This morning did not go as planned, but thinking about it I never value the days that do. It is only when the unexpected wobbles life off balance that anyone, me in particular, makes an effort to find perspective. And with a voice constantly searching for meaning I sometimes find myself thriving the most in the unanticipated. This was only slightly the case today.
I woke up with plans to take my father to the airport. An agenda set in motion months ago and after much health delay finally appeared as if it would happen. We would arrive early, he would board the plane, and at last, months prolonged, meet his grandson. On the other end of the runway my sister, the new mother, would be eager and prepared to introduce the two important men in her life. Unfortunately health never seems to agree with flight schedules or predetermined plans. So instead of waiting for him to land I am sitting and waiting to hear from the doctor. Over three months ago, when all the heart worries and out of sync rhythms began I was able to keep it together. We were in a hospital room with constant attention for a week, and while everything was out of my hands their capable efforts eased my fears. They would fix him and we would move on. Today reminds me of a lot of things, especially the winter holiday spent in a hospital room, but mostly of love.
When I was really little I thought by the time I was old enough I would somehow marry a man just like my father. A little girl’s idea of what love is taught to her by her best friend and father. I wanted to be as lucky as my mother and part of me knows this notion faded. The only man I have ever known who has accepted all my failures and continued to push me, never once finding a flaw and abandoning me as broken. He listened, even when I had nothing to say. And encouraged every passion I expressed a second of interest in, even if it fluttered away in the next second (to which he would usually respond by pushing me to try harder). For a long time I thought he was inevitably going to ruin my chances at love. That no one could match him and his unconditional kindness had somehow shattered any potential true love I could have out there. A part of me still believe this may be true, but the larger half of me has found his nurturing has simply raised my standards. Expectations can be met as long as I never lose love for myself.
No one can show you how to love or even who to love. But my father comes close every time he looks at me, with a silently proud eye that reminds me I am worthy. Worthy of my own love, and someday the rest will fall into place. That’s all he has ever asked, constantly demanded of me, to see myself as he sees me. The imperfections may prevent me from doing this on a daily basis, but today I am reminded.
We are not defined by those who we choose to love, but rather those who let us love ourselves.
Today my father’s eyes show mostly heartache, both a physical pain and emotional distress. An honest epiphany of things important in life, one I share in. If he looks in my eyes though he will see something else, he will see the eyes he gave me – the ones that will reflect the love he deserves.
My eyes are love.