Category: Featured

The picture had captured the image of a handsome 40-something-year-old man. A man who in the 1970's had entirely changed from the Catholic school boy he'd always been to the groovy, long side-burned, hair down to the collar, man with the mustache that was staring back at me. He’d been the father of my three daughters---the one I married in 1961 when I was 19 years old and who I had stayed married to for 30 years. The one who I always viewed as having a narrow perspective on life, as being black and white in his thinking and as being inflexible.

 

By Carmelene Melanie Siani

It was almost Thanksgiving and my daughter and I were going through old pictures.

"Look at dad!" she laughed as we sat going through the boxes I'd had them stored in. "He's got his hippy look on!"

I glanced at the photograph of my former husband that she was pointing to and out of nowhere felt a kind of emotional stab near my heart.

The picture had captured the image of a handsome 40-something-year-old man. A man who in the 1970's had entirely changed from the Catholic school boy he'd always been to the groovy, long side-burned, hair down to the collar, man with the mustache that was staring back at me.

He’d been the father of my three daughters---the one I married in 1961 when I was 19 years old and who I had stayed married to for 30 years. The one who I always viewed as having a narrow perspective on life, as being black and white in his thinking and as being inflexible.

I reached over and picked up the picture, holding it between my thumb and forefinger looking at the man in the picture closely. He was smiling, yes. But there was something else about the picture as well. Something I had never seen before.  Something that felt new.

"You know what?" I said to my daughter, more or less without thinking, "We had a great family life with your dad. We had all the things that a family wants to have. Vacations. Holidays. BBQ's on the weekends, knee-deep Christmas presents, grandparents, cousins...."

My daughter had stopped her sorting and looked over at me.

"I gotta' say,” pausing in that way that we pause when a new truth is about to make itself heard,  “90% of it was because of him. I guess I’ll always be grateful to him for that."

My daughter's eyes were brimming. “It just feels so good to hear you say that mom, like a missing piece has fallen into place.”

I knew what she meant.  It felt like that for me too. In looking at my ex-husband’s picture I finally saw something that I’d never let myself see before. "What I always complained about as your dad’s faults,” I told my daughter, "Were actually boundaries that kept our family defined and contained and clear.  They were a sign of his good character.”

My daughter’s father, my first husband, had actually taught me a lot about boundaries--about being able to say yes to this and no to that.  He and I had grown up together and he’d carved out a life for us in those 1960’s days when my only personal goal was to be a great housewife. More than anything, however, while he struggled to adapt, he also held his ground when the world beneath our feet was rocking with the societal changes of those very same 1960’s and 70’s.

I carefully put the picture into the box with all the pictures I wanted to keep.

"I'm gonna take this picture of your dad," I told my daughter.  I didn’t want to forget the new awareness I had in my heart---the feeling of gratitude for all that he had been, for how hard he had tried, and for how much I and his children had needed him.

“I think I should tell him what I’ve realized,” I thought.  “I think I should tell him---after all these years---how grateful I am to him. Thanksgiving is coming.  It’s a good time of year to do that."

Did you love this piece? Tip the author! Help support writers:  paypal.me/carmelenesiani1

Photo: Pixabay

Editor: Dana Gornall

 

Did you like this post? You might also like:

 

Meditating with Your Child

  By Shirley Wilson Imitation is the highest form of flattery, and that’s while children do it. Children imitate their parents because they want to be like them, act like them, and be included in their activities---even the quiet ones. You want to start the...

Death and Regret: None of Us are Guaranteed a Tomorrow.

  By Tanya Tiger I found myself sitting by her bedside, quiet, sad, and yet trying to put on a good face for her. She is my grandmother---94 years old, formerly full of life and full of pride in her appearance, now wishing she would die. It was painful to see her...

The Mind of Spring.

By Ty H Phillips I open the window to a warm breeze from the west; bird song bursts through the wind-kissed sill. I take a deep breath and pick up the scent of grass breaking through the melting snow. I am elated at the thought of spring and know that soon I will be...

Get Busy Dying: Reflections from a Hospice Buddhist Chaplin.

  By Joseph Rogers I have a sticky note on my desk, it reads: I am of the nature to grow old. I cannot avoid aging. I am of the nature to become sick. I cannot avoid sickness. I am of the nature to die. I cannot avoid death. I will become...

Help us pay our editing team!




Get the Tattooed Buddha in your Inbox!

Don't miss a post! Sign up to get articles delivered straight to your inbox!

Join 862 other subscribers

As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.