“There’s something like a line of gold thread running through a man’s words when he talks to his daughter, and gradually over the years it gets to be long enough for you to pick up in your hands and weave into a cloth that feels like love itself.” ~John Gregory Brown
I remember the day I found out my father was no longer flawless… it was devastating. My world came crashing down. It was a cruel and dark day. I was 11 or 12 yrs old at the time. Without going into details as to what happened on that early spring day – I will tell you that it changed me forever. That is the day I lost my innocence… All that I had believed to be my life was shattered into a million pieces and reality set in. For next several years, I struggled with my father, taking on a much different role than that of what I was supposed to be. I grew up far too fast. The emotional damage was done. It was irrevocable. The man I had idealized was no longer. He was a mere mortal. Imperfect. Frail. Dead. That fateful day was the day my tall, powerful, strong, immortal demi-god died.
I will never forget that day until the day I die.
“Fathers can seem powerful and overwhelming to their daughters. Let her see your soft side. Express your feelings and reactions. Tell her where you came from and how you got there. Let her see that you have had fears, failures, anxious times, hurts, just like hers, even though you may look flawless to her.” ~ Stella Chess
My relationship with my father was turbulent at best after that day. I fought him with everything I had emotionally. I ached for the days when I didn’t know what I knew. I longed to be able to look at him with adoration instead of anger, sadness and at times, hatred. And yet… he was my dad and couldn’t help but love him. I just wouldn’t let him know that. I protected him and fought him in the same breath. I went to war with him when asserting my independence and choosing my own paths and mates. I did it at a young age… long before I had too. I walked away for months, if not years, at a time so as to protect my heart from him, from what I had come to know. My father was less than perfect. I knew that and I resented that… that was until I found myself in a situation where I had to make a most difficult decision – one that I never wish upon anyone. It took me a few more years to come to an understanding within, regarding my father.
“If Daddy must be dethroned for daughter to begin to accept him as merely mortal, so, too, must a father give up the idea that his daughter will forever be his worshipping little girl—a process that can be peaceful or, more often than not, turbulent.” ~ Victoria Secunda
I had to stop looking at him as ‘my father,’ instead, start looking at him as a mere man, mortal… human like me. I had made mistakes, learned hard lessons… faced with realities that he too was human. Some thing I hadn’t even considered up until this point. Finally, I was at a place in my life where I could soften my stance… and let him back in, armed with the knowledge that he is HUMAN… not just my father. Things were different now. I can never get back that innocence… the idea that I created for my father in my childhood, that girlhood adoration had disappeared decades ago. But I am now faced with the knowledge that he is MORTAL and life has been hard on him. I got there only after looking at myself in the mirror long enough to see my father as a man. And now, the clock is ticking and within it, aching for the promises of tomorrow, armed with the knowledge of today. There can’t be any regrets.
“It doesn’t matter who my father was; it matters who I remember he was” ~ Anne Sexton
Forgiveness is powerful… memories are soften but never forgotten. And so I am now embarking on a new journey with my father as he packs himself up to move in with me. He is crossing the country to spend whatever he has left to share it with me. He knows he has the freedom to go back should he choose too… but in my heart of hearts, I know he won’t. Because no matter how much we fought one another… we have a bond. I am his first daughter. I am the last thing my mother left behind… full of spunk and fire… full of ideas and treasures. Perhaps the best part of him… living the life he had always wanted to live. The admiration is mutual… for we are both naked in our mortality. Fully aware of each others faults and imperfections – weary from the battle and seeking sanctuary… a different necessity at the end of the day. The decrepit years are behind us… I am excited and anxious to meet my father… the man that he truly is. Not ‘my father’ but the man behind the title. To learn of his heritage… my bloodline. To create a legacy… to change the outcome. To leave our lives behind and watch the stars go out… because that’s all we have now. It won’t be a walk in the park… but it is welcomed and necessary. And so next week my father will arrive.
It’s hard to imagine that I could possibly be excited about having my Dad as a roommate… but I am. And whatever time we have together, they might be simple times… but they will be the best ones we will have.