I should probably write something about Mom now but she hates that, and besides, I had a vivid dream of Dad this morning. He told me something that I can't remember now, and then he sang. It was like he hadn't sung in a long time; he was really rusty and his voice cracked. He was young in the dream, younger than I ever knew him. I noticed his crooked teeth and he acted self-conscious about my noticing.
I wonder if he really came back to me in this dream, showing me his insecurities, letting me see what I didn't, couldn't see when I was a child fascinated by paper swans. It didn't matter to me if Dad had crooked teeth. I loved listening to him sing, and I assumed he could always belt out tunes with operatic quality and volume.
He was 45 when he died in a sudden accident when I was a teenager. I never had the usual opportunities to know him more fully as I became an adult. Who would he have become if he had lived to a ripe old age? What would our relationship have turned out to be? Would I like, understand, respect him? Who would he vote for in the presidential election? (I suspect the Green Party.)
I saw him as a completed picture. I know he was skinny when he was young, but he was brawny and strong when I knew him. He could do pushups from a handstand, even with a kid or two hanging on him. He was charming and got along with everyone. I saw women batting their eyes at him and never thought there might've been a time when he felt awkward with girls.
All of us carry the skinny (or fat or whatever) kid within our adult selves -- even parents, grandparents, teachers, and whatever other authority figure we meet when we're children. All of us encounter a time when we look at our parents and think "that's cracked!" when they something that is clearly just plain wrong. There's a time when we realize Mom and Dad aren't just taking a nap in the next room, and Grandma and Grandpa aren't napping either.
Then, there's the time that we see the crooked teeth and feel some sympathy and understanding that our parents are flawed humans, just like we've got flaws and insecurities. We see the path they set us on when they controlled our lives is a path that we can choose to follow or not. Origami swans are just paper, and we can fold them too.
|The tomatoes were on the counter when I took the swan pic |
and I thought I'd share my garden happiness.
Nothing like a fresh, home-grown tomato!