Monday, June 11, 2012

The Man Who's Loved Me the Longest

My biological father died
suddenly and traumatically
when I was 2 years old.

A fact of life I often think
has little effect on me,
but my therapists over the years
may disagree.

Diagnosis: Fear of abandonment

But what do they know?

I've never wanted for a father.

Because I've always had one.

My dad met my mom
in the parking lot
of our apartment building
as he was walking
with a friend
and she was carrying
my sleeping 6 year old self.

He says it was love at first sight.

By their 2nd date
they were talking marriage
so she promptly had him over for dinner
for us to meet one another.

I don't remember that night specifically
but I do remember how fiercely protective
I was of my mom back then
and I'm sure I was suspicious
of this man and his intentions.

The best attack my little mind could muster:

I broke out my baby albums
and showed this stranger
pictures of the only dad
I had ever ever known.

His response...

"He is very handsome."

Proof to my mom
that Gregory Cesena
was in fact an exceptional man
and the first example of his knowing
exactly how to handle me.

6 weeks after they met
my dad took me to the mall
to pick out a Mother's Day present.

I chose an engagement ring.


A single mother myself
I now see the true magnitude
of those days.

Things I only once took at face value
look so different in today's light.

Like the fact that he took me to pick a present.

(Something no one had done for my mom
in the 4 years my dad had been dead.)

Or that he made her breakfast in bed.

(A tradition that still lives on.)

Or that he took the chance and made the jump
for a woman and her little girl.

A decision to
commit to them both.

A package deal.

A promise he has never, ever wavered on.

Even when I have been at my most unlovable.

Even when I didn't deserve it.

Not bound by blood
my dad's love is all the more exceptional.

I am a daddy's girl to my core,
always have been,
but there were so many
days, months, years
when I forgot.

Years full of
leave me alone,
I hate you,
you don't understand me,
door slam slam SLAM!

"You're so unfairs".

Not understanding
my own  thoughts and feelings
about this world
and taking it all out on him.

My dad.

My easiest target.

I sympathize with my poor dad now.

What it must have been like
to tuck in his little girl one night
and have her wake up the next morning
a three-headed monster.

In an attempt to figure myself out;
who I was and what I needed,
I pushed him far, far away.

And I pushed and pushed
until I had made a stranger.

But only to myself.

My dad never stopped
knowing exactly who I was.

When I found out
I was pregnant with Lucas
my mom was the first to know.

And while I had sworn her to secrecy
she immediately told my dad.

(Because that's how they roll.)

I remember sitting across from him
saying words he'd already heard.

 The disappointment.

A few weeks after I had moved home,
I remember him
peeking into my room and whispering,
"I'm excited"
before heading back down the hall.

The quiet, simple way
my dad has always loved me.

My dad:

told us we'd never have pets
and then promptly gave me a puppy
and has been Dr. Doolittle ever since,

coached our sports teams,

draws funny faces
on the backs of our birthday cards,

went to work every single day
to provide us with everything we needed
and most of what we wanted,

has been married to my mom
for 22 years,

mans the scary music and ambiance
every Halloween while my mom sits
under the front yard tree
and scares the neighborhood children
(because that's how they roll),

sat down at the dinner table with us
every single night,

makes coffee for my mom every morning,

is the best example to my boys
of what it is to be a man,

loves his wife and his children
and his grandsons with a consistency
I have never known elsewhere.

He is unconditional incarnate.

I am who I am
because of the rock
upon which I stand.

Love you dad.

1 comment:

  1. I'm speechless, I loved you the very first moment my eyes saw you and my love for you fills a very special place in my heart. There is not a day that goes by that I don't thank GOD for blessing "me' with "you" and I could not imagine my life with out you in it. Your dad from yesterday, today, tomorrow and forever. Love you (daddy girl) from "me".