My Dad called me earlier in the week. Normally most people would think that wasn't such a big deal, but when my Dad calls me, it is. He's usually the one who asks my Mom to call me and she relays back to him whatever is my answer. Every once in a while though, he calls me and I pay attention. His birthday is later this month and that may be why he suddenly is emotional and all mooshy.
He told me how he thinks about me every day and that, while his mind is sharp, his body is not-so-much and that he doesn't want to "go to the great beyond worrying about me. Even though I am 50 years old, he thinks of me as his little girl". We left it at "Dad, you can worry about me. I can't stop you. But please, don't fret about me. I'm much better now than I was this time last year."
He seemed OK with that.
My Dad is the sort who shows his love with gifts and financial help. While I was married, I can honestly say I never asked for any help at all from him but he always sort of knew when I was close to the edge of some sort of financial crisis. Probably my ex getting laid off again was a good clue. And my Dad never failed to offer help just when I needed it most.
He helped with the mortgage, the girls' tuition, a new van when the rear wheel drive one I was driving couldn't get up the driveway in winter. He offered art work he tired of to fill the walls when I moved in to a place that had lots of walls and higher ceilings than I'd ever had before.
When both girls were born, he gifted them money to start a college fund and added to it every birthday and Christmas. My oldest got to enjoy the benefits of 4 years of college at a state school and graduated with no debt. My youngest has a father who pillaged her college account to the tune of about $25,000-$30,000 in less than 6 months and now she struggles on a day-to-day basis trying to deal with the knowledge that a) her father ruined a future that she was guaranteed at birth and b), see a.
Back in August 2011, I had the option of changing my name as a part of the divorce and in my heart, I knew I wasn't ready to make that decision. I had had my married name longer than my maiden name and my kids had my same last name and I agonized and spoke to everyone I knew who had been through this and I ultimately decided I would keep the status quo and I could always go back and change it at some other time.
Fast forward to this past week when my lawyer forwarded to me correspondence that my ex had sent her...the most condescending load of crap I had the misfortune of reading and he closed his email with a derogatory comment about my parents, people who had helped us in our marriage and loved him as a son for 28 years and here he had the audacity to bad mouth them all while asking me for a "favor".
And it all became clear. The man who has stuck by me, loved me and even still to this day worries about me even though I am 50 years old has proven to me what the true character of a man is.
I'm changing my name back.