Thursday, October 24, 2019

Fatherhood, Love and Healing. by Henry Amador-Batten

photo: AwakeningTimes

I can't remember when it happened, when I stop expecting to see my father. 

I remember far away moments, looking out into an audience or across a room or at either side of friends and family members only to see a vacant seat.

I remember distant conversations with my mom finding excuse after excuse for him.
He tried honey, 
he would have, 
he really wanted to be here, 
he’ll make it up to you, 
he must have gotten tied up, 
you know how busy daddy is and on and on. 

It’s funny how much we believe those little white lies, how much we need to believe them, right? 
So much so that each one comforts you long enough until the next one is required by our little forming brains and hearts. 

Long enough to stretch out time and space. 

Long enough that you no longer really believe them but still want to hear them and then long enough that there are no expectations left that really matter. 

Just a dull dead nod of the head and a deep understanding.

I do not remember when that happened to me. It just did. 

As a dad now myself, so many of those old emotions began to resurface. 

If I had to guess when, it would most probably be when my baby took his first breath.

The first time I felt the glorious and deafening sound of his cries.

The first time I knew it was time to stand up and be responsible for his life, his needs, his health, his soul, his - everything.

Oh, that natural slide from needing to see my dad to knowing I would not was a gradual one. 
Not steep enough to raise a hair on the neck or cause your stomach to ache 
Not poignant enough to take note or remark or jot down.

It doesn't get an anniversary date or a plaque or a yearly need to light a candle or pause in silence.

No, it gets nothing and yet is one of the most devastating events a child can ever go through.

Perhaps a deeper wound than one quickly inflicted.
The kind that is so ferouciously felt then cared for.
Acknowledged, bandaged and healed. 

No this one stays alive, it’s just buried under so much ruble and decay that we think it’s gone and oh so long forgotten - but then the moisture from a tear, even a new tear, can find it’s way down to give it ideas of freedom. 

It begins to move and shift and shake it self free from its grave. 

It remembers its power and its roar and how much it has missed you.

It pushes up ever so softly and demandingly, that the body senses something painful is coming. 

This is when the hairs begin to stand and the body feels dis-ease. 

This is when and where that pain lives and aches to be felt. 
Be heard. 
Be comforted. 
Be recognized.
Be healed. 

As I write this I am sitting across the street from a giant row of old yellow school buses. 

I am feverishly trying to get these thoughts down on my phone.

Bus number 136 is where my son is sitting and waiting to head out on a school adventure. 

They are at the historic Carolina Theatre and are about to see the Velveteen Rabbit. 
I will be chaperoning, as I always do, and he knows I’m there. 

As he was preparing to get on the bus back at school, out they came, all lined up and excited, he immediately began looking around for me. 
He knows I'll be waiting in the car ready to follow bus number 136. 

He saw me. 
He pointed towards me as he yelled to his friends "hey there’s my dad" and then he and his beautiful gang of 2nd graders began to wave and holler.

"Quiet down" their teacher needed to say.

He is nearly 8 and I have been to every school trip he has had. 
Every soccer game. 
Every failed instrument class.
Every doctors appointment.
Every class function.
Every - everything. 

What I notice each and every time is that he still looks for me, as if I might not be there. 

That breaks my heart.

Not for him, because I will always be there for him and he knows that.

No, my heart breaks for that little child still living in me and for all the times my father wasn’t.

My heart breaks for all the children staring out at those many vacant seats.

Heal little ones, heal.

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