My Dad died on May 19, 2019. I was fortunate, I was able to sit with my Dad for the last few days. He was mostly not conscious, AND I believe he heard everything I said to him. Like many of my generation and my Dad’s, we had a complicated relationship. AND viewed through the Love or Like question above, it was a paradox. You see, for most of my life, my Dad and I really didn’t much like each other. Sure, there were moments, particularly when I was younger, where we liked each other plenty. But, as I evolved from adolescences to adulthood, those moments became quite rare.
Like is a pretty simple proposition. I like hamburgers more than I like hot dogs. I like Mondays more than I like Fridays. I like Mary Ann more than I like Ginger (Gilligan’s Island ALERT!). You see, if presented with the less liked choice, I’d simply pivot and be just fine.
One of the many distinguishing features between good parents and less good parents lies within the like – love equation. To me, childrens’ job is to test their parents (I was world class!) And, often these tests can be subtle. But, make no mistake, they are to be found everywhere. Even JDT (in all her conflict avoiding glory) tells stories of testing her Dad (boy do I miss Tom!). Maybe she’ll share those stories with you sometime, they are priceless. I believe Tom’s words to a young Joyce were something like, I don’t care if you like me, I only care if you respect me. I believe, if Tom were alive today, he and I would agree that love and respect are interchangeable in this context. I learned many things from my relationship with Tom. This was chief among them and one I customized for my own use with Niels and Blair. My version? “I may not always like you, I will always love you!!”
Make no mistake, I know where I fall on the question posed above.
I love you Dad, ALWAYS will!!