Pretty Little Girl

A day in the life….

Archive for the tag “Daddy”

A Letter to my Son

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Hey Son. I need to talk to you about something. And before you start, I am a writer. I write. This is my way of expression so hear me out. Now I want to tell you a story. I know you don’t want me to but I am anyway.

The story is of a woman who has no commitments. She lost her husband. She has family but it’s emotionally removed. They do not get together or say “I love you”. They are there for one another in times when they are needed but they do not have the day to day closeness of “family”. This woman meets a man who is loving, kind, funny and most of all, sincere. He loves with his whole heart, which is more than most people ever do in a lifetime. They make a happy life together. Both feeling a happiness that neither has felt just being in a healthy, loving relationship where people could walk away, but they don’t.

This man has children by another marriage. Neither of them are his biologically but he has chosen to take all the responsibility for these children, UNCONDITIONALLY, for their entire lives. Again, he could walk away, but he doesn’t because he is too good a man to do so. One of the children is grown and has chosen to drift away from the man because he could no longer give to him like he did as a child. This man expected his child to be the person he raised, but hoped he had learned to be kind and in respect for all that had been done for him to be there for the man as a child should. This never really happened. Once the child found there was not anything to take but love from this man, he walked away.

The other child of this man’s was younger and didn’t understand all the things going on in the divorce of the parents, but saw the happiness in the father’s eyes in the new place he had made a home with this woman. A peacefulness that he had never known. This woman took in the man that she loved and his child into her home. They made a family. Subsequently had grand children together, all with the knowledge that no one was chained to each other and all could have walked away in rough times but chose to endure out of love.

The first of this couple’s grandchildren came at a bad time; unforeseen and undoubtedly unpredicted. The man’s child was too young to have children and doctors said it was impossible but yet here this child sat pregnant and married but too young to understand what either meant. After the birth of the first grandchild, the woman and the man doted on the child as neither had ever expected to be grandparents, but both felt blessed to have this miracle baby. So much so in fact that they did everything to be there for this grandchild and the child. They filled in as babysitters and were for the most part complete caretakers of the grandchild that the child and new spouse didn’t know how to take care of.

The woman and man bonded to the child as if it were their own. Being both mother and father to this little baby who was not expected but was loved more than life itself. They spoiled the child rotten and they watched the child grow into a little boy. Until one day the man died, the woman’s world fell apart. She depended on this man. They were soulmates. They were the most in love that they ever believed they could be. Seeing her sisters marriages being routine, average, loveless, but her life was rich in a fulfillment that was more like a movie than real life and now that bright light was gone.

She wondered if the man’s youngest child would still be a part of her life even though she now had the grandchildren and moved away. She wondered if that grandchild that she took care of for the first 2 years of its life as more of a mother than a grandmother would ever know how special it was in her life with the only attachment, the man who died, gone.

To her surprise, the child still needed a mother who wanted to be a mother. Therefore, the grandchildren still needed a grandmother. In times of despair, the woman did all that she could for this child and grandchildren ​as any mother would do and in fact, more than the child’s mother ever did. She gloried in being a grandmother and mother.

The child and the mother eventually had a rough patch​, a time of hurt that was that of the creation of the child. A great deal of hurt to go around but it was only temporary. The feelings of the grandmother to the grandchildren didn’t change and a love was always there even if there were hurt feelings.  The grandchildren had been taken in throughout this relationship. This woman having no connection to this child or her children took care of them in times that were trying. She loved unconditionally, even though there was hurt feelings, love still remained.  This woman gave her heart, home and self to this child and grandchildren. She still had a special place for the first grandchild because that child had been more like her child than grandchild. That was not to slight the other grandchildren. She simply didn’t have the connection of the day after day​ of the​ first 2 years. Those children never depended on her the way this first grandchild had.

Now the woman sits on the edge of the end of her life. She beams from the pride of having the only grandchildren she ever knew and was never supposed to have. A gift given because she fell in love with the love of her life. September 11th was the old woman’s birthday. She sat by the phone, hoping for the reminder of the love of her family that no longer are seen day in and day out.  They have no real obligation to her because she is not biologically tethered to ​them​ but as the man had expected of his first child, but never got, she expected the return of the love she selflessly gave to these children.

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The Gulf Coast

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I have been reading short stories by Southern writers. I came across a story by Elizabeth Spencer, “The Gulf Coast”.

“The first visit I made to this spot was during the summer of 1951. Already it seemed part of my own personal geography. Everyone had been to Ship Island. Picnics were talked of, summer days recalled.

On the first time for me, I walked ahead of friends (a man I went with, two friends of his) straight south, taking the walk through the dunes. Then, cresting, I saw before me what I’d come for without knowing it: the true Gulf, no horizon to curb its expanse, spread but infinite and free, restless with tossing whitecaps, rushing in to foam up the beach, retreating, returning, roaring. Out there, I thought, astonished, is Mexico, the Caribbean, South America. We are leaning outward to them. Everybody back on land, all along the coast, feels the presence, whether they consciously know it or not. What was it but distance, the leaning outward, the opening toward far-off, unlikely worlds? The beyond.”

To me, this embodies all the things I felt at Pensacola Beach. Being alone just after the dawning of the day, I used to go to Fort Pickens to lay out in the sand of a desolate and peaceful landscape. I could here cars passing behind me on occasion, not true traffic of any sort. No one as far as the eye could see. The bliss and freedom represented being in the company of divinity. Those days, in my late youth, were priceless and in describable. It was my church. It was my point to access God without interruption.

This was Daddy must feel when he goes fishing. The peace. The centering effect of being in the presence of all living things but no humans to spoil it. No noise to taint it. My mother would say, “come hell or high water, on Sunday, your Daddy was on the river.” Why on Earth, wouldn’t he be? It is serene.

Nature vs Nurture

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In reflecting on the obstacles and the skeletons that have plagued me, I have to say that my belief in God was restored after all of this. The circumstances that I was born into should not have allowed me to flourish in the way I did. I was a bastard child of morally absent parents surrounded in dysfunction. Yet Jim Barnett, my Daddy, took a child he should have resented and made that child his own. He took the purity of innocence and cultivated it into a loving functioning person. He took an act of anger and rage and with almost alchemy-like conversion turned it into love and compassion.

Nature vs. Nurture.

Score one for Nurture!

The Power of Understanding

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Not long after my mysterious jaunt to California, my mother, recently divorced from my dad, ended up letting me go live with him “temporarily”. She planned a moved to Pensacola, where my dad and his new wife lived. I had spent the summers there. I loved it because it was peaceful. No drunken, bipolar hissy fits. No mind games. No belittling. I was just a kid. I was away from my mother, brother, uncle and grandmother. Each day was me and my dad. He and I had always had this special bond. He loved me more than anything and he was my hero. I knew he wasn’t perfect, but I couldn’t imagine what a better daddy would be like. His flaws made him human and made me feel like I didn’t have to always be perfect. I could be me without hindrance.

During my life, I clung to my Daddy. He could always talk me through things. I would get upset; he & I would sit down and talk about it. Usually, it wasn’t as bad as I perceived. He was a calming, reasoning and enlightening force in my life to rival no other. His death in 1997 broke a portion of me, because at 22, I was not prepared to give up the part of my soul that he occupied. He physically, emotionally, & psychologically was a part of me. Jim Barnett’s influence in my life will resonate forever. When he saved me, he saved my future, my children. I married a man that cherished me who is much like him. He showed me how to live peacefully without drama. He taught me how to think things through. His actions reverberate in every faction of my life.

Then one day, I get a call. It is my brother, who I have not spoken to since my mother’s funeral. I had medical issues I wanted to discuss with him. I had emailed him begging him to talk to me about such issues. It was May 14, 2012. The day after Mother’s Day 9:30 AM.  The words he spoke I was not prepared to hear.  Jim wasn’t my Daddy.

 

 

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