Sunday, June 17, 2012

"Yes, go for it"

Yesterday, sitting on my sunny deck with two friends talking about losing people we loved. One friend, who lost her husband this time a year ago, talked about how her teen-aged daughter had spiraled into a funk the past few weeks. "What's the point?" she had said to her mother when asked to clean up her room. "It only gets messy again."

Her mother continued to note how difficult, how long, so many days felt trying to raise a daughter alone. How she felt she had to always keep on top of two lives--her own and her daughter's--and make so many difficult decisions without another's trusted opinion. It all exhausted her.  

The daughter cleaned her room, but not after breaking apart.

"I miss daddy," she said. "He was the one who let me have dreams. He was the one who said 'go for it'. He didn't care about how messy my room was."

My friend's story reminds me of the different roles parents play--the mother focused on keeping order, of meeting responsibilities, of keeping on task. The father so often the parent who plays, who builds dreams, who looks beyong a particular moment. Many of my women friends are in the tenuous position of parenting without their partner. They struggle to raise their children to balance responsibility and all those practical things with hope, with vision, with dreams. They have to be a mother, and a father.

My father was my cheerleader, the person who encouraged me to strive for what often seemed unattainable. Certainly, my mother cheered me on, but it was dad who shaped the vision. He loved nothing more than gather his family, his dog, and his fishing gear, and travel east to fish the sea. This is where we talked, where we dreamed ourd dreams, for ourselves, for each other, for our family. I miss him. I miss his dreams.

Crossing Ocracoke Sound

Cormorants dive-bomb,
skimming up blues and other
chum churned in the ferry’s wake.

Ahead, the island where
we slept amidst sea oats
singing at higher pitch

than the gulls’ keen,
were we licked butter
and more from the others’

fingers, sweet crab claws.
One hunger sated we
walked into sky coral

colored, sure of night
and the next... now,
though, the engine thrums

deep through my soles,
constant with the sea,
your pulse, a memory.

Happy Father's Day to those of you who are fathers, and to those of you who listen to your children and say: yes, go for it.



  1. That was so beautiful, Linda. Beautiful and wistful and sad and wonderful. "Your pulse, a memory."
    I hear ya.
    Hugs and happiness and big dreams to you.

  2. Thanks sweetie. This day is tough for both of us. Peace...

  3. Beautiful as always.

    It really is interesting how so often (I don't know if it was always the case but nowadays it really seems to be) where the mothers are the "responsible" ones who take care of all the details, keep order and schedule, handle the money, keep house and are seen as the taskmaster. And as you said, the fathers play.