“Jenny!” called my Dad from the other room, “listen to yourself!” I sighed dramatically, about ready to throw my violin down. “I can’t!” I wailed. “Don’t you hear what you sound like?” he asked, a strained patience forced into his voice as he crossed into the room. I looked down, ashamed. A singer’s trained ear like my Dad’s would sooner identify the sounds issuing from my dainty little instrument as a disemboweled cat than Beethoven’s ninth symphony. He told me to keep practicing, and stood by, tapping the beat out on his leg, offering suggestions over the screeching sounds of “music.”
He was like that with just about everything. Sure, he expected me to do well at what I tried but he also helped me when I got stuck. Most importantly, he taught me never to quit—a characteristic I applied to my own relationship with him.
My Father is not the most loquacious fellow, in fact it takes a lot to get him talking. As a kid, I would ask him countless “what is your favorite ___” questions because I wanted to know him better. His answers didn’t give me a lot to go off of (“I don’t play favorites” was his usual response,) so instead I took to following him around the house boring him to death with stories about my day. “Hmm…” he would say, or “that’s interesting,” before flipping open his newspaper. I have to admit I was a little put out at first. True to the ideals he had taught me,though I kept at it. I changed my tactics and began asking him about his day. Vague answers wouldn’t do. I wanted to know why it was bad or what made it interesting. I moved on to questions about his childhood. Who was his first crush? Where did his family go for vacation? The key was asking the right questions. As the years passed we developed a special understanding with each other. Even if he doesn’t say it, I know that he loves me. From patiently helping me with physics homework to assisting with college forms, he shows that everyday.
From my experience, I believe that parents and children can be friends, but it takes a mutual effort from both parties. No matter how much he does for me, my Dad and I would not have the amiability we share now if I had given up on him in the beginning. It makes me sad to see friends who are merely indifferent to their house mates; they eat dinner together in silence, and then disappear into their room to do whatever it is they do in there anyway. I want to shake them and tell them that they can have so much more. With a little selflessness and a lot of love, children can forge lasting friendships with their parents. Friendships which are unconditional on success or popularity. Friendships which can last them the rest of their adult life as long as they never give up. This I believe.
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