As I am sitting here, listening to “Look Through My Eyes” by Phil Collins I am just letting the tears come. It’s time, I’ve cried so many times not understanding why. Tonight is different.
For years I had this repeating lucid dream. I was a tiny baby in a carrier on the sidewalk and I was screaming and crying to every person who walked by. I would reach my arms out and just keep screaming. People would stop and stare. Some would look concerned and walk over and say something to me and then walk away.
But in this dream this person would come along and scoop me up and hold me. I would jolt from this weird state and just sob until I truly fell asleep.
After listening to my grandmother tell me again about when I was a baby and my mother flew me to America at four months old and had to hand me over to my grandparents and walk away. She knew she was coming back. In fact, she was only gone for six months and I had gotten sick in the Philippines.
But at that age, of course, to me she wasn’t coming back and there was no father either but then again I had never met him and wouldn’t for almost two decades from that moment in time.
My grandmother told me that I smiled when my mother handed me to her but that I was inconsolable for the first two weeks with them. I had never heard this part of my story. My story…
I asked my grandmother if I cried a lot after that and she said no. She said there was only one moment that I was left alone for a little while and she said I started crying as though she wasn’t coming back.
A pattern. I understand patterns.
After meeting my father twice now and reviewing my relationship with each of them, I think of how much anger and how much sadness I’ve held on to. My mother did a very brave thing. In fact, I’m not sure I can think of a braver person for being able to let me go for awhile so I would be safe.
What greater sacrifice is there for any parent? Instead of pushing them away now and seeking this deep connection with others, maybe I could just grieve the cost of my childhood for tonight and then forgive each of them for not being there.
Because you know what? They are both around now. And while I probably won’t ever have that parental bond with either of them, I still love them just the same. It’s funny I always thought it was so awesome to say my mother was in the Navy and my father was a Marine and they met in the tropics in a place with wild monkeys. But I never realized, no the word is appreciated, just how strong they were at such a young age.
Maybe we aren’t the typical family. Two different sets of parents and then there are my grandparents. My grandfather who taught me to ride a bike, my grandmother who taught me how to knit. And though it was my grandparents who waited as I walked through those white double doors and down the isle on my wedding day and not my parents, there was a reason for it. My mother taught me plenty of things and even though I’ve only met my father two times in my life, I’ve even learned from him.
Besides, fitting in is kind of overrated and maybe the most valuable stories don’t actually have an ending at all. Maybe they just circle right back to where it started…
Right back to the beginning.