Thursday, February 25, 2010

Sometimes I wonder....

.... what it would have been like to be one of those kids whose parents doted on them. That kind of parent that was at every event and kissed knees better and who said "I love you," and meant it: the kind of parent who enjoys being around their children just 'cause: the kind who isn't in competition with their child and who doesn't take every thought their child has as somehow about them - against them....

I don't know Joannie Rochette. I'd never heard of her before her mom passed away the day before Joannie was to compete at the Olympics. All I know about her really is that her mom was at every performance and practice for Joannie's entire life. I can't imagine.

No, I can imagine what that would be like. The death of that person, a complete stranger to me, tears at me because I can imagine - that's all I can do: imagine - because I know what it is like to have the complete opposite: a mother who treats their child as an annoyance and a liability: a mother who wears her resentment as an impenetrable cloak: a mother who looks for ways and means to trip up their child; a father who is incapable of bending or straying off a rigid path.

I know a father who, despite wanting to love his child, was so rule-bound that small transgressions took precedence over love; doing the right thing (his right thing) was the paramount pursuit; a father who would ignore a child's small hurts because to do otherwise would make his child weak and dependent: a father who didn't know the immense power of a simple hug and a kiss on the cheek to heal that skinned knee: a father who was mostly gone by the time I was five.

Not having that sure thing -the solid foundation and absolute immovability of my parents' love - is what makes me weak and distrustful and scared all the time, even at my age: nearly half a century.

And it is the not having but seeing it all around me that reinforces the endless loneliness: the endless being on the outside all the time.

My father is dead; my mother died - the person she might have been - when she was two....

I can say nothing further to my father because he can no longer hear me. It is far worse with my mother. She is here still but defends herself from thinking or feeling or hearing by talking all the time, endlessly, about herself. Despite that she is there, that I can touch her and yes, I can scream in her face, she cannot hear me, she does not see me and she has never known or wanted to know me.

I cannot rise because I cannot find the ground to rise above. There has never been solid ground. And so I float.

For my own children, however, there is ground: absolutely solid, immovable ground. I will kiss them better no matter how small their hurt; I will encourage them, no matter how much their philosophies differ from mine; I will be proud of them, whatever they accomplish; I will tell them I love them - a million million; I will believe in them and be fascinated by them; and I will adore them simply because they are: and by this, I will care for that other child, who suffers still.

Thanks to for the beautiful photo.

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