Sunday, August 7, 2011

On Envying Tatum (the short version)

I’m a little jealous of Tatum O’neal. She has this golden opportunity to try and get it right with her father. It’s impossible to tell how much is for the camera, her new book, their careers and how much is truly authentic. But the audience knows Ryan and Tatum have had a troubled past and now they are together talking. Maybe they are understanding one another, listening to each others' stories, hearing each others' pain. I sense that from them when I watch them dance a very complicated ungraceful father-daughter waltz.

My dad and I never really talked. So, I try to tell my students, my friends, whomever, to forgive and understand that their parents (loved ones) are doing the best they can. I try to tell my story as a way to get people to see that in an instance all those opportunities can morph into regret. Forgive. You may never understand.

I remember sitting at dinner or lunch with my dad, just sitting. Trying desperately to make conversation, yet few words would pass between us. It was challenging to come home from college and make a lunch date with him. We went to O’Charley’s or Ruby Tuesday and ate and said a few words and he took me back home. So much was left unsaid and unheard.

I think maybe he let himself leave this earth so early because he had reached an important apex in life. Much like that episode of Seinfeld, where George Costanza says, “I knew I had hit my high note so I thanked the crowd and I was gone.”

Yet, beautiful blond Tatum who is writing a book for the world to hear her story has this opportunity to understand her father, for him to see her and to build a relationship with him. Ryan hasn’t quite hit his high note. He’s sarcastic. He’s still here.

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