Life was getting scary, so I wanted my dad. On Monday night, I grabbed an overnight bag and drove my car an hour down the interstate to my backwards little hometown as if it were an oasis of safety.
Here's how this thing works. I'm an (almost) 35-year-old woman who still wants her daddy when she gets scared. He's still my hero, the tall, warm man with a full beard and open arms who'll wrap me up in a bear hug and make it all okay.
When I was 13, I found out that my dad was a mere mortal, and I was so pissed off, so disillusioned, and so angry at him and with my step-mom. I felt like they'd colluded to keep me in the dark, keep me thinking he was a giant, a god. It was unconscionable, and I wanted someone to blame.
When I was in my mid-twenties, I realized it really didn't matter. He was still larger than life to me, even if he did falter and bleed and make mistakes at times. He was all the better for being real.
Now I'm incredibly thankful to still have my dad in my life, and my wonderful step-mom. They have both been so forgiving, so kind, so always present.
There's a children's picture book I love, one that I discovered when Eliot was a baby: Maryann Cusimano's You Are My I Love You. It begins:
I am your parent; you are my child.
I am your quiet place; you are my wild.
(You can find the fulltext of the poem here, and a very cool photography project based on the book here.)
I love this book so much; it captures for me my feelings as a parent to Eliot, but also my feelings as a daughter to my parents.
And I'm very lucky in that my parents ARE my quiet place. They ARE my way home, my nightlight, and my lullaby. They've always been all of these things for me, even when (most when) I didn't deserve it at all.
I have two sets of parents who care about me, 'cause I'm lucky and spoiled like that.
AND, Pam and Dad have a mop bucket full of barbecue sauce in their laundry room.
I don't know. If anyone ever wonders how I came upon my penchant for the absurd...you might start here.
I'm just sayin'.