So I was re reading some old emails, and I came across one that I thought I had saved, but I wasn't really sure. It was from my step dad.
When I received it in 2001, I took it as, as close to an apology for the ugliness between us that I would ever get. I had a bumpy childhood (thanks for the term, Callie, it's perfect) and much of it I heap on his shoulders.
In my richeousness, it is easy for me to tell myself I don't lay blame, but the truth is, I do.
When I read the email today, I got a different message from it. I saw a message from a man who is sad for the way things turned out between us. A man who is sad that I tend to forget that he did good things for me too. So following is a list, the first one I have ever made, not of the injustices I felt from him, but of the ways he tried to show me that he loved me.
Christmas. Now, I know that gifts do not equal love, but when you're a kid, they do. And every winter holiday we had the most marvelous display. And I don't remember a time when I didn't get what I asked for. A skateboard. A bike. (I didn't ask for the bike, but it sure was cool! And I sure did use the heck out of it!) An Electric Train Set (I still have it). Even now, he and his wife make sure that I am indulged with whatever I happen to be into. Knitting. Scrapbooking. Everything. It's his chance to treat and spoil. How did I over look that?
He used to let me play with his guitar if it was out. I still don't play well, but to let a 6 year old strum your instrument takes love. I don't think I would let a kid touch my guitar.
He took me out and bought me a flute when I expressed an interest in band.
He gifted me with flowers, candy, and an American Flag when I won the Presidential academic Physical Fitness Award.
He helped me once, build a wooden race car.
There was that time we went to the Desert just he and I. And I felt so spoiled and special because I got a new kite and a water cannon for Easter that year.
I'm sure I could list all day if I really thought about it. So for the first time, I will say, he did the best he could. In realizing this, perhaps I could learn to forgive him someday. I hope that when I do, it will not be too late. After all, it took 4 years for me to re read that email. I think it's time for me to stop being bitter about my childhood. To put the uglies away and focus on the lovelies. They're there, I just have to stop allowing the curtain of anger blot them out.