Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Approaching Midnight

It's almost midnight. I've been up smoking a cigar and drinking on the back deck. In the morning we'll pack up and drive Emily to her new school and we won't see her again for six weeks. That's the longest we've ever been apart by far. But of course the larger issue is that this is the end of her childhood, or so it seems to me. She turned fourteen last week, and she'll be in boarding school through high school and then college and then whatever's next, so this is it. The biggest part of our parenting is behind us. I know there are huge challenges and issues to face ahead, and that she'll always be our kid, etc, etc, but the days of having our little girl home with us are over.

I need another drink.

It is quiet here except for the sounds of the crickets and the gurgling of the fish tank. Cash is pacing around nervously, I guess because I'm still up. Ah, there he goes. Curled up at my feet with a heavy sigh.

I hope I've been a good dad to her. I know I've failed in lots of ways. I gave her attention begrudgingly too often, was gone too often, missed too much, failed to pay sufficient attention, could not pry myself away from my own life often enough. Lost my temper with her too quickly and too powerfully. The list goes on.

But I know I've given her a million things I'll never even realize. Just as my recollections of my parents baffles them, I'm sure her memories of growing up with us will astound me.

We are all such individual creatures.

I love this girl with all my heart. I am proud of her beyond all measure and on the eve of this big change my heart swells with love and gratitude and pride and loss and hope and longing.

I am full to overflowing.

I'm going now to stand by her doorway one last time and listen to her breathe as she sleeps. Listen for the sounds she makes as she slips from her crysalis.

I cannot bear it.



Blogger netinous said...

it's gotta be a fear & of course, like everything, unknown & with no perfect course. obviously you care & love, which despite everything is usually the most apparent thing of all--was to me, despite my prickliness during those years. those years must be tough as a parent, cause it's really the solidification of a lot of personality, I think, yet a time when the parent can't really overdo things, for most kids, at least, without being met by some rebellion.
seems like you're pretty aware &'ve done pretty well so far

12:30 AM  
Blogger tearful dishwasher said...

Hey Netinous-

Thanks for the kind words.

We're off on our big adventure now.



8:31 AM  
Blogger LKD said...

Thanks for posting this. It made me cry when I read it last night. My father was a good man. He wasn't especially emotionally demonstrative though, so, even though I know he loved me and he knew I loved him, the fact that neither of us bothered to ever speak those words out loud to each other still breaks my heart from time to time. I had a sense that he was proud of me, but again, he never let on that he was. When I won that scholarship for a poem I'd written the year before he died it was my mother who told me how much he liked the poem, how impressed he was with it. After he died, I was talking on the phone with one of the men who worked in my father's machine shop, and this guy told me that my father had told him how proud he was of his daughter for finally going back to school and getting good grades. Would've meant the world to me to hear him say that.

I hate that he died in my birthday month, that he died during my favorite time of year. He died during the season when I feel most alive. So, even though I don't consciously count down the days, I feel it looming, the anniversary of his death.

Yeah, I'm just a little bit tragic tonight. (sigh/smile) I really just wanted to tell you how moving I found this post, how it made me ache a little and made me wonder if my father sat up late at night wondering if he'd been a good enough father to me and my brothers.

10:39 PM  

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