Blames the one before
And all of their frustrations
Come beating on your door**
Fathers and daughters.
It is through a father’s eyes a young girl first believes she is a princess, she is beautiful, and she is capable of anything her unbound mind can imagine.
In her return gaze, without the words to express it, she sees him as warrior-provider, hero-protector, and first love. Some would suggest it is in her father that a daughter will construct her first impressions of God.
What a powerful relationship…what opportunity…what potential danger.
To all my father held so dear
I know that I’m a hostage
To all his hopes and fears
I just wish I could have told him in the living years
Because, understandably, parents want the “best” for their children, they teach and challenge and encourage them. They provide opportunity through education, the arts, athletics, and in a best-case scenario, there’s balance.
Along the way, these babies grow and mature, each day and month and year marking an increase in independence, sometimes quite noticeable–the emphatic exclamation of a three-year-old, “I.do.it.MYSELF!”–other times imperceptible–the subtlety of a 14-year-old wearing lip gloss, but no longer just to balm chapped lips.
Filled with imperfect thought
I’m afraid that’s all we’ve got
I had several moments of “childhood interrupted,” events that would alter and determine, at least in part, who I would eventually become: the divorce of my parents, which many sources would tell you is blighting to a child, but for me, strangely, wasn’t a horrible thing (we continued to see my father every day and at least my parents’ arguing was silenced); most likely that was over-shadowed by the truly devastating death of my mother when I was nine, and my paternal grandmother’s death the following year (with whom we were very close).
These things facilitated an accelerated maturity for me and my siblings, and we learned to cope with adult fare at an early age. I’m convinced that is a skill learned early in life which has served me well, and although certainly I would rather my mother have lived, I’m thankful for this tiny piece of seen redemption from such a great loss.
When I celebrated my 39th birthday, I realized I had out-lived my mother. When each of my three children reached their third grade year in school, I was thankful, and to some degree, relieved, at its completion; not so much for my own life and health, but that they still had their mom. It is not “normal” to not have a mom when you’re a kid; to this day, I never presume any child I meet has both parents living… residual wake with no apparent ending, I suppose.
You say you just don’t see it
He says it’s perfect sense
You just can’t get agreement
In this present tense
We all talk a different language
Talking in defense
The way I viewed my father changed often throughout my life; I think he was more consistent in how he saw me. He always thought I was smart and beautiful and could accomplish just about anything I set my mind to; he was always proud of me and he found ways to express his love, sometimes verbally, more often not.
That being said, it was far from a “perfect” father-daughter relationship, and in my young adult years, I found fault with him. There was never a real friendship, he wasn’t the adviser from whom I sought counsel, he rarely shared my confidences…we never allowed each other in to our private worlds. He didn’t know how to express his; I wasn’t willing to share mine.
It was loss for both of us.
Say it loud, say it clear
You can listen as well as you hear
It’s too late when we die
To admit we don’t see eye to eye
There’s a certain beauty in all this, though, learned at great cost to him and to me. A lasting impression–adult interrupted?–that will, once again, shape who I will become, especially as a parent myself.
…thoughts to be continued….