When I Need A Pick Me Up, by my friend Ryan King

Friday, December 14, 2007

A Father's Love

Well the week skipped by me with nary a "how-do-you-do". I'm not mad at it. I couldn't wait for the weekend anyhow.

The upcoming weekend promises to be snowy, however. Ever since the car accident, I've been driving like an old woman on the cold wet roads. It is most definitely post-traumatic stress that keeps me imagining my rear end will fishtale again and dance me into oncoming traffic--but this time I won't be action-hero enough to turn my swirling car passenger-first into the headlights. Therefore I keep seeing myself crushed in my car. I keep imagining what the impact will feel like --steering wheel collapsing my lungs, dashboard crushing my shoulders, engine block pulverizing my guts--and what that split-second of helplessness beforehand will turn into. Will I scream? Will I just gasp? Or will I lean into it with an acceptance that says, "Of course. How could it have ended any other way?"

Maudlin thoughts, I know, but it's "Worst-Case Scenario Man" from his perch in my head. I blame him, but he is me. He's the me that was created from the dominoes that have been toppling in my life since age six. Click click click click click click in rapid succession. A steady series of little devastations.

The second therapist that I went to in Trenton was the guy who gave me the identity of being "obsessively analytic". I wear it with pride, because I know how it has come to be. In order to get myself to my next level in life, I have always had to understand first what it was. In the absence of understanding, I needed blind faith. One of those two extremes, or I did not proceed.

Pretend you are a therapist now and try to answer why that would be.

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My answer; because my life has always been an unstable, terrifying mess. If you set a baby out on an ice shelf, and it keeps cracking under him, and sometimes gives way and dumps him into the soul-sucking depths of black icy water, he's going to grow up being a VERY slow walker.

That's me. The slow walker.

That's just me.

But now let me introduce you to a boy named Jackson who is not going to face these particular struggles that I face when he gets to be my age. (For one thing, he'll have a car that flies! LOL) The introduction I will give you comes in the form of his father's birthday letter to him. When you read the kind of love Jackson is receiving from his father, and the determined stability his father is carving out for him with his two powerful hands, you will be able to see the kind of man that Jackson will become. You guys know Jackson's father as my blogfriend Scott, with whom someday will be my extreme privilege to have a companionable slice of pizza here in my city.

"Happy Birthday, Jackson".

Despite the domino effect in my life, I found a strange improvement has come over me in the last few months. If I had read that letter half a year ago, I would have broken down, full of the lament that I wasn't Jackson and that my father wasn't Scott. And while a tear did mist in my eye, what I felt instead of regret and sorrow was a great swell of inspiration.

I'm going to be a father like Scott. I don't care if it takes me until I'm 65 years old. I'm going to give that kind of love to sons and daughters of mine. I am. I'm done lamenting my lost childhood. It's gone and it's getting me nowhere being all runny about it (Scott's phrase, 7 comments down, last paragraph).

Yes, therapy, and all of you, have been very, very good to me.

Thanks for sharing that, Scott.

5 comments:

GrizzBabe said...

I was all ready to slit my wrists after reading that second paragraph (I'm afraid to get in my car now) but things picked up nicely.

Even became literary.

He's the me that was created from the dominoes that have been toppling in my life since age six. Click click click click click click in rapid succession. A steady series of little devastations.

That's good writing.

GrizzBabe said...

And you're not the only one who laments their childhood. Whenever I see girls or women who have healthy relationships with their Dads, I always feel a twinge of resentment inside and wonder why I had to be the one stuck with the lousy father figures.

Alan said...

Thanks, Grizz! I was real happy with that paragraph after I saw it too. It's like it happened by itself, but I'm glad it didn't. I love the written word.

and you know I feel you, Grizz. I'm choosing hope over despair. I can't change my past. There's no Gallifreyan Time Lord who is going to come and whisk me back to the '60's and allow me to clunk my parents' heads together for the sake of the little boy who needed their protection and love.

You'll see at Scott's blog, he has father issues too. Different from mine, but aren't all of ours? I'm simply in awe of his love for his sons, and you and I can do it too. Scott and I are days apart in age, so again, he represents hope for all of us slow walkers.

So I've decided to look forward instead. And Grizz, you can thank God that you're so much closer to that mark than me. You have the man in your life who you can see yourself having children with. THOSE are the little girls who will also have healthy relationships with their Dads, because you are going to see to it. And they will have the kind of mother than I will also envy them of, because you are such an amazing woman yourself.

So there. :-)

Scott said...

I'm honored by your attention, Alan. Thank you so much. It makes me proud to be any part of your decision to be a good father instead of passing along the kind of treatment that has hampered you. That's powerful stuff.

Alan said...

The honor's mine, bro. To use the original African proverb (pre-Hillary) it takes a village to raise a child. It always has. It always does.

You guys are my village.