For the last two weeks my father has been our constant companion, and for the last two weeks I have been trying desperately to figure out what it means to be a daughter. For those who have grown or are growing up with one or both parents, that statement may seem illogical if not disingenuous. But I promise you, it’s not–on either count. My mother, because of extreme mental health issues, was not able to be a mother; and my father, for reasons that are too complicated to go into here, was not present for my childhood. So, while I understand and am comfortable in my roles as wife, mother, friend, sister, teacher, I am not in my role as daughter.
Meanwhile, while I was busy during this time silently brooding about and analyzing my situation, my children–as always–were every inch themselves. It didn’t matter one iota to them if my father was in the room–if they felt like fighting (often), complaining (vociferously), or doing their own thing (regularly), that’s precisely what they did. They were secure enough in who they were as Pop Pop’s grandsons that they felt free to be themselves.
So, once again I find myself having learned more from my children than I ever could have imagined–even while they were fighting, complaining, and doing their own thing. They weren’t worried about trying to be a certain way, or even questioning how or what they should be–they were simply being Oscar, Edgar, and August in all their glory, completely at ease with themselves.
It is clear that my three sons will teach me how to be my father’s daughter; and when I finally figure all this out, I will have them–not to mention a very reasonable and patient parent–to thank.