ROLE MODELS of importance

WOW! The first daffodil bloom in my garden the day before it is officially spring! Usually, daffodils are not out until may in central new york state. And, it is alone in its blooming although there are many budding nearby. I am reminded of my daddy-dad who bathed me as a youngin’ in the 50s, took his children on Sunday walks in the woods, built my sister and I doll beds, and a swing set as tall as our home’s roof top…well almost. One of my fondest memories is dad carrying me down Aurora street as a five-six-year-old, because I am bandaged due to being burned by an overturned coffee pot. I feel special despite my bandaged bottom. Dad, was way ahead of his time as an equally involved parent, while my mother took care of three children providing excellent family dinners together, adding her abilities as a stay-at-home registered nurse. She serving pink junket on a tray to her sick children in bed makes me smile as I write. Yet, dad is my role model of loving compassion because he wanted me when I was not his biological child, and mom did not as I was hers biologically by rape. Dad chose to love me anyway, which felt equal to the love of his two biological children. Mom was the strict religious disciplinarian; dad the nurturer despite being a research astronomer at Cornell university. Dad was alone in being ahead of his time, like the daffodil I admire in its aloneness today. He was one of the first men in our town to volunteer at the newly formed Suicide and Prevention Crisis Service where he answered phone calls from those in crisis during the night shift once a week. I was an adult by this time, and had followed my mother’s footsteps into her RN profession, although I had sworn as a teenager not to be like my mother. Still, I became more like my dad as I went on to receive a Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy, which I continue to practice for over 25 years. I have taken the parental reins of influence into being in therapy myself even though I hadn’t felt particularly depressed or anxious…I knew something was missing within my soul: my own beliefs and trust in myself. I knew I was a good mother for my two daughters, yet found myself in a painful fourth marriage that lead me into primal therapy: crying, sobbing over the sudden loss of my dad from a heart attack many years earlier, and unresolved childhood anger and hurt. My heart was broken open to tears easily triggered like when I would look into my granddaughter Denali’s (tears now) eyes, while lying on the floor at her Waldorf school on grandparent’s day (sobs), she looking into mine without wavering. I became more and more aware of missing the very essential element of love that has no fear. Ever since that day with Denali when she was four, I have felt that my dad’s (more tears) spirit came back in her, as we have continued to have a very close connection as she grew up to be a freshman in college this year. Just last night, when I called her, she immediately says, “I was just about to call you,” and I reply, “it’s our psychic connection,” really our spirit connection. A week earlier she had told me how she was aware of becoming more of her own person when she moved back to Ithaca where I live, she then being nine. “I looked to you more,” she tells me, my heart swelling as if a colorful beach ball. Once again, I recognize and know I am connecting with my dad’s spirit, like I looked to him everyday of my childhood to come home from work, to relieve me from feeling unwanted by my mother. This past week, while talking on the phone to my sister about going to the cemetery where our parents ashes are buried, she tells me that mom cried almost everyday while growing up. I am surprised and say that I don’t remember that. She validates that mom would use her as her confidant, not me. I do remember mom crying occasionally and more so as adults when I would bring up sensitive topics. Although my mom had been embarrassed to cry easily, I had thanked her for that in her last days, because it was through my crying and letting go of my anger toward her, that helped me to love her (again.)