Wednesday, December 24, 2008

bah hum bug.

As I walk into my father's house in Austin, I am surrounded by baby merchandise. Dropping my jaw and suitcase to the floor without shifting my eyes from this mountain of pink, I realize something so crucial it shatters me.

It's not just me anymore. It's real. Its change. And I hate change.

Change scares the crap out of me. You would think that after moving eight or nine times in sixteen years, I would've embraced this concept. After years of change in location, personality, friends, and scenery I would have mastered this concept so well I welcome it. You would think that after years of being best friends with detachment and my own emotional body guard, a new little adopted sister would be no big deal. I know you would think this, because I think this.

But we are both insanely wrong.

Don't get me wrong, I want this little girl to have a home, and I can think of no other people better than my dad and step mom who could could give her just that. But I'm not saying it'll be easy. That parts of it won't hurt.

All my life, through out every season, I have always been the center of everything. Or that's how I now see it. I've always been the one getting the most and best Christmas presents, always the one who got the special "Daddy-daughter time," which always excluded my mom, even when she saw him less than I did. It was always me he poured out everything to...always and only me who he took to breakfast, and I was always the one who got to sit in the front seat.

This is why it crushed me when he re-married. I love my new step mom, but she invaded our time. My time, with my father. A father who I've never (in my memory) have had any constant time with. Now she got to sit in the front seat, and I think that hurt the most. She took my seat on the couch next to him like I wasn't even there. And he let her. In fact, I was scolded when I took her seat. That hurt too. Now she came to breakfast, and he gave her gooey eyes, and it felt like I didn't exist. I felt like I was only there because divorce court said I had to be there. And he would tell me later he wanted me there, and I know he did, but why should I be there if I was playing second fiddle?

"Say we were on a cliff. And some evil villan said only one of us, me or Kamilla, could live. Which one would you save?"

These were the kind of questions I would ask my father one the long drives back to Albany from Austin. It didn't matter that I had always been his number one girl. All of those front-seat rides and breakfasts' at the local diner...they didn't matter anymore. The loved changed, at least the way he showed it definitely changed, and love just shouldn't change. Something was wrong, because change had presented itself.

I can compare these hurts to one single night when I lived in Colorado when I was in third or fourth grade.

It was dark and snowy and my dad had been gone for a couple of days on business. I was extremely anxious to see him. I've always been like that with him. For instance, one time when we lived in Seattle my mom and I were pulling into the driveway when I saw my dad had just stepped out of his car in front of us. I screamed with joy for him, and opened my door before we had even stopped or were close to him. I was just so happy to see him...

That snowy night in Colorado I begged my mom to let me stay up late and wait for him. She agreed. I made a huge tent out of my sheets and blankets in the living room next to the door I suspected he would come in. I had all my blankets, my new book I wanted to show him, and a picture I made during art class. I also had his favorite movie, along with his favorite foods, in my tent and little T.V. in case he wanted to watch it when he got home to relax.

I tied a string to my finger and the door nob, long enough that I could move around freely, but effective enough to where it would let me know when he was home in case I fell asleep.

That night I don't remember anything but his absence. Of expecting something, and it not happening. But when I woke up I knew he was home because I could almost feel the atmosphere change when he was home. My string had fallen off, and I had missed him, but I was not yet defeated. I raced out of my fortress, past the kitchen, and then tiptoed ever so carefully up the stairs to my parent's room. I tiptoed because even though I loved my father, there was a part of me that feared him. Or feared upsetting him I guess I should say.

My knock didn't wake my parents, but I could hear my father snoring. I remember sitting in the crevice of the stairs, holding my Jessie doll from "Toy Story 2" close to my chest, and feeling like I was home. My heart was at ease.

But soon my heart started to hurt. How could my own father go to bed without seeing me first? Was I no longer essential to him? Was I no longer his girl? I couldn't go to bed without him. How could he without seeing me? I began to cry. At first because of hurt, but then because I wanted his attention. It didn't I went downstairs to my room and layed in my bed, eyes staring intently on the space in my ceiling I was convinced my parents who dwelled above me were located. I cried for a long, long time. I screamed even, knowing that this tactic once worked and my parents would come rushing in to save me from my misery. But this time it did not work.

Why didn't he want me to feel better? Didn't he care?

But I've always been so desperate for him, so infatuated with him. I was his, and nothing could ever, ever take that away from me. But this night, I don't know what I did wrong to earn his disapproval and absence.
Now I can look back and see he was teaching me how to be a Big Girl. How to mature, even though it hurt and he knew how much I hated detachment. It was good for me.

I think this is about the time I started dreaming of Prince Charming. Of white dresses and candles and roses and everything pink. I wanted to find something else that would love me like my dad did before he decided I needed to be a Big Girl. Maybe I started to feel like I used up all my dad's love and I needed to move on. I'm not exactly sure.

In these days I do not remember my mother or anything about her. I can faintly see her painting the living room and building bird houses...I can see her watching as I crash my go-cart into a row of mail boxes and her being the one to fix it back together. I remember her building me a tree house...always doing something for me. but even more than those things, I remember the absence of my father and his presence during our weekly breakfasts'.

What is it about a father that alters the way we live? God takes on a father role yes, but he's also a mother, a lover and friend....but is his presence strongest as a father? Is this why it's so hard for young girls whose fathers have forsaken them to accept love? Accept God? I think so. That's my theory at least.

I've gotten used to having someone else on the couch with my father now. After like 5 or 6 years. I've gotten used to sharing the throne. I wonder what it'll be like to split the throne three ways. It was hard for me to split it two ways...and I think it was hard for him, too. But three ways?

I guess it's a good thing I'm learning to not be daddy's little girl as I am about to embark on my journey to college. But its so much change...maybe I'm getting better with this concept, too. I don't feel the need to bring up the cliff scenario to see how much he loves me, I know. The breakfasts' and movies, and long drives still mean the world to me. I have a dad that begs for me to be beside him, a father who truly enjoys and loves me. He teaches me discernment and tells me what I need to work on to be a better person. I have a step mom that widens my point of view and wants to be one of my best friends. I have a mother who drives me insane, but we love each other so much and she is always there for me, more than anyone else.

No, the holidays aren't normal this year. Not in one single way. Instead of getting books as presents from family we're getting baby clothes and strollers and things of that nature. My dad's usually over-festive house is bare this year. No shiny Christmas tree with presents crowding up the living room, no Christmas music, and no step mom here to make sure we acknowledge everything that is Christmas. She's in Ohio with our newly born family member, Bella, awaiting the approval of our adoption so we can take her home finally. It's Christmas eve and my dad and I have done absolutely nothing festive, and we are pretty happy about it. Back home, my mom and I still haven't made our annual Christmas cookies and I still have all of my gingerbread house ingredients taking up space in the pantry.

There is no snow, no big family, no friends to celebrate with just yet. We haven't watched any Christmas movies. We've been glued to our lap tops and books, leaving the house only to do some photography or run errands. Or got to the E.R.. Our minds are too heavily set on our pending future to do anything festive.

Sometimes I feel like Christmas is just so freaking fake. I know there are real meaningful meanings behind all the traditions Christmas brings, but everything feels so superficial. Christmas is all about getting to wear your super dorky Christmas sweater from Grandma without being made fun of. It's about all the music so cheery and cheesy after and entire month of it its just sickening. Its about being greedy or giving and eating so much your new years resolution has to be to lose weight. It's so ridiculous.

Thankfully, it can easily be more than that. Like for my family and I.

In the light of this new little girl, nothing else really seems to matter. Apparently not even the birth of Jesus.

Hah. We are such imperfect humans.

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