It’s no secret that over that past couple of years, my Dad and I have had our differences. But this summer, we put our differences aside and since then we have communicated better than we have our entires lives. In fact I’ve been enjoying my Dad’s company more than ever before, we’ve even taken ourselves to brunch and bookstore perusing, something that we’ve never done before that point. I’ve been the happiest I’ve been in a long time.
My therapist urged me to really listen to my Parents, without judgement, just curiosity. And since I’ve been practicing this, I’ve learned a lot about my Mom and Dad. I’m really grateful for that. When my Dad and I went to brunch, he mentioned some old rifles several times. I was only able to catch pieces of the stories he was telling me because I was trying not to be too obvious, but I could tell these were things that he cared very deeply about.
My Dad inherited two special rifle from two different family members, his Grandfather, and his Uncle. They each have really amazing, unique stories that I will blog about, in time. My Dad took these guns to his Mom’s, when we briefly lived inside the Chico City limits. My Parents were afraid of getting robbed, so my Dad took his guns and put them under his Mother’s bed for safe keeping until we got a gun safe. When my Grandma died, my Aunt ended up caring for these guns for my Dad. Once I figure this out, I wrote my Aunt a letter explaining how much these guns meant to my Dad, and how much work I’ve been doing researching our families’ history, the scholarship, and how I was planning a special Christmas surprise for my Dad – to get his guns back into his care.
My Aunt graciously agreed that my Dad did need his guns back. I was able to pick them up on my lunch break, have them cleaned and wrapped before it was time to go home! I’m not sure if my Aunt realized what a gift she gave me (when my stoic, cowboy of a Dad opened his gift, he hugged me. The last time that happened was in May of 2004, when I graduated college). This side of the family has been, well, rather tumultuous, so this was a wonderful peace token and Christmas surprise.
I really planned on waiting until Christmas to give this gift to my Dad, but I was too excited! I spent the day crying off and on in my office because I was so touched that my Dad was going to have an meaningful surprise. We had our office Christmas party the same day, but I was so excited I couldn’t enjoy it! I was too focused on going home to surprise my Dad!
It was worth it. He had no idea what was going on. I’m pretty sure I had upset him earlier in the day because I called him after I picked his rifles up, I was so excited for him I was sobbing (remember I cry when I am really excited, happy, mad, sad, etc). After I dialed the phone, I could not think of a good reason to call him except I was excited (but I couldn’t tell HIM that), so I told him I loved him and thanked him for being my Daddy, needless to say, that is just slightly out of character for me, so I think I made him a whisper nervous.
The look on his face as he opened his gift was priceless to me. He immediately launched into stories about each rifle. One he restored himself in high school shop class (could you imagine trying to do that today!?!?), the other was manufactured on his birthday (about 60 year’s before his birth, hence the reason he was given that particular rifle). He was just thrilled. I couldn’t remember the last time I saw him so touched.
I asked him if we could sit down over the next few days and really talk about these rifles, as I want to write his stories down for this blog. Both of these rifles have stories that I think need to be shared and I think you guys would enjoy, I know I have been.
Merry Christmas Beef Jar Readers! Go spend some time with your Parents and learn something about them!!