As a father and a daughter, our connection is unbreakable. Her mom calls it an invisible string that connects our family together. Nothing could ever sever that string. Nothing could ever come between us.
But human relationships don’t always fit neatly into the simple, magical world of a bond between parents and children. Strip away the biological mandates and that’s what you are left with – a human relationship. Two people, individual in their paths, sorting through ego and selfish survival and trying to build relationships deeper even than that which is naturally dictated by conception and birth.
That may sound cold, but I don’t look at it that way. I want to find that deeper connection with my children. I want to know them as more than just my daughters (though, that is a substantial ‘just’). I want to discover where our energy – the energy that I know connects all humans –spirals together.
That feels very warm to me.
Connections, though, are not always easy. And Bug and I sometimes struggle with ours.
She is five, going on six, still searching and growing and developing in every way imaginable. She is brilliant and thoughtful and powerful and all of that doesn’t always add up to ease and peacefulness for her. The timid yet combustible little girl of a year ago is slowly dismantling her timidity and replacing it with a self awareness that I would never expect of someone her age – one that I don’t often see in people my age. That’s got to be a hell of a burden for a ripening mind. Knowledge of self weighs more than any of our shoulders can always bear.
And I am flawed, as we all are. The ego that clouds my vision and makes me question my own worth is the same one that muddies my relationships and leaves me full of doubt and frustration. I want things to be simple and I complicate them. I want peace and I wage war. I want to move beyond my self-imposed limitations yet I remain all too human.
With all of that, I know what I am capable of. I know that I am on the right path. I know that the darkness only exists because there is just as much light.
We are so much alike, she and I. We generate so much light together, yet sometimes that light flickers. I see myself in her. I’m sure she sees herself in me. And I’m sure that she also experiences abundant joy and frustration as a result.
In these quiet moments where I get to sit and reflect on who we are together, I love that about us. I love our complexity. The moments, though, are not always quiet.
Sometimes she and I get those quiet moments together and we both get to see it, see what we are together.
A few nights ago, her sister and her mom had an appointment together and I asked her what she would like to do. She said we should go out for tacos.
(I told you she was brilliant)
We sat in our booth talking about the crucifixes decorating the one wall in back, the difference between odd and even numbers, and how to make tortillas. She colored on the back of her menu. We ate our tacos and decided that we both liked mine better. She showed me how she colored all of the even numbers on her menu blue because even numbers felt softer to her.
After our plates were cleared and the sun began to tuck itself behind the buildings down the street, we just sat together quietly, my arm around her, her arm resting on my leg. We didn’t need anything else and we didn’t need to talk about it. We were connected there, as we always are and as we sometimes forget and as we don’t always see. We were connected there, shining our light.
“I like you a lot, Bug.” I said to her.
“I like you a lot, too, Daddy.”