Drawing the distinction to a mother who absolutely had to have allies in her “anti-man campaign”, proved very difficult for a young girl trying to decipher fact from fiction. An awareness of ‘other’ realities came from being exposed to friends with ‘whole’ families. Watching their authentic exchanges were evidence that my dad’s idiologies weren’t off base after all.
The relationship that my mother and father had was the typical case of young lovers outgrowing one another.
My mother had me when she was twenty one. At twenty one I was still trying to figure out who I was as a person, young woman and citizen to this world. Having alot of her historical information, the pieces began to make more sense having struggled to understand the decisions my mother made.
She lost her father at the age of sixteen and was attempting to escape a turmoil laddened homelife with a mother that she was previously estranged. The need to resist oppression was capsulized in human form…me.
The weight of her world fell on my shoulders repeatedly, and daddy with his home spun approach to most everything was a safe harbor. As a child I remember seeking the company of my father over my mother and she took it personally in most cases. The lessons dad taught his daughter while planting the field of everything determined to bear fruit,embedded in her forming fabric.
There was more substance in those daddy moments than the ever presence of the seeming surface interactions that she provided. At 17, enough was enough.
When their relationship finally unraveled the mere fact that I looked more like my father also was motive for contention. The negative energy moved a young girl to action. There would be nothing needed from anyone.
“Daddy has left…mom is here but vacant…brother is too young to understand. I will handle it alone.”
A job was obtained at the age of fourteen, so mom would not have to be burdened by my existence. Everything I needed, I bought. Mom would not have to worry about my needs. I needed her to focus on raising my brother. It was during this time that I learned how to cook.
Mom did her absolute best but having gone through all manners of attack, she was too tired to raise an inquisitive teenaged first born girl.
During the school year, sports and chorus became an escape from the family situation. There was deliberate peace in those moments. Dad taught his first born work ethic and it proved quite useful in this self induced survival mode. He also told of STDs and babies that would get in the way of ascension.
The objective was then to earn a scholarship to attend college so mom would not have to find the money she had spent on divorce lawyers to send me to school.
A full women’s basketball scholarship was awarded at the 11th hour to a NCAA Division I University in Maryland. There would be no student loans to pay off. There would be no stress and worry about where each tuition supplement would come from. Thank God. All that was needed was intense focus, discipline and a sacrifice of all personal desires…almost all.
Dad would briefly resurface here and there throughout the growth journey. With every encounter it felt like home.
He wooed his daughter with all of the memories he had of her growth. She saw him looking at the panaromic viewfinder within his eyes as he told the stories. She had flashbacks of the pictures taken to stir the memories she’d pushed to the back corners of her mind. There they would sit-laughing and VIBING. Ice cream and/or nature walks often served as the conduit. During these ‘glimpses’-dad in true form would load his eldest with all types of sensei wisdom. He offered viable solutions that were doable.
There is never any type of discouragement, never a negative, never any degradation. Within dad open arms are always found, he’s just never around.
“I will handle it alone” served its purpose. But now I am an adult, a helpmate would be most appreciated.