Sunday, February 19, 2006

Mi Padre

There are some things I don't write about easily. Some things that are harder to say. And often, this comes out of deep emotion, and deep gratitude.

I love this picture.

I have one version of it, an earlier (or later) version where we're both facing the camera, me with my arms wrapped around my Dad's neck, resting my chin on his shoulder. The picture sits next to my computer. It is in an old brass frame, left over from one of my Dad's offices, lost in a move as he up-sized his office space, and added portraits of me as I grew (and as he shed those ridiculous brown shoes and gorgeous wide maroon tie and bell-bottomed pants). I look at the picture often as I sit in front of my Dell. I look at what my mother refers to as the "Miller mouth" which rests on both of our faces and at the way we sit so easily, so comfortably close to one another, our arms intertwined, our eyes laughing.

Dad and I have always been close. But we haven't been close in that way that some father and daughter duos are. I've never been my dad's tomboy (forbid the thought). I've never hung out with him at company picnics (what?). I've always paused a minute at the Father's Day card selection because lawn-mowing jokes, and golfing stories, and fishing jokes never really suited Dad. And it didn't honor the connection we had.

How could I say to him, "I am so much like you that sometimes I gasp in recognition?" or "I am so utterly spellbound to be blessed to be your daughter?" Words like these sound like idol worship, and I know my father better than to revere him in a holy way. Instead, I recognize his weaknesses (some that are similar to my own) and gather the cloak of his unending love around me and sink into it's familiar safety, and offer my own humble and unconditional love back.

I am a woman who has learned that men should listen to her, because I was listened to by my father. And I am a woman who has learned that she deserves to be respected, because I was honored by my father. And I am a woman who has learned that she can be vulnerable, because she witnessed her father's honesty. And I am woman who as a feminist is not afraid to know God paternally, for I have been fiercely loved by a father.

And today, I write the words that are inscribed in my heart. Just because. Just here.

1 comment:

Poor Mad Peter said...

Profound, beautiful. Any of us who are fathers of daughters should be so lucky to have words such as these. They're a gift.