Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Day 41: The truth about dad

Yesterday I wrote about how my dad sent me a birthday card in the mail. I glazed over the magnitude of this gesture. The truth is that my dad and I haven't talked for two years, and for the five years before that, we talked at one Christmas meal each year. The rest of the time: silence.

It's not that we haven't been talking in some big dramatic fight kind of way. We just haven't talked. Childhood fights took their toll and the resulting distance became Just How It Is. During this silent time, I worked my process. And there was rich material. By now, I have learned to meet my dad on higher level. In my meditations, I imagine us on Clear Creek beach in Ontario, Canada, where I grew up. I'm looking for shells, sea glass and lures. Dad squats at the shore staring out at the water. Reading the waves. Intuiting where to find the fish. We are chatting. I ask questions. He answers. Sometimes he answers like an old medicine man, wise and calm, but always he answers with humor, which is so him.

The air between us is calm, which is not how it has been since my single digit years. In this space on the beach, he is just my dad. He's not a guy who made life choices that confuse me. He's just my dad who has always been there and who will always be there, answering any question I happen to have.

So when I got this birthday card from him, the first word from him in a few years, it isn't that he remembered my birthday. It's that he remembered me. I've felt so forgotten for so very long. It's nice to be remembered.


  1. Just beautiful. Morning in the office reading this and co-workers wondering why I have tears in my eyes.

  2. Very brave to write about that. Funny, I too have that vision of Dad on the beach just being... walking, asking, chatting, not chatting, and at no time uncomfortable. In a way, it is what we all want from our relationships, just a feeling like you are at home. How is it that a relationship so frought with "issues", is the one to teach us what we really want?

  3. I will remember you and this posting for a long time. And by the way, it's not nice to make me cry at Starbuck's.

  4. What a wonderful birthday gift. My father and I are mending our relationship (which was broken as a result of a fight). Thank you for sharing this, and reminding me of the importance of "small" gestures.

  5. Beautiful, Janice. I'm glad he made you feel remembered.

  6. Quite moving Janice. Thanks. I particularly like the idea of living with the vision of your dad on the beach. More will be revealed, 'eh?

  7. He has never forgotten you. He just doesn't know how to communicate with his daughters. Maybe you should suggest he do the Artist Way.


  8. Thanks for all your comments. I think I prefer the image of my dad on the beach to the image of him doing the Artist's Way. That would be a sight though, watching him deal with morning pages and artist dates. Oh my stars!


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