Feed them on your dreams

Marc grew up in Newark, New Jersey. His jewish neighborhood flanked on either side by immigrants from all over. The melting pot this country promised people looking to start a new life. His father was strict and old-fashioned, but his mother was the heart of the family. She only had two children and they were her everything. He was a bit rebellious, very smart, but bored by school and not susceptible to authority. He was growing up in the perfect time, because his generation was all about pushing boundaries. Civil rights were being battled for, the lines of society's norms being blurred on a daily basis. He grew his hair long, smoked lots of pot, and played rock and roll. Not polished and clean, like the Beatles, but a little rougher, a little more homemade. They would dub it later "garage band". He and his friends from the neighborhood were some of the first to come together in that scene.

For a time, he moved onto a huge piece of land with other like-minded people. They wanted to change how things were done, not taking a job in some corporation and putting in 30 years, retiring with a token gold watch. They wanted to create things. The farm, they called it. Outsiders called it a hippy commune. That was fine with them. Straight-laced people would come visit, like a living museum. Tourists, they would buy homemade candles and bring back stories to their friends about hanging out at a commune with all those long haired, pot smoking hippies. The tourists were great, supplied much needed cash flow. Some of the other people on the farm were from wealthy families, gave it all up to live this new dream, but friends and family from their white picket fenced neighborhoods would visit, and the multiple worlds melted into one. That's the world the girl came from. Sheltered, certainly naive, but smart and pretty. She loved that he represented everything that was different. The complete opposite of the navy blazer clad boys she was used to. They ran away together and got married. Young and figuring it out along the way. He had to make sacrifices, especially when they they were about to become parents. He cut his hair, he took a "real job". He grew up.

Marc came into fatherhood with some trepidation, but as soon as his daughter was born, everything changed. This, he realized, was how he could do things differently. Be a different kind of father. Involved, honest, emotionally available like his father was never able to be. It was hard, their daughter was often sick, and by the time their second daughter was born, their young marriage had been strained by all of the responsibility, and the differences that once made them so attracted to each other became hurdles they couldn't quite clear.

He had already given up the rock star dream. He had a family to support. The only time he played the guitar was to sing lullabies to his little girls. Being a good father was made more difficult with the pending divorce, and he didn't want to be an absent father, with weekend visits. It soon became clear that decisions needed to be made. His estranged wife was prone to bouts of depression. Emotional highs and lows she didn't recover from easily. He knew his daughters would be more stable with him, but he also knew that if he fought for custody, it would be a long, hard battle. He consulted friends and his family, and was told time and again that yes, it was the right thing, but his chances were slim. In the end, he won that battle, was able to raise his girls surrounded by the women in his family who taught him how to be both mother and father. He made sure that the door was always open for their mother, to be as involved as possible. It was never his intention to keep her out, only to shield them from the bumps he saw in the road for her, to allow her to grow up before she tried to raise them.

I have no idea who I would be today if my father hadn't made those decisions. The sacrifices he made in order to make sure my sister and I were safe and healthy were enormous. My gratitude for that will never be expressed properly, I just don't have the tools to do it justice. Some men were born to be fathers. I am fortunate that my father is one of those men. I don't always call when I should, let weeks go by without telling him I love him. I am my father's daughter. The traits he instilled in me are the ones I am most proud of. I know I should tell him those things more often. I don't think he knows about this site, so he will likely never read this. But today I will call. Today I will tell him I love him and I hope he hears all of it in those three words. Happy Father's Day.


Human Head said...

"My gratitude for that will never be expressed properly, I just don't have the tools to do it justice."

I'd say you just did it plenty of justice. Very nice.

The Bracelet said...

I loved it.