“In American psychotherapy, the first question many practitioners ask their new clients is essentially, “What did your parents do to you to mess you up so badly?” One of my Japanese friends tells me that in his country, a therapist is more likely to ask, “What did your parents do for you? How did they nurture and support you?”
Without dismissing the possibility that your mom and dad did inflict damage on you, I’ll ask you to concentrate on the Japanese-style inquiry for now. What are the best things that happened to you when you were growing up? What did your family and community give you that you’ve never fully appreciated?” Rob Brezney’s Free Will Astrology.
this is a love letter to my father.
i told my daughters recently that when i was a little girl (maybe five years old) i thought i was going to grow up and marry you. i remember this so vividly. i can feel it: the overwhelming love. i believed that this is how my life was suppose to go: you was going to be my husband. i was concerned about mom. i worried she would be too sad. but i loved you so much. and perhaps that is how i understood that you would be mine forever. when i was five it wasn’t a metaphor. i really believed that you would be my husband. the girls and i giggle at my understanding of growing up. and i laugh because i was so astute! and they laugh because i was so silly! and both are true!
this is a love letter to you father.
you has always taken care of me the best way you knew how. you are a provider extraordinaire. you are a very hard worker. you began working in your father’s insurance business in your early twenties. yesterday you turned 68 and you are still working (and running) that business. you are dedicated and diligent. you are a people person. i remember walking around the mall with you, i was still young enough that i held your hand, and watching as you said hi to what seemed like everyone. you are warm and friendly. and i think you are a great boss. you have had many of the same employees for over 20 years. i greatly admire your skill with money. it is something i have yet to really figure out. you continue to help me, even though i am an adult, with generous gifts that bring great ease to my life.
this is a love letter to my papa.
you are funny. you laugh long and loud. you love to joke and tease. this was not always easy for me. when i was little i would sometimes run to my room and cry. i would hide my face in a pillow until mom came to find me. i didn’t think it was funny that you hid my dessert. and perhaps you didn’t know what to do with such a sensitive child! i appreciate your sense of humor now. and the lightness that you bring to life is a gift. my girls think your sense of humour is hilarious. they don’t mind when you offer them a beer or a hotdog (which they do not drink or eat!). they just laugh!
you are fierce. you can yell. (sometimes because you are scared or worried.) you can explode. you can swear. and fume. i don’t know for sure, but it seems that you can really let shit go. express it and move on. and not hold on to it. it doesn’t seem as if you hold too many grudges. and this is awesome.
you are a dedicated husband. you have loved my mom the best way you know how. i am proud of how the two of you have navigated your life. i have always willed for you to stay together. even when you fought. i realized that fighting and misunderstanding is a part of life. and it does not need to be a end to a relationship. i am thrilled that you have journeyed together in so many different waters. you take care of her and provide for her in the same ways that you do for me. and this is a blessing. i imagine that it must be hard to mom’s husband sometimes. i don’t know what it is like for you to have watched her all these years suffer such headaches. i have never heard you once complain. i watch as you try to buffer her world, to create a space where there is more ease and less stress for her. i watch as you love my mother and i am filled with awe.
this is a love letter to my father.
you are incredible during crisis. and sometimes i forget that. and so i call mom first. but you were the calm one when i called about car accident, or when i was pregnant at 23 and then had a miscarriage. you came to my piece about sexual violence. and you came running when my husband left me.
you are a private man. i wonder how you might feel at this public love letter. i hope you don’t mind. my eyes are filled with tears. i am filled with so much emotion.
i want you to know that i see you as a generous, ethical, dedicated man. i see you as a powerful, funny, strong man. i want you to know that i respect you. i think that i have learned many beautiful things from you. i am a strong fiery woman. i am creative. i am deeply caring. i am a strong supporter of community. i support local businesses, especially small ones. i love people, especially old people. i am funny! and sometimes i say the most outrageous things! i can speak french! so much of you has nurtured me! deep gratitude papa!
i still love you with the intensity of a five year old girl! but it’s o.k. if we don’t get married! ;)