Father Dearest

My parents came to town this weekend to pick up my sister Kate, who had, as she described it, the best week of her life staying here.  I’m not sure she did anything extraordinary even, so if just living with college students for a week is that enthralling, she’s going to have one hell of a time this fall being on campus.


She and I got to go out for some one-on-one time late last week, which I much appreciated.  Kate and I have always been close, especially in contrast to the rest of my siblings, so I love any time I can get with her.  Apparently my dad’s been putting a lot of pressure on her regarding her college major, which is futile if you ask me.  The average college freshman changes majors so many times I’m sure she’ll end up doing something drastically different than what she plans to now.


Kate’s always been very artistic.  She can draw, paint, sculpt, sing, you name it.  She’s undoubtedly extremely talented.  I still remember sitting at the dinner table the night she told my parents she wanted to be an artist.  I was a high school senior, ready to leave home, she a high school freshman.  She’d started taking her artwork very seriously in high school, considering it more than just a hobby, even selling her pieces in local galleries.  My dad literally laughed at her when she proclaimed art as her ideal career path (she’d seen a guidance counselor that day to help her plan out her coursework for sophomore year).  “You can’t be serious?” my dad had asked her.


My mom, always the peacekeeper, had tried to placate him, rightfully pointing out my sister was very young, and simply exploring her passion.  However, that wasn’t logical enough for my father.  I remember him flying into a rage, albeit well intended, urging Kate to be more practical, to think of her future and what being an artist actually meant in terms of earning potential, career stability, etc. 


Kate had only fueled his fire, yelling that he never supported her, that everyone needed to walk to the beat of his drum.  To her credit, she’s absolutely right, that is exactly the kind of person our father is.  However, you’re never going to win an argument with him getting as heated as he does.  Fast forward through an intense screaming match, with my mom and I trying to interject(unsuccessfully). I remember this like it was yesterday, though it was three years ago.  The two of them became perfectly silent.  My dad stood up from the table and said calmly “I didn’t try hard enough with the two of you” and walked away. Ouch.


I can imagine things didn’t get much better between my sister and dad after I moved out, as I often served as a buffer between them.  I’m sure their tension contributes, at least in part, to her desperation for wanting to leave home. Hang in there Kate, just a few more weeks.

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