Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Trials of Parenthood

I live two-thousand eight hundred ninety-seven miles away from my childhood home in California. I am five and a half years away from that life I lived. I have grown into the person I am today surrounded by recklessly driven taxis and hovering buildings and the boisterous noise of New York City. I have let my curiosity and my will lead me through new experiences—awkward, ridiculous, creepy at times, but nevertheless my own. I’ve lived the ‘New York experience’ without preconceptions to steer me down a clear cut path and, instead, have floated from one opportunity to the next.

As a sensible vagabond, leading her life in rational ridiculousness and optimism, I have not sought support and even have rejected it. Whether this rejection stems from a lack of need or a more ingrained desire to prove to myself that I can be my own person, I don’t know. But no matter my almost forceful disinterest in this comfort, I know that it is always there, silently enveloping me. Its effects are invisible and unfelt on an everyday, casual basis, but arises full-force at the most uncouth times to remind me that it will always haunt me in the nicest of possible ways.

I do not know what to make of the subject of love, of love on any level and in any semblance of the word. It is a foreign, curious object, a cipher without a key. And perhaps in this city, which we all call home, love and its effects are even more intense, disastrous, welcomed, cherished; love is also a bigger mystery, elusive and uncertain. However, wherever I go, whatever I choose to do with my life, and whatever happens to me, there is one constant upon which I can always rely, and that is the support of my dad.

My dad has only wished one thing for me: my complete and utter happiness. He wants me to fulfill my dreams, whatever they may be, and he demands that I am my own person, inhibiting nothing that I desire to accomplish. He puts no constrains on my life and my choices and refuses to criticize my being, doing perhaps the hardest thing a parent can do; he has let me go to be free and vulnerable to the dangers that plague society. His trust in my sound judgment resonates in every encouraging word and every happy exclamation over my travels and undertakings.

Through his sacrifice, he has given me a better life for which he could never hope or have himself. Constant reassurances that I need only to focus on my studies or to enjoy my time in New York and abroad because he can always work twelve instead of ten hours a day are a fixture in my mind. Unvoiced worries and concerns kept inside to assure that I lead a life of my own chosen are transformed into newspaper article clippings sent through the mail, giving helpful hints about jobs, home maintenance, and finances.

Is he a perfect parent? Far from it. But I don’t demand perfection from my dad. Instead, I will always be thankful for what he has done for me and as it may be more thankful for what he has not done for me. No, I do not need support to be successful nor to determine my own path in life, but I know my dad’s support for me is unconditional, and for that I will always appreciate, respect, and never abuse it. Perhaps, here in New York, I am not so far from California than I had initially thought I was.

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