Saturday, February 2nd, 2008

For me the summer I was eight seems to be a turning point in my life. It was when my family moved back to my dad's hometown. I spent the summer at my grandparents along my sister and brother. None of us had any friends but we made do. That summer I finally realized that my grandma was growing older. I made a promise to myself that I would whatever she asked me to if I was capable of doing it for her. So far I've kept that promise.

Now I've made another one, one for my dad this time. He's getting older as well. For the past few years I've almost lived in a state of fear while I was at school or away. I was expecting to be called down to the office to be told that something horrible had happened to him. It still happens now. I hate it that my family talks about it so openly. Even though I'm only fifteen my family already has my dad's possessions divided up. I watch as Dad just sits there and talks about it, his death.

I always try to remind him that he could have another thirty to forty years ahead of him but I don't think he believes me. I'm afraid to let him out of my sight because I'm afraid that he might collapse with no one there to help him. That's why I try to go with him when he asks if I want to go along somewhere.

The weather here isn't helping him. It's too harsh for him. I don't like him going out in the middle of winter by himself. Sometimes I have to remember that he can take care of himself. He did before I was born so why can't he now? I pray to God not to take him away for I still need him. I'm still growing and I hate to think of what life will be like when he's not around.

Though I think that he thinks I don't appreciate him. I snap at him a lot. I did tonight. I told him I could think for myself now and that I wasn't a little girl anymore but I'll always be his daughter. He frustrates me. When I try to talk to him about something important he jokes around. Than he makes me smile and I can't be mad at him anymore.

People have caused him so much pain. My mother and my sister are two of them. I pray that I won't be one of them. I want to be a daughter that he can be proud of. I think that's why I try so hard in school because I don't want to make him worry about me. I stay away from drugs and things like that so I don't cause him pain. I always call him to tell him where I'm at even though he probably doesn't wonder.

I love my dad but sometimes I feel like he doesn't know that. So I remind him. I hug him and give him a kiss on the cheek. When he's sitting on the couch watching TV I sit next to him and cuddle up to his side. I remember when I was little, we had this old gray rocking chair. It was Dad's chair. He would sit in it and then I would climb in his lap. When I was about seven I did that and guess what? I feel asleep with him rocking. I wish I could still do that sometimes but I can't. I'm no longer a little girl that needs to be picked up when she falls but I'm still that little girl that needs her father around for as long as possible.