Ms. Ava was struggling a bit when I called.
“I spoke to my brother,” she said, “and my father is in town. It’s Father’s Day, and I need to go to dinner there at 2:30.”
“What’s the challenge?” I asked.
“I don’t know what to say to my father. I mean, I want to talk about the changes in my life, but I don’t want to make it a big thing.”
“What does your father know?”
“We spoke at Christmas. He told me that I had to do what makes me happy.”
“That’s not an unreasonable thing for a parent to say,” I agreed.
“But what do I say today?”
“It’s so easy for us to show the challenges we face, and when we do, our family often wants to tell us that if our path is too painful, maybe we shouldn’t follow it. You know, like ‘Doctor, Doctor, it hurts when I do this!’ ‘Well, don’t do that!
“Maybe you should tell him what you are doing that makes you happy. Maybe that’s a good place to start,” I suggested.
“That makes sense!” Ava said. ” And maybe it would be good for me to remember what makes me happy too.”
My parents always wanted me to be happy. The problem is that they didn’t want to be confused and challenged by me, wanted to be comfortable. My mother wanted everything to be about her, and my father wanted to be able to understand things, and me acting from emotion was hard to get with Aspergers.
They are gone now, moved on to another plane, whatever that is. They don’t need the kind of attention and caring I gave them for my whole life.
But I suspect that, wherever they are, they still want me to be happy.
On this Father’s Day, i know that’s what my late father would want.
Follow my bliss, and let the family see me get clear, even if the work is hard and ambivalent.
Because in the end, you have to do what makes you happy.