I didn't know my Dad for most of my life, and for the time that I did know him, I didn't like him. But three years ago I mustered up all of the courage and strength within me to go visit him for the first time in my adult life. I finally wanted to know who my dad was.
Sitting at his dining room table, I thumbed through photo albums he'd put together of childhood photos I hadn't seen in years. I looked with curiosity at the way he decorated his house, the things he had on his shelves, and mostly at his face. I found myself trying not to stare at him but I couldn't help it. I didn't realize his eyes were blue. I didn't know about the creases in his skin or the way his lips were shaped when he'd laugh. I carefully made jokes, not sure of his sense of humor. We went to a Mexican restaurant and I sat across the table from him and drank a margarita.
It was surreal.
I took this portrait of him last summer when he drove to Colorado on his motorcycle for a quick visit. After taking the picture I found myself staring at it for long periods of time. I still stare at it, amazed that this is my dad and amazed that I spent most of my life not knowing him. As much as I didn't want to accept it for a long time, I can finally acknowledge that I am my father's child. Looking at him now I realize we share similar features and similar interests.
Happy Fathers Day to my dad, David. I am so happy I chose to understand you, get to know you, and have you in my life.