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Thinking of Daddy (Part 1)

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I don’t remember ever calling him “Daddy” in my younger, and even “middle,” years. But it was always what my Soul called him. He and I were not comfortable with each other. We were not comfortable with the world around us.

I was his first child … and he repeatedly made it clear that I was an inconvenient intrusion on his honeymoon. The termination of my presence was something looked forward to … and I got the message (loud and clear) that when the time necessary for my raising was exhausted … there was no place for me under his roof. Sitting around his dinner table (after divorce had removed the element of conflict from between my mother and me), there was some discussion about all of those years between my leaving home and rekindling contact. Mom wanted some help in understanding (or, better yet … wanted me to suffer through an attempt at justification for) the twenty-plus years that we did not speak. The wedding that I chose to not invite them (any of my immediate family) to; the children who did not know that they had grandparents (on my side) or an aunt, uncles, cousins, and on and on. “How could you live like that without it bothering you?” I was asked.

“It was really quite simple,” I replied. “I had lived so many years hearing the house, that I lived in, referred to, by my parents, in phrases like ‘as long as you live in my house …’ that I had no difficulty in understanding that it was not OUR house. I was living, out of a temporary necessity, in YOUR house. So, first … it was never ‘home,’ and secondly … it was, quite clearly, not MY home. When you are raised to understand that you are an unwelcome intruder into someone else’s world … leaving, and then dismissing, that world, is to rid oneself of the burden of being constantly reminded, of your ‘unwelcome alien’ status.”

And, at that point, I recall looking around the table … and seeing looks (on all faces present there) that showed the light of an awareness that silently said “Oh! I remember saying those things. Oops! Didn’t know that they would be taken so literally.” And, in Daddy’s eyes … I saw the “oh shit!” look. A well-recognized look of having failed … yet again. That look that, certainly not for the first time in our pilgrimage, gave me cause to feel oh-so-badly for him.

For, you see, Dear Reader Friend, I have always sensed that Daddy wanted to experience a tender and yes, intimate, relationship with me (in fact, with all in his world.) But, alas, he never had a clue how to allow that to happen. Raised by a man who knew only military discipline (my granddad served in the U S Coast Guard [after the dismantling of the Lighthouse Service] as a civilian Keeper of navigational aids in and around the manatee River and outer Tampa Bay. He bore the total responsibility for raising his three sons, after his wife [Daddy’s Mom] passed away, early in their lives.)

There was NO affection, nurturing, tenderness, encouragement, praise, or even remote validation in that home. Only discipline. Orders, and punishment, for orders not perfectly followed. So … poor Daddy … he had all of his feelings, yearnings, desires, and emotions … all stored, pent up, confined, and compartmentalized … and for the first time in his life he had a window of opportunity for releasing them all … and having them eagerly accepted, embraced, and appreciated. He had his wife. Bliss!

Then … Me! And we will visit that development in Part 2 … OK?

Part 1 | (Part 2)

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