Habits are hard to break - we all know this.
Habits are hard to start too - some of them - the ones that start off with "I should..."
I should call my Dad more often. Unfortunately, it's so easy for me to get caught up in the depression that is my own life and not want to "burden" him with all the trivial annoyances that piss me off on a regular basis.
I should work on getting my house spotlessly clean except for the carpet because I can't replace that until the cats die, and the cats are remarkably healthy for being about 12 years old.
I should learn to control my anger, to stop hurting my own insides with the rage that fills me when confronted by things like idiots, fools, religious twitheads and GWB's photo. I can literally FEEL my bloodpressure rise, my brain bruising, my arteries screaming.
Sometimes, though, the habit comes easier. Sometimes it grows from a single event. Last spring my Mom died. As I sat beside her hospital bed, listening to those quick, raspy breaths, trying to be strong and not fall apart, it was too late to say "I love you, Mom" and know for a fact that she heard it. It was too late to KNOW that she knew.
I made a vow to myself that day - that I'd never let my Dad off the phone again without telling him how much I love him. This isn't easy, you know. Ours is not a family of huggy-touchy-feely - we're stoic German stock and keep those emotions firmly in check except when we're pissed off or hanging wallpaper.
The first couple times I did it, it felt so unnatural and weird. And I could tell that Dad was uncomfortable, because he'd just say "Uh huh" and hang up. Didn't matter. This wasn't about comfort zones - this was and is about needing to know for a FACT that he knows I love him, and that he KNOWS and HEARS it. I love you, Dad.
I called him yesterday afternoon for Father's Day. And not for the first time, but for the most clear and coherent time, he said "I love you too!"
Happy Fathers Day, Dad. I love you very much!