Letter to an Absent Father
(from my daughter)
* * *
You’ve planted a beautiful garden, rich in vibrant vegetables and fruits and flowers. You’ve watered and weeded, you’ve cultivated, you’ve transplanted and nourished and cherished the growth of positive, powerful, beautiful Life.
We’ve had to build a strong fence around this garden, because careless feet trample fragile new growth and greedy mouths love to “harvest” your crops long before their time, destroying their potential and wreaking havoc at every turn.
The garden has always had an open gate- latched against careless feet, but never locked to those who tend the garden, care for its plants and for its Gardener.
You’ve grown a beautiful, healthy, strong, enduring oasis that stands apart in a wasteland of empty parking lots and concrete jungle. The seasons will come and go, the sun will shine and the rain will soak, and this urgency, this emptiness you feel is the vacancy of being able to share the bounty of harvest with your biological father.
You’ve grown strong: as a martial artist, as a wrestler, as a soccer player and as a runner. You’re light and fast, quick and agile, responsive and graceful: in loss or in win, it is one of life’s greatest joys to see you participate in your own dreams.
You’re an honor student: working hard and studying hard, not for the grade- not for the test- but for the sake of Learning well. This is a life skill, this is sacred. No academic subject could possibly teach the common sense, the structure, the intuition that you’ve cultivated by apprenticing yourself to The Process.
These are the Middle Years. Notched between the formative years of elementary school and childhood, they hold the potential for you to unlock your passion in life, find your purpose, your drive, your understanding of What Moves You.
The emptiness that you feel is the absence of your father, in this Harvest season. I cannot and will not ever fill that void for you. The greatest gift I could offer you as a small child is that of choosing a life partner who would always be there for you, mentor, provide, care, support and care- but never try to fill that void. This space kept intentionally blank.
The Universe knows.
Every tear that you’ve cried has run like acid on my skin. Every sleepless night, every empty chair at your events, every broken place in you has an equal and opposite fractured place in me. As your mother, there is nothing I wouldn’t do to shelter you, protect you, heal you… and yet. There is a greater Good: that is sitting with the emptiness. Acknowledging its existence. Tending the garden, living life to its fullest EVEN as tears fall. Even as your heart breaks. To fill that void in your life would have covered the garden completely. Blocked all rain and wind and sun. Stunted growth and eventually prevented growth altogether.
Plants need wind: they need to be buffeted and pummeled and hardened. Plants need a little too much sun and imperfect soil. They need rain that drives them to their little plant-knees, bending their heads and causing their roots to strain against the very soil that holds them, nourishes them.
They grow taller, stronger, better… because of this adversity.
You have grown taller, stronger, better. Because of this adversity.
Your words are heard, Daughter of the Universe. They are carried on the wind, etched in every sunset. You are understood, you are known. You are not alone.
The Harvest will come, as it does in every season. Your friends and family will work side by side with you, to bring in the bounty of all that you’ve worked so hard to achieve, to grow, to build. The gate is unlocked, the harvest season in full swing. The empty space is held and recognized.
Always know that you belong to the Universe. You are not bound by parking-lot, concrete jungle rules. You are More. You have chosen love in the face of emptiness, you have chosen Light in the presence of great darkness. You have become that light.
This is my commitment to you: to provide you with all that you need to be this Garden, this Gardener. To stand back and let you grow, and fall, and get back up. To hold this responsibility as my first, last and only obligation: I will be here.
- Your Mom