I Am Loved
It is an interesting phenomenon to have someone who loves you hurt you. The range was chicken noodle soup to bruises. They were good people, my parents. Each had their own trauma. I would like to think they didn’t know better. A police officer and banker. Ethics can be a sticky thing. But I knew they did love me. Odd thing to say some would think. Days I couldn’t go to school. The secrets that were kept. The darkness in an already dark night. And yet, there was love. Hiding under the blanket during a scary movie. Eating pretzels and mustard in the car (no food was to ever be eaten in the car). Snoopy lunch boxes that showed up as a surprise or the trip to meet Luke Skywalker at the local cinema. Love shined through the black and blue and moments of personal space invaded.
I adored my father. He was charming, loud and funny. He was the center of every room. He was a deep thinker and great lover of history. He had manners. I wanted to be with him. I wanted to make him proud. The more I succeeded and emulated him, the happier he was. I wanted to be good enough for his love and attention. He gave it. Sometimes like a parent should and sometimes like the broken man he was. I grew up thinking sex and intimacy were vastly different things. But love. Love was confusing. How did the unspeakable things happen and then the next day my pancakes were shaped like Mickey Mouse. The beatings were for my own good and so were the happy meals. Yet, I believe he loved me.
I am in many ways who I am today as a result of his presence in my life. Someone asked me once if I would change my childhood or any parts of my life for that matter. The answer is no. Bruises, broken bones and hearts all heal. We are stronger in the broken places. I am loud, a deep thinker and lover of history. I am often the center of the room. I love deeply and know that hurt is all part of the game. I understand that darkness exists to show us light and that we all do what we can to make others feel loved. He loved me. He made me strong. And chicken soup is still the greatest show of love to someone in need.