My father disliked how our society views children — as though they are less-than simply because they are new to the world. In his work in the theater you would see him after a show talking with kids of all ages. If they were little, he knelt down so he was eye-to-eye, if older, he stood, leaning in, engaged, open.
"....Regardless of age he listened more than he spoke and smiled readily, encouraging them to speak their minds, their hearts, acknowledging that their words, their feelings were meaningful and important..."
His views have been the bedrock for how I’ve always interacted with and treated our own son, Lex, as well as every other young person I’ve known.
I have photos of my father with Lex as a toddler. Lex is watching something on TV, sitting on the floor in his Pa’s apartment, and there, lying on the floor beside him is his Pa. On his level, attending to every phrase, exclamation and gesture that his grandson made, answering him with words, full conversations, knowing that what he said would be understood by Lex’s ears — no matter how small they still were.
I miss him every day. I am angry and devastated that he was robbed of the chance to watch Lex grow into the compassionate, funny, creative, insightful teen he is. The two of them would have been thick as thieves, my father would have been deeply proud of his grandson, and Lex would have brought him endless joy and laughter.
I am so very sad that this was taken away from all of us.
I wish every day that he was still with us to share the journey in raising Lex into the world.
Knowing his views of young people in this world — how much he loved and admired them, no matter their age — I am so very glad he is not alive to see the violence that continues to befall them. As much as I miss him and wish he was with us, I am grateful he is not witness to this.
It would have crushed him. Enraged him. It would have wounded him to his very core and left him…spent. Lost. Horrified to the point of utter bewilderment at how we let it come to this.
He was a deep, sensitive soul and this would have devastated him.
I know this not just because he was my father. Not just because I am very much his daughter. I know this because every time the news is flooded with stories like Sandyhook, Parkland — I see it through my father’s eyes.
And I cry —
I cry my father’s tears.
Where do I find the words to say? How do I teach him? What do we play? Bit by bit, I've realized That's when I need them, That's when I need my fathers eyes. My fathers eyes. That's when I need my fathers eyes. My fathers eyes.
Eric Clapton, “My Father’s Eyes”
#enough #nomore #walkforourlives
Melissa is an an award-winning author whose debut novel, Delilah of Sunhats Swans received a Five Star Review from Reader's Favorites and was praised by Alice Fulton, Guggenheim Fellow Poet, who said, "Delilah...is a charmer, a being blessed with a charisma as mysterious as it is luminous. You won't soon forget her."
She has written literary fiction, and unconventional, genre-bending YA that seeks to explore the lives of teens and young adults through the use of imaginative storytelling.
Readers have described her writing as "beautiful, descriptive language", "lyrical, lilting and poignant", with "characters you connect with and care about".
What a vivid, endearing portrait of your father and the unusual way he interacted with children. It reminds me of a parenting course I taught in the ’70s based on the premise “Kids Are People Too”—a maxim we too often forget. One intriguing element of the story is that you say your father was robbed of the chance to watch Lex grow. I hope you will resolve that mystery in either a comment or a future story.
Lovely story about your father. So sorry that you lost him, and that he didn’t live to see Lex grow up. He is still with you though, as you cry his tears and see the world through his eyes. Thanks for sharing him with us.
We actually had a prompt, last year at this time, for Father’s Day. Here’s what I wrote about my father. https://www.myretrospect.com/stories/father-and-daughter/.
He was a sensitive creative soul and we lost him way too quickly — a tale for another day — but I have his coffee cup and start every day with him, and Lex has a lot of my father in him…
Again, thank you for reading.