Yesterday, I called my dad to wish him a happy Father’s Day.
My father and I don’t talk very often. It isn’t that we try to avoid each other, or don’t want to keep in touch; it’s simply that we don’t enjoy talking on the phone and generally have little to say at one time. Whereas I can talk to my mom three days a week and still end up an hour a phone call, I can call my dad once every six months and be done in that same sixty minutes.
While we were on the phone, talking about some exciting and nerve-wracking future plans for the family (issues that have been keeping me high-strung since my uncle passed away), I brought up my work as a writer. My dad knows I write for a living, and even knows what I write about, so this initially came as no surprise to him. However, this time I went into depth with what I do: not only how much I make per month on average, but how I manage several clients, and how I do everything on my own, from research and writing, to connecting with important people in the video gaming industry, interviewing, advertising, marketing, etc. – explaining how much of a one-man business I really was.
My dad was amazed. He thought I made a tenth of what I do (which I did – a year ago), and had no idea not only what my writing job entailed, but how much I had done in a year, how many industry contacts I had, that I as an individual writer had such a name for myself that I would have game companies contacting me to establish press connections. And then he did something that took me by surprise.
He told me he was proud of me.
I kept all of the joy inside from the moment, and used it to patch up the homesick feeling I’ve recently had. You see, some of you may be thinking, “But parents are always proud of their kids,” and that’s not always true, though I think most loving parents are.
Here’s the thing: every since I was little, I strove to make my dad proud of me. I was daddy’s little girl, and I wanted to do everything he did. He was an artist: a painter, a crafter, a drawer, skilled with every medium I ever saw him touch. I worked hard at drawing especially and brought all my work to him, only to hear things like “Not bad, maybe one day you’ll be as good as me.”
He also broke my heart when he stopped following his artistic path and went down the line of “money equals happiness.” He was the one who told me that artists couldn’t make a living, and that you had to get a “real job” to pay bills and buy the things you wanted that would make you happy. When I expressed my early interest at being a writer, I was highly discouraged because it wouldn’t be a job that would pay the bills – I had to look for something more practical.
And there it was: my dad was finally proud of me for my creative efforts, efforts that he thought a person couldn’t make a living off of. He was proud of me for being a writer.
I don’t know about him, but this daughter couldn’t have had a better Father’s Day.