Every July sends me into a dark depressive funk. I flail around wondering why until I remember...It's almost July 9th. Once I realize what's happening, I give into the darkness until July 10th when it all seems to lift.
Days that change your life in a matter of seconds can do that to you. 36 years ago, my father and his driver, Buster (another man I loved and adored) died tragically in a single car accident. There were theories that my father had a heart attack and when Buster leaned over to see about him, the 55 gallon drum in Dad's construction truck lost balance and sent them off the road. There was talk of my father having lots of cash on him to pay back a loan and their truck being chased. None of that ever mattered. It won't bring my Daddy back.
What matters is that this July, the predictable darkness never descended. I was aware of the date approaching. I was ready for it to surround me and take me down. And it never came. Am I finally a grown up?
I know that the circumstances around my birth are not normal. I was a love child, the result of an 18 year affair ended only by his death. My parents adored each other. They were happy and treasured their moments together. Sometimes I wonder if that was because they didn't have to live together. But either way, I have a high standard for happiness in my idea of what a relationship "should" be.
I have experienced shame and rejection simply from being born. And these days, with all the baby mamas and baby daddies and no one getting married or respecting those bonds, I wonder if my parents were just ahead of their time.
And while I know my dad adored me, it kills me that I have exactly two photos of him with me. Two photos in eleven years!
The one above is my 2nd birthday party. It is also my earliest memory. I've written about that memory before:
We ate in the dining room. I remember thinking that we had never done that before. My sister, (future) brother-in-law, aunt, uncle, mother and father were all dressed up... which I now reason that it must have been a Sunday and not my actual birthday.
My father clapped his hands together to get my attention and held out his arms. I ran to him. He lifted me into my high chair. There I could see a cake with a clown face on it.
My mother was urging everyone to sit as she moved around the table pouring iced tea. She filled my father's glass and he took a sip. He looked at me, smiled and leaned in for a kiss. His lips were cold and moist and sweet. I decided I like iced tea from that kiss.
I did grow into quite a fisherman, always baiting my own hook unless Daddy wasn't looking. Buster would always bait my hook then because "a little lady shouldn't get her hands dirty." Buster would also drop me off at the movie theater if the fish weren't biting.
It feels good to remember them both sitting in the light of their love.