paintings from the 1950's. My dad was a commercial artist- and his paintings are breathtaking in their beauty, simplicity,competence. I see through adult eyes how hard it must have been to create spectacular pieces of art for a paycheck- the soul and passion displayed couldn't last long in a commercial world, and it didn't.
As a child, my dad was somewhat withdrawn. I frequently felt like I had to walk on eggshells around him, in addition to this "feeling" that he would warm up if I was ( fill in the blank: nicer, more understanding, accomodating, etc etc -you get it).
Time marched on... he became more withdrawn, was frequently drinking until drunk, and then, when I was in Jr. High he and my Mom divorced. ...if only I was more loving...I would be worth enough to him that he would stay around. Wrong.
The last time I saw him I was 13... he said he was going to New York and he would send me a ticket someday to come back and see him. I waited...and waited...and waited, but the ticket never came. I was to find out later that he died a homeless bum, sleeping on the Streets of New York City, a verifiable drunk.
Now. as an adult male, with 2 young adult children and a beautiful wife of 26 years of my own, I can see where and when his life went, through the experience of my own life.
When I was 8, he started a remodel on my bedroom, which he did not finish. It left me with a drafty,unfinished attic to sleep in until I moved out as a young adult.
I would never do that to my kids, and I do finish my projects, which I had to learn to do out of respect for my family, through lots of ups and downs to get there. But when my Dad did it to me, it was "o.k", because he was "misunderstood".
A friend of my dad's told me he liked to take a thermos full of Martinis with him when he went out to paint pictures recreationally, starting long before I was born. It's "o.k.", because he was stressed out
Today I put it all together, realized that the Die was Cast, that unbeknownst to his friends and family, my dad was already doomed by his hurt, his alchoholism, and his denial of the truth of who he was.
I feel freed of the responsibility that I could as a child influence his behaviour, and that I am, and always was, worth loving just for being me, nothing more, nothing less.
I am proud , through all my angst and trial and error, that my family can feel that
they are worth loving simply because they "are", not because of what they do or not do, and that they can share in the basic right that all children are worth being loved, that they deserve the respect and honesty of Clare and I, and that I would never leave them in dark, scary places, alone, and that somehow I did it.
The Die was Cast long ago, and guess what? I couldn't have changed it in any case, and now I can rest a little easier knowing realizing that it is o.k. being just me. The Die was Cast, and looking
at the arc of life, I can see the seeds planted in youth that manifest later in life, and challenge us to look deeper, feel the hurts, and respond the best we can.
I love you all,