I spend a lot of time consciously not thinking about my parents. Unfortunately for me, because most of us have them, there are things that serve as constant reminders that I wasn't just dropped to earth by a low flying stork. May and June offer two holidays that could prove excruciating if I let them into my mental consciousness very far. But I don't. Most of the time I am successful at the denial game. But once in a while I will talk with a friend and hear that they are doing something mundane like making jam with their mom, and I am so overcome with the want of a mother that I could physically crumble into a heap.
Father's Day is this weekend. A few years ago - 11 to be exact, I was sitting in church on Father's Day, about 20 some weeks pregnant with my beautiful boy. I could feel the tension building, the emotion overpowering me as the pastor talked about fathers. I was trying to relax and do some deep breathing when the contractions started, but found myself helpless to stop what my body had put into motion. Thus, that Father's Day of 1997 ended with a stay in the hospital. This was a very real indicator of how much it is hurting me even when I try to deny it. I am so thankful they were able to stop the pre-term labor, and that I had good friends to gather round me for support, yet that has never been an adequate substitute for having parents.
My mom decided with a little help from me that she wasn't speaking to me about a year and a half ago. It seems there is a level of control she wants in my life - such as the ability to dictate which family members I maintain a relationship with - that I am not able or willing to give in order for us to have a relationship.
The situation with my dad is a little different. There are siblings involved. There are my children's cousins. But still it seems that he wants little or nothing to do with me. I try to maintain this illusion in my own mind that it is my choice that keeps us apart - and then the facade that he no longer has the ability to hurt me with things such as hanging the pictures I send them of my children, their grandchildren, partially behind a door down a dark hallway while the similar pictures of the other children are in proudly on the mantle, with properly directed recessed lighting. (Okay, I made that recessed lighting thing up - but it sure seems that way!) I do not blame my siblings, but this has put a strain on our relationships as well.
So I keep a lid screwed pretty tight on that bottle. But then out of the blue, something very ordinary, will blow it off very unexpectedly. Yesterday I caught a glimpse of my feet and was overwhelmed with emotion. Minus the toenail polish with slightly softer skin, they were my dad's feet. I was thinking about the years as a little girl I saw those feet walking around in flip flops, driving the Pinto, the shape of the toes, the gait of their steps. Even my own feet betray me.