Travels With Dad
—-This is a story of a complex relationship with my father, Al, who I came to love and understand after he was diagnosed with dementia.—-
The Welcomed End to Phase II
“Phase II” of my relationship with my father resulted in an unspoken “parting of the ways”. I couldn’t wait to graduate from high school, and be my own boss. Aside from his reactions to the trouble I got into, he was also very strict about minor things like not being able to walk barefoot in the summer, or receive phone calls after 9 pm. The dog also had rules. She was not allowed upstairs. We snuck her up anyway. She went up the stairs, stealth-like, knowing that she needed to be slick about it.
My friends didn’t understand such rules, which caused me to be embarrassed and resentful. He didn’t care. He was the boss, and there was no negotiating, ever! My friends liked him, though. Although they couldn’t understand why he was so strict, he was always nice to them, calling them “honey” and “honey bun”.
So, as the Fiore-Five left the house, 1 by 1, Al seemed to begin to enjoy life again, becoming unburdened by the exhausting job of raising children, teenagers. Our relationship at this time was sort of a silent one. I didn’t have a lot to do with the homestead. It was a whole new world.