Every little girl loves her daddy, it's a time before relationships get complicated. I remember when my relationship with my father wasn't complicated. It's odd that my memories are so clear from about the time I am 3 to 6 years old. If they weren't my memories I might doubt their authenticity, but it was a stormy time for a little kid and the scenes of my parents arguing, check that, screaming at airport level decibels is indelibly entrenched in my little girl brain. When they finally had enough of it all my mother woke me up late one night and said we were leaving. Everything was packed and we got in her pink cadillac to stay with my grandmother. I didn't know at the time that she didn't even leave a note, we just drove off into the dark Texas night without telling anyone where we were going. What torture that must have been for my dad, and confusion for me, after all I woke up in Louisiana. I remember bits and pieces of that time, but not once do I remember talking with my dad, my mother had cut him off completely. Later in life someone told me she called to say I was in the hospital with pneumonia and then hung up. What a mess they were. I don't know exactly how long we stayed there, but after awhile we got back in the pink cadillac and drove all the way to Alaska. My Aunt Pee Wee (yes that is her name) had a health club there and my mother was going to work for her. Of course.
I went from Texas to Louisiana to Fairbanks Alaska......Only Astronauts have similar experiences.
My mothers alcoholism escalated in Alaska, those memories of her are very clear. When it all became too much for her, she contacted my father and told him she couldn't take care of me any more. I didn't know this at the time but they came to a business arrangement. He would pay her twenty thousand dollars for full custody so he sold everything he could and I said good bye to Alaska.
I remember that day very well. I wore a pink dress and had 2 stuffed animals that were both rabbits (?). We went for BBQ right before I got on the plane which I promptly spilled all over my pink dress....can you imagine my mother's frustration? Not a great farewell moment. Then at the airport, walking up the stairs to get on the plane I turned around to look at my mother one more time. That memory still brings tears to my eyes. What must it have been like for her? My first plane ride ever was that day, from Fairbanks Alaska to Seattle Washington where my father was going to meet me. Since I was traveling alone, and I was 6, there was a woman sent to watch over me. She didn't say much, but she had this look of pity on her face...funny what I remember.
When they opened the doors of the plane after we landed in Seattle I could see my dad waiting a little way off, kneeling down with his arms outstretched. It was a tumultousness time that would soon get even more complicated since my father had remarried, but for that moment....everything was right with the world. I felt joy....unmitigated joy. There was my dad!!
Someday I am going to commission an artist to draw this memory I have of him waiting for me. I wrote in a fathers day card years ago of this memory and told him how much I loved him for it. Since this was all pre-Oprah and no one was aware we needed to face our feelings, he was very uncomfortable and wouldn't discuss it at all. In his defense it must have been a horrible time for him.
I take this memory out every once in a while and lay it over my life like a transparency. I let it cover up all the mistakes everyone made, all the hurt and pain. I let this memory of sacrifice and love be the focal point of my childhood. I don't do that enough, so I am doing it today.
Happy Father's Day Daddy, I love you.