This post occurred to me two nights ago, as Brenda was singing a song that she wrote about her own growing up. It reminded me, in more decorated words, how I viewed myself in relationship to you as I was growing up. It occurred to me, like a flash, two nights ago. That I viewed myself for much of my life,in relationship to you, as a person whose shoes I wanted to fill.
The line that kept repeating itself to me on that night was:
I can’t fit into my dad’s size 10 shoes, with my size 8 life.
I wanted to fill your shoes as the man who appeared all knowing, big and magical. Who cared about us as a family, yet was totally committed to your job. That would pack us up to go camping, and fit everything in when it seemed impossible. Who had high expectations of himself, and me.
For years, I thought that what I wanted, and needed to do, from your perspective as well as myself, was to measure up in some way. I knew that it didn’t mean that you wanted me to be a plumber, like you. It seemed more broad than that, that you wanted me to create a life for myself that looked and felt a certain way. And, that a part of me wanted to do that, to please you and to have you be proud of me.
Hence, my size 8 never becoming a size 10. Like that was supposed to be the goal.
I don’t think that it was until only a few years ago, that I decided to stop trying to work to have you express pride in me, but rather knowing within myself that I had done my best work. Although I still wanted to share my accomplishments with you, I wanted to do that out of feeling good within myself about it. It shifted the way that I viewed you, no longer as a person who wanted me to achieve a certain goal in my life, but rather, as my dad who just wanted me to be happy and safe in this world.
Now, I get to admire your size 10, and appreciate it because it is yours. And, know that in my size 8 life, I am happy, healthy and working toward greatness every single day. And, that all size 8 of me came in part, from you. So you are in my life, and yet, I am living it in the best way that is for me.
It all makes sense now, and I just wanted to let you know that I have a deep understanding of being your daughter always, and a unique version of me, also, all at the same time.