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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

breaking even

It’s hard not to love my father.

He has made a stopover in Toronto after staying in New Brunswick for his mother’s funeral.

He is vibrant and healthy looking, but a fragile version of his usual self. I can’t imagine losing a parent. He has now lost both his parents and is going through the stages of grief.

Luckily he is his mother’s son, and has his two feet planted very firmly on this earth. He knows who he is, he understands his emotions, he speaks and moves with confidence and he takes care of himself.

Sometimes I envy how steady he is. He is healthy, active, curious and always interesting to talk to. He loves to know what’s going on in the world. He has excellent ear and a good name in the film industry. He works harder than anyone I know, but knows how to relax more than anyone I know at the same time.

At this point in my life I'm realizing I need to care for my parents the way they have always cared for me. I have to refuse the urge to be nurtured and return some of the love that has been given to me for the past 20 years.

I take small steps in learning to do this: I offer up my bed, make my dad a simple meal for his sensitive stomach, and most importantly listen. I hear my own voice talk incessantly about my own needs before remembering the importance of listening. He has things to say that are worth hearing, and my ego needs to calm so I can shut my mouth and absorb what he's saying. His needs are just as important-if not more-than my own.

The exchange of nurturing helps bring us to the same level. It doesn’t matter that there’s 40 years between us or that he’s my father, I love the guy for who he is. I want to spend time with him, go for lunch with him, talk to him about my everyday thoughts and laugh so hard my stomach hurts over dirty jokes with him.

Isn’t that what growing up is all about?

here's looking you kid
come as you are
happy dad
butcher's pantry
dad before lunch
art downstairs
type bookstore
mommies who drink
winter wonderwoman
*photos all taken on Queen Street West, Toronto.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

your dad IS really cool Gill, even though I've only really met him and talked to him that one time at one of your dinner parties...Your parents are really great and cool people, and I agree that the age difference means nothing when they are so open and eager to keep on exploring life forever!



8:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this was your most mature post yet.
i've just recently brought my father home from a nursing home to care for him in his remaining days. when i was your age i had not even begun to consider the needs of my parents. these are the things that truly matter in life. some people never really get it. you're already there. good for you.

1:33 PM  
Blogger eurobrat said...

very beautiful.

3:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beautifully written.

I think as we grow older (grow up) we have a new appreciation and respect for the people who cared for us when we were sick, loved us when we were horrible to them and probably struggled through out teenage years. And realizing, that if we are lucky enough, that at the end of the day, they're the people who will never turn their backs on us.

4:23 PM  
Blogger tara dawn said...

How often these days I find myself wanting to care for my parents, rather than having them care for me. Wanting to protect them from the heartaches of the world, to nurture them, to bathe them in love and encouragement as they have done for me for 26 years now. What a wonderful circle of nuturance occurs with our doubt it will circle more as more years pass and age washes over them more completely.
I've had a lovely time catching up on your always, your words and pictures bring such inspiration and carry so much wisdom.
Hope you are well.

7:18 AM  
Anonymous patrick said...

Your father has changed so little in over 25 years, thank God.
He remains funny, serious and amazingly interesting through so many of his life experiences. I would love to see Yvonne again also. Loosing both parents is devastating, it feels that ones back is no longer up against such a solid, nurturing and familiar wall. Thats why we are so fortunate to have had wonderful children of our own who will now take their places. It's a bit like the cards of life shuffling down and settling into a new and beautiful reality. We take can now practice the nurturing lessons that they taught us.
It was my great privilege to spend a little time with Rob on this his sad journey and to remember such good shared times. Thanks so much for the photographs. I will send one of my own.

12:49 PM  
Blogger MissK said...

Your dad looks like a cool guy you could sit down with,share a drink and looks like you both enjoy strolling through your favourite part of town.

1:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

what kind of camera did you get for Christmas? You're dad is adorable!

5:34 PM  
Blogger Gillian Young said...

Thank you for all the great comments. Yes he is an amazing guy. And it's good to know I've matured a little.

That camera is a Canon Rebel TXi, sexy little thing.

7:51 PM  
Blogger Sarria said...

I love your pictures!

8:18 PM  

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