that he was right. He will never meet his first granddaughter (December 2014) or the twins (2016).
It took becoming a parent myself to know just how badly my words and actions had hurt him. I would be devastated and heartbroken if my children ever treated me like I treated my father.
I know why he fought so hard for my love, why he poured his heart out to me in birthday cards, why he reminded me that he was the only one who visited me in the NYC hospital NICU I was rushed to after birth, and of all the special things we did together when I was little.
My dad was right; being a parent isn’t as easy as I thought. My oldest daughter could be my clone in looks and personality. Each day I get a glimpse of what parenting myself might have been like for him. What has been even harder is not having my parent’s guidance through it all.
After all, we had been through my dad had the last words and the last laugh. I’m struggling through parenthood parentless, hoping to somehow make up for the pain and regrets of my past by doing the best I can with my three.