Sunday, June 21, 2009

On Father's Day :: A letter to my daughter

My first wife and I had used the rhythm method of birth control for many years. I won't bore you with the details, but suffice it to say it's based on knowing the few-to-several days that a woman is ovulating - fertile. So, the method can also be very useful when a couple is trying very hard to get pregnant. In that seventh year of our marriage, it was based on the timing of college graduation and getting a job afterwards.

It was most definitely a planned pregnancy. Frequent attempts during ovulation, morning, noon and night. My work was close by, so I drove home from work each day at lunch to do my duty. After several months of this, I was spent. Our timing window was closing, so we eventually gave up. The month after that, it happened. That's the way of the universe.

We chose the option where it was like a suite in the hospital - the feeling of giving birth at home - except that the actual birth was in the delivery room. Her mom had to stay in recovery for several hours, so after they had cleaned up the little boo (I still call her Boo) and counted her fingers and toes, they brought her to me in our suite. I sat in a rocking chair and held her in my arms, looking down at this little miracle her mom and I had created - plan or no plan. As I recall, I held her in my arms for three or four hours, with nurses coming in to check on us.

The bond between parent and child is a strong one. It's a love that cannot be described, cannot be explained, cannot be analyzed. It's not meant to be. It's meant to just exist. It is the kind where you would throw yourself in front of a speeding, million ton diesel locomotive to push your child to safety. Is the kind where you would give your own heart for a transplant, without a moment's hesitation. To say you would give your life for your child doesn't even touch the surface. If it meant a better life for my child, if it ensured her happiness, I would take in all the pain and suffering in the entire world. I would take it into myself and make it go away. That is the bond. That is the love.

Leaving her mom was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. But that is another story. Boo was six when I asked her mom for a divorce. I remember sitting on the edge of the bed, looking her mom in the eye, and telling her I didn't love her any more. We had been together seventeen years. My biggest fears were the potential negative outcomes of divorce. That her mom might try to poison my own daughter against me. That she might use this beautiful child as a weapon in our divorce and ensuing years. Fears that her relationships with men in her adult life could be effected. Other fears, mostly unfounded. A few years ago, we talked for the first time about that period - the divorce and her memories. The thing that stuck is that she said she remembered me never being around. That was, and is still, painful for me.

Fast forward to today. Her adult life is here, now. She'll be 21 in October. "Legal". I could say she's a good kid buy I would be lying. She's a great kid, a wonderful daughter. Intelligent, beautiful, sweet, nice, thoughtful, passionate, open-minded, funny, and so-far-so-good, liberal. She's well on her way in this crazy world - which I worry about. What does the future hold for my boo? All I can do at this point is hope for the best and be there for her when she needs me.

We're close physically, finally living in the same city, but I wish we were closer emotionally. I wish she would come to me with her problems and her worries, if there are any. Perhaps, in time, this will come to pass.

Sugarpiehoneybunch and I were at a Midsummer's Eve celebration last night - to celebrate the dawn of the summer solstice with dear friends - old and new. To celebrate the marriage of the earth and the sky. To celebrate love and light and goodness. To pray for abundance and bounty on the earth. To ponder spirit and soul and ego. To think of Stonehenge, the Temple of the Sun, and their perfect alignment with the track of the sun on its zenith. To question it all, to seek to understand it all. For a moment, to wonder at the meaning of this life, on this planet.

I didn't write my fantasy on a piece of paper to be read and burned in the fire as the others did. Fantasy, wish, hope, offering, sacrifice - whatever it was to be - I couldn't come up with anything. As I stared into the firelight, listening to the troubadours play, making music with guitar and flute and cool breeze and sky and fire, it came to me. My wish is for my daughter.

My wish is for my daughter to always be happy. To play and laugh and enjoy good times. To always have a roof over her head and a warm bed to sleep in and dream sweet dreams in. Delicious food, pure water, libation in moderation. To always remain safe and out of harm's way. To be blessed with good health, and the drive to maintain a healthy lifestyle. To listen to her heart. To stay true to her heart. To be blessed with confidence and self-assuredness, but never arrogance or ego. To do what she loves for a livelihood - the money will follow. For all her friendships and relationships to be filled with joy and respect. For the men in her life to care for her as I do. For the loves in her life to always respect and honor and cherish her heart and mind and soul. Absent jealousy and heartache. For her heart to never be broken. Or if it is, for her to grow and learn from it, come out of it with a stronger heart and soul - a stronger woman. Forever, to thine own self be true.

This is my wish on this Father's Day, on this Summer 's Solstice, for my daughter.

I love you boo.


Anonymous said...

thanks for sharing that, Alex... it's supposed to be YOUR day but, like you said... you'd die for your daughter, it turned out to be HER DAY all over again.

i've pretty much learned from you that EVERYDAY is Father's Day and has been for quite some time.

no worries about you guys getting closer emotionally... from my perspective i can only say, "ain't ever gonna happen" because that's what her girlfriends, boyfriends and husband will be for.

BUT, i can say this... as long as you continue to provide a SAFE place for her to share with you who she is and who she's still learning to be, she'll share SOME THINGS (sometimes the rest is TMI anyway, right?).

it's a nice journey you've been on for 21 years, huh?


Elizabeth said...

O.K. Alex,
Do you and K specialize in making people cry??
Cause if you do you are really good at it.
Happy Father's Day.

Alex said...

Thanks Darlene...yes, my journey as a father has been a very good one...(my reply to you in fb later...traveling)...

Hi Miss E! Hola to you and shoulda seen me bawling when I was writing it (sitting in bed this morning) ...missed you guys here...going out to dance a bit tonight...finally...

Anonymous said...

Happy Papi day!