Storytelling: That thing about my father

I say I want to be a storyteller. Yet I don't always like telling my own. I'm inquisitive. More of an interviewer. Asking questions, delving deeper, fascinated by what I learn. it's not because I'm nosy but really I just like being in the know. Some stories I keep close to me because they are highly personal or I've been sworn to secrecy. Others need to be shared because they are full of teachable moments, inspiration, motivation. However I know that the best storytellers start with their own. So here is small piece of mine.

Cairns, Australia (personal photo)

Cairns, Australia (personal photo)

My parents were together until I was 14 or so. It was not a healthy relationship and I shed no tears when they parted. My mother married my stepfather the summer I left for college and he became the father figure for my sisters and I. I would love to say the adjustment was seamless but honestly I know I threw some curve balls and laid down some challenges. After all he was coming into our space, our family structure. I liked him but still he needed to pass some tests first! But that's not the focus of this story. Merely a footnote for perspective. 

My biological father was an asshole. I rarely speak of him in even my closest circles because for many years he didn't matter. At 42 I can't say that sentiment has changed much but we are finally at the point where I will accept his calls on my birthday and at Christmas and in turn I pay him the same courtesy on his birthday.  For years we lived within a reachable distance of each other yet we might as well have been on two different continents. A few years ago he moved back west to be closer to my older siblings, a brother and 3 sisters with whom I also don't have a relationship. It was a good move for my father because my older siblings have a very different view of him and have that natural father-child bond. My younger sisters and I thought about taking a surprise trip out to see him a couple of years ago but for whatever reason we never moved beyond the thought phase. 2 or 3 months ago two of my older siblings sent me and my sisters Facebook requests after calling my mother expressing the need to connect because we are biologically family. It took me a while to accept even though Facebook is my least utilized form of social media. I hold no ill feelings towards any of them yet I also wasn't propelled by that same sense of ancestry. 2 weeks ago while randomly scrolling through my timeline I learned that my father had suffered a heart attack just days prior. He survived and was recovering in the hospital. I checked my private messages to see if one of my older siblings had tried to make contact with the news yet found the folder was empty. . . kinda symbolic because I felt nothing of learning this news. I think a "wow" may have escaped my lips but no additional feels were felt. I told my younger sisters and they had much the same reaction. Outside of asking about the timing of the incident no other inquiries were posed. 

A week later I called my father for his birthday per standard procedure. I feigned surprised to learn the news about his health. I asked about his recovery. He said he has a long road ahead of him and was thankful to still be alive. I wished him well and told him to take care of himself. At the 5 minute mark we said good-bye. We'll speak again in December.