Occasionally, my dad will go hunting. He really likes venison – deer meat for those of you who are not hunters. I’m not a fan. Especially of venison jerky. YUCK! But dad really likes it. Since Kent couldn’t go this year, he decided that I needed to go. I’m not a vegetarian or anything, but I seriously am not fond of the idea of watching an animal die, but Mom convinced me I should go with him. Have some bonding time or something like that. So here we are sitting in this tree stand, waiting for a deer to show up. It’s stinking cold and my dad thinks that while we wait, we should have this deep conversation. I’m all for meaningful discussions, but not in the freezing cold, with the sun just coming up, in the middle of the creepy woods. Dad starts telling me about how his parents were really, really strict and how that shaped his parenting. I can’t imagine anyone stricter than my parents. I mean they wouldn’t even let me go to Europe with my best friend when I was INVITED! He tells me that one time his dad left and didn’t come back until months later. My dad said he was sure his dad wasn’t coming back. I’d never heard this before. His dad, my grandpa, died before I was born so I never knew him. Apparently he wasn’t the most stellar guy ever. Dad told me he and his sister weren’t sure if they wanted their dad to come back or to stay away. When he did come back, he was a little better than before. Anyway… The whole point of the story was that he hoped that I wasn’t counting down the days until I could move out like he and his sister were. He hoped that I knew that he and Mom loved me and wanted what was best for me.
After telling me the story, he was quiet. It was an awkward silence. Should I say something? Did he want me to say that no, I wasn’t counting down the day until I could move out. Fortunately, a deer saved me. She darted out of the woods and my dad was totally focused on that instead of my response to his story. It did make me see him in a whole different light. I never knew he had anything less than an idyllic childhood. It was crazy to me that his dad wasn’t a very nice guy. I couldn’t imagine a better guy than my dad. Sometimes he made me mad, but most of the time, I knew that he was doing what he thought was right. It made me realize how blessed I am to have parents who do love me, even though they drive me crazy sometimes!