I am my father’s daughter. I am his eyes, green and weary. Looking for a friend wherever I go.
I am his personality.
You are a stranger? I want to make you comfortable. Let’s talk for hours about something, anything we have in common.
I am his experience.
His struggles. Where he has been, where he is now. I feel it all, just as he does. I look at things, I see them for a deeper meaning.
I am my father’s knowledge. His street smarts. What I lack in logic,
I gain in knowing places, back alley secrets and intricate details no one else pays attention to.
I have his hands. Rough, short and
reaching for another to place with mine. Growing up, they smelled like gasoline and his old workshop tools.
When I was around thirteen, my mother and I got into one of our arguments that usually ended with her locking me out of the house and me hiding in our backyard because I was (I am) stubborn. My go-to hiding place was the treehouse my father had built with his own gasoline smelling, old rough hands. I am my father’s daughter; He knew where to find me. Above the roof of this hand made treehouse, he had built a small bench that overlooked my neighborhood and reached the top of the massive tree in my backyard. He proudly called it, “The hawk’s nest.”
There was a knock. “Mind if I join you?” I didn’t answer. He understood. He climbed up the ladder anyway.
My father, being much bigger and rounder than I, somehow managed to squeeze onto the small bench above the treehouse and folded his hands, trying to see whatever it was I was looking at in the distance.
For awhile, we sat there in thoughts, in mutual and respectful silence. Even today, sometimes that is what I need; I crave from people, more than anything. Until, in an attempt to break the ice with me, he began humming and twiddling his thumbs to make me chuckle. We have the same one. And it worked. He still does this, because he knows that I’m not a naturally anger or angsty person. Finally, he asked “Why are you up here feeling sorry for yourself?”
I shot him a sarcastic, typical thirteen year old look and rolled my eyes. I explained to him that I felt like everyone, including my mom hated me. That I had so much pain in my heart and that things were just hopeless for me. Like somehow, I was destined to be unhappy and live a long, drawn out, mediocre life. That the Big Guy Up In The Sky was playing checkers with my life and was up there laughing at my dispense. Knocking me down every chance he got. I believed that everyone else had a perfect house, a perfect family, a perfect life. I played victim of my own life. I told him that I was so angry that I always had to go through so much arguing and fighting, while everyone around me simply cruised along life, while I, was an outcast. I was born to be different. I know this now.
But my dad, gentle heart and hard hands, he understood. He picked at the scruff beneath his chin and said to me, “Cara. What you are doing now, what most people are doing everyday, is walking through the storm of life. Most go through the motions of life. Never asking for more. Simply accepting the average. But Cara, you are an artist. You and I are artists. You have a gift of always searching for more. Feeling more than the average person. And that is okay.”
I started paying attention. Among the dozens of things that my father and I have in common, he and I identified most with Art, and music. (That’s a different story.) He knew he caught my attention at this point, and saw the opportunity to continue.
“The stronger the wind blows, the stronger the tree becomes. And you, will live an extrodinary life, because you are my extraordinary daughter. Why be ordinary, anyway?”
Up until recently, I had forgotten that memory with my father. I love remembering small little stories like that one. Beautiful and simple little moments from my childhood that I remember when I need them most. One of the best thoughts I have had lately is how I am not the only one on this planet who remembers things, who cherishes the little things like that one with my father, who I can identify with, who sees things differently, who stands out. I am embracing that now.
I will always remember that day, that I am my father’s daughter. The stronger the wind blows, the stronger the tree becomes.