Sunday, November 18, 2012
I didn't realize how seriously watching "The Little Princess" with Shirley Temple - really watching the whole thing would affect me yesterday morning. It really shook me to the core. It brought up a lot of deep stuff from my childhood and my life for that matter.
I have seen this movie at least 20 times in my 45 years. Always I have been entertained by it, warmed by it, and generally felt good by watching it. I was yesterday without a doubt, until when she found her father and he was all muddled and dazed and then he came out of it and yeah - remembered her and bamm - happy ending!
When I re-found my Dad as a teenager I was happy, but getting forgotten repeatedly for other peoples children when you have your own, and set aside and left again over and over again gets old and less easy. Forgiveness is easy. Regretting forgiveness is difficult. And when it happens over and over and over it is maddening!
When my Dad's parents died, my grandparents whom I love and cherish now and forever, until the day I die- my Dad labeled himself an orphan. I am sorry - I don't believe grown ups are orphans when their parents die, they are adults whose parents have died - correct me if I am wrong!
It surprises me, given the way he feels about the absence of his parents through death - that he never considered his own two beautiful children who loved him more than words can express, whom he left so easily and seemed to forget about and smoke weed and party and travel across the country with his money and his love with his friends and his friends are the world, but where are they now - dead, gone, living lives that do not include him. One postcard, no phone calls, gifts he said he sent that never arrived.
The people who love you when you are a princess, then leave when you are living in an attic with no heat or food. Fair weather friends never there til the end! Like I said, it made me feel really sad.
Thankfully, there are people, kind people to remind you that you are still the princess that you were. The ones who see the light under the smear of ashes and fear. The people who love you and have been there not just in words but in actions.
Hugs from the son who feels your pain, wipes your tears. Makes you smile. True words from an old lover telling you that you were and are the best person, friend and lover and they have never found anyone quite like you even after 15 years, someone who listens to your words, lets you cry, feels your pain and tries to claim the blame when they don't own it and truly understand your need to just say the words out loud so the pain can go away. Someone who doesn't just call to say, hey are you okay, but calls from outside your house to make sure you are and who makes sure you are okay!
Don't get me wrong, I have put my kids second once or twice. Mainly as a single parent working too many hours out of town for the bigger bucks, but they had pre-arranged care with their dad or my parents, I always knew where they were and they always knew where I was, there was always food and the house and clothes were clean and we were organised.
The bonus was when I came back - and I was home every night regardless - I was sometimes too beat to cook dinner so they got treated to restaurant food more than not! It was necessary - believe me I carry the guilt for being away from them - for time away when I was ready to lose my mind if I stayed around another minute, for something stupid like a man, but not to the point of neglect and abandonment. I am not proud of it but I accept that I did it. They were away from me on their excursions more than I have ever been away from them!
They point it out - remember when - yeah but they know that I was always right there if it was a man, making money if it was a job, coming back if it was a retreat. They never had to wonder where I was or guess if they would ever see me again. I would call them and they would call me - anytime - they were priority one. That is the difference. They hate it when I point out that entire summer you left to go stay at dad's and I had to find things to do alone!
I love unconditionally. I am blessed and cursed with that ability. It is difficult now that my father is 66 and tries to put me in his "mother" role. I have to tell him - I am not your parent - a bit confusing as a daughter. Especially a daughter who has been left behind more than once. I just hope the next time I watch The Little Princess that this is all behind me and I can once again enjoy one of my favorite Shirley Temple movies!
To growth and love and acceptance! Here, here!