Happy Birthday Dad.
My bio-mom used to tell me all the time after the divorce that my father was a classic case of “still waters run deep” type of person, as was my grandmother. I was usually complaining that he didn’t love me and wished I was never born, you know all the usual melodramatic pre-teen and teenage girl stuff. I will confess when I was younger she had to explain what “still waters run deep” meant eventually I quit complaining because I grew up and started to spread my wings and wondering if my dad loved me was low on the list of things to get sorted out. Hello 8am classes in Tallahassee winter mornings.
I do remember the first time I think I really believed that my dad loved me. My other mother and I picked out a nice new shaving set for my dad as his shaving mug was looking a bit worse for wear (it was 20 years old and well a bit ugly). We went to this fancy shop that had very nice sets with the mug, razor and neat little tray for all of it. My mom wanted me to help pick one out as the sad sad mug was one I had given him when I was a baby as a Father's Day gift. Hence the ugly, hello 70s styles. We picked one out and when they left town I went back and bought it ( with a lot of help from mom) and wrapped it up for Father’s Day.
Gift open, thanks given, me on the road to back to school life seemed pretty good and I was happy that my dad had a new fancy mug to look at every morning. I was in total agreement that the old mug needed to be replaced so I felt quite proud of myself. On my next trip home (free laundry must be done) my mom asked if I would return said gift. That dad while thankful we thought of it was quite happy with his mug and had yet to unbox the set since he opened it.
I of course asked why he was so averse to using it, and she told me that he liked his old mug, it was still usable, so there was no reason for such a high priced gift. I didn’t think much of it as I returned it just that I had failed to get a good Father’s Day gift and was going to have to up my game the next year. But the more I thought about it the more I realized that he loved that mug because baby me gave it to him and like myself he won’t tell you he cares, but he holds onto a few items that represent that love. I also only figured this out because at that same moment I was dusting my tiny NASA piggy bank that I had gotten as a child when my grandparents came and visited us in Houston.
As I grew older and had my own relationships both romantic and platonic I realized I was the person who now represented “still waters run deep”. Guess that gene went from my grandma to my dad, to me and I can promise that none of my good friends would ever come to me for an emotional response to a situation, but will call none the less because they know I will be there and I will care for them in my own way. Both my husbands had to learn how to navigate the still waters and come out on the right side of the feelings, not so easy when the person you are with has a hard time sharing any emotions both good and bad.
I also realized that after my dad’s death I have held onto a few things that seem silly but came from me to him and now I hold onto them so I can hold onto that love that is now gone from this universe. Yes, one of those items is that ugly shaving mug, it is still ugly, but it makes me smile and safe when I look at it. I also kept the sailor smurf that my mom found while cleaning out the office. I took him on my trip to Maine, as it was dad’s birthday and Maine was one of the places he wanted to go and didn’t make it. My hope is that he checked in on me and enjoyed the beauty of Maine and if not maybe this childish figurine was there for me to feel like he was with me.
It is a hard world to be "still waters run deep" person as the world has become a bit more feeling. Not a bad thing just a fact. Thankfully for the people closest to me they get me and my logical non emotional response to the world. I do envy people who can share and feel in the open, but that isn't me and I am finally ok with it. I am also ok with being the crazy single woman with Smurf taking pictures on a very slow run.
Do you have any random nonsensical items that you hang on to remember someone no longer here, or maybe a fond memory of a fun event or a different version of yourself that you don’t want to forget?