Saturday, June 17, 2017

Grateful Memories

Tomorrow is Father's Day and I am filled with sweet memories of my childhood hero, my father. He was everything to me. But there was always a distance that he kept, as if his heart couldn't trust the love he felt for my sister and me. But no memories are complete without my mother slipping in between the images. Her love and encouragement made me believe in myself.

However life for my parents became filled with challenges that neither of them were equipped to navigate and my perception of them diminished as they shrank into themselves. Finally their inner demons got the best of their marriage and after 27 years they divorced. My sister and I were young adults by then, with children of our own. I had my own judgements about my parents and I have spent most of my adult years exploring who they were and how their love and personal struggles have influenced me and my choices.

I believe we choose our parents and the family we are born into. I am very grateful for this family of origin and the richness of the ancestral lineage that stands behind all of us. On both sides of my family I can trace our American roots back to the original colonies and I can feel their determination and courage running through my veins. I am grateful for the challenges that have presented themselves along the way because they have shaped who I have become. I am grateful to my parents and their love. They were flawed but I never doubted their love for me.

Now I am watching my children and grandchildren growing up and I am reminded of the courage it takes to be a parent and to stay present, continuing to do our personal work along the way.

So thank you Daddy, from the bottom of my heart, for loving me and shaping my heart and my mind. Thank you for the long discussions about life and history and embedding in me a deep curiosity about the world. Thank you Mom for singing with me and instilling in me the belief that I could follow my dreams with courage and determination. Thank you for the memory of your laughter. Thank you to my ancestors who continue to stand with me as I open unexplored doors to the past that will heal the present and the future for our family. Deep gratitude.