Today, I had supervision during practicum. I rarely write in the moment, but I’ve found myself reflecting on this quite a bit, long after the conversation concluded.
It was technically supervision, but today, it was just life we talked about. Life in the moment.
“Christine, I hope that if I’m ever in your father’s shoes, one of my kids will be what you’ve been for your father.”
It stopped me. Frankly, I never expected such an honest and vulnerable admission. Yet, it wasn’t something new I have heard.
“It’s not about deserving, you know”
He asked me to explain. I did.
I spoke about how we as people are constantly giving worth and taking it away throughout various situations and with people throughout life – those that cross our paths and those that don’t. It’s almost like we have this innate, annoying tendency to measure who is worthy and who is not. Who deserves what and who does not.
I further explained that my father was never perfect.
“Show me a man that claims he is and I will show you a liar”, he responded.
I told him we recently cracked his safe. I found those power of attorney papers, the living will, and the healthcare proxy forms.
I told him about his living will.
“He wants to come home. No matter what…he wants to come home.”
I wondered aloud in his office. I wondered if it was about reciprocity.
Do we do what we can with where we are and what we know?
Or perhaps it’s all about learning what we value and standing up for those values?
I’ve heard “You’re a blessing to your father”, “You’re father is lucky to have you”…etc.
I’ll be the first to acknowledge, I’ve been a pain in his ass.
He has also been a pain in my ass.
We butted heads while I was growing up. We wanted different things for me. I challenged his beliefs and he challenged mine. He later changed his beliefs and I challenged him on knowing what he stood for. Throughout my 20’s and early 30’s, we have had many thought provoking and emotionally-charged conversations. For a guy that doesn’t like to make himself emotionally vulnerable, I knew what this meant for him.
And I do know, that he’s always tried to meet me where I was and I’ve always tried to meet him where he was.
Can we do that for our children?
Can we do that for our parents?
It’s not always easy. I’ll give anyone that. And I get why.
I too have wondered what if I was in his shoes. Would they advocate for me? Would they fight for me? Would they lose patience with me? Would they take it personal? Would they grieve for what they lost, but carry on with what they have? Would they push me? Would they wonder if they made the right decisions? Would they find gratitude? Would they get what they needed when they needed it?
Or maybe this is about him realizing that he can be imperfect and still be loved and worthy?
I’ll never forget the day the neurosurgeon said to me, “If you’re father is the kind of person that is only happy living a perfect life, now is the time to say goodbye”.
Maybe it’s about me not being ready to say goodbye…
Maybe it’s about grace…
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