Because it's Father's Day
It's Monday where I am, but still Sunday in Hawaii, and therefor still a national holiday, so please bear with me. After looking at so many photos from others online today, in the closing hours of Father's Day, I searched but found I have only 3 good pictures of my father. The first (below) is from a time before I was born. The second is from a crazy, emotionally draining summer. And the third is from when he was so old and we were so estranged, we barely knew each other. So taking a cue from the song by The Script I posted on facebook earlier, and from MJ and BN... I wonder what my dad would see if he could take a look at me now.
My mom left her marriage when I was five and took my brother and me with her. I grew up in her house, not my father's. He was the fun dad. The summer dad. The one who showed up with a girlfriend or a new wife and a new set of step-kids, and took my brother and I away to give my mom a break. He was the father I never saw during the school year, or shared any birthdays or holidays. The father I told my 5th grade school friends was dead. (I got busted when one of them saw him pick us up next summer.) Maybe I thought of him as dead, but when I was the one in the hospital and near death at 21, having not seen him for seven years, he showed up at my bedside (with yet another wife) and told me, "If you eat, you get out of here." So eat, I did. Slowly but surely, I got out of the hospital, but once my recovery was certain, he disappeared, alienating me once again.
Though once daddy's little girl, years later, it didn't stop him from saying some horrific things to me which still bring tears to my eyes. I learned my dad cut me out because he was hurt after my parents' divorce. You see, he initially thought I wasn't his child. (Sorry to air that Mom, but we know the Truth.) My mom said he could charm the skin off the snake. He lied to me. He manipulated me. I felt I had to be the good daughter and help him when he needed it, but I did not like him. When I learned of his death, I cried for the father I didn't have, not for the one I had.
What would he say if he could see me now? I've grown from the child into a woman. I've traveled the world and gone on wonderful adventures I'm sure he would've loved. I've made countless friends and, knowing nothing but change, had many lovers. (I guess that apple didn't fall too far from the tree!) I've lived as fearlessly as I could, and am independent to a fault. Apparently, I have my father's no-nonsense approach and my family tells me, "You're just like him!"
I'm not angry anymore. And though I once was, I'm no longer resentful of the relationships he had with my siblings and nieces. You see, we can only work with the tools that are given us. We can either live by the sword or die by the sword.... Change tools, learn new skills, and build the future you wish to have. It's never too late to learn love and forgiveness.
When one day I'm blessed to have a family of my own I will take these lessons to heart and raise my children to know the greatest bond we can share is with each other. Though they will never know my father, I pray that the man who is theirs will love them, unconditionally, and nurture a lifelong relationship with them. Together, we can transmute the old Karma and begin anew, with smiles, with laughter, and with Love. And then, may Ed Kennedy smile down upon us and repeat, "I told you, I didn't raise no dummies."
Happy Father's Day, Dad. We'll give each other a great big old pat on the back when we see each other the next time. Don't flirt with any lady ghosts, ok?
Peace and Love.
À tout à l'heure...