Dad and I when I was about sixteen
Tom bought a small box of See's Candy before he went off for the weekend with our young son. The one thing I missed the most when I lived in NYC was See's candy. I have eaten some of the finest chocolate in the world--my Mom was a bit of a chocaholic. But nothing ever tasted as good as See's Candy.
All weekend I picked through the box. As my 16-year-old ignored me, angered me, frustrated me, I ate. And it did make me feel a wee bit better.
"Life is like a box of chocolate," is the famous line from Forrest Gump. My dear friend, Wendy produced that film about twenty years ago. I remember watching her accept her academy award as I sat in a small diner in San Anselmo, California. I cried tears of joy for my tenacious friend. An Academy Award had alluded my Dad even though he used to tease that he had an acceptance speech all prepared...just in case.
As I sat, binging on chocolate this weekend, I thought about my father, my friend and a time long ago when I was 16. I wondered if I drove my parent's insane.
I remember once wanting to go to a party in Topanga Canyon with the cutest surfer guy. My father said no. He never said no. I was at a complete loss. I remember coming at him hard, "You never have time for me and my friends. And now you won't let me have any fun!" He really always had time for me. It was just that he was sick and he didn't have the energy he had once had. To this day I regret saying this to him. I hit him where it hurts. I was mean and acted like a spoiled brat. Of course now I see he was completely right. I shouldn't be allowed to go to some random party in the canyon where creepy things had happened in the '70s. But that surfer guy was just so darn cute! Some other lucky girl was going to get to go with dream boat. Funny thing is I can't even remember his name.
Kyle came into my room yesterday afternoon and looked at me. He had tears in his eyes. "We used to be so close Mom. What happened?"
"We used to be close," implied that we are not close anymore. I stared at him unable to speak. I looked for my chocolate. It was in the other room. Was he being sincere or melodramatic? Did he really mean we fight so much now and we never fought before? Did he choose these potent words on purpose?
It's my job to say No. And if that means are relationship suffers in the short term, so be it! Is this how my Dad felt that summer of 1974? I wish I could wrap my arms around him and tell him I'm sorry. Instead all I can do is what he would want me to do, keep Kyle safe and get a good laugh out of life. I might even buy myself another box of chocolate.