I'm joining the Gypsy Mama for her Five Minute Friday Challenges. We write because we love words and the relief it is to just write them without worrying if they’re just right or not. No editing, no back peddling. We take five minutes on Friday and write like we used to run when we were kids. On Fridays we write like we believe we can fly. Won’t you join us? Today's subject: Listen.
We sat across from each other, sipping on lemon flavored drinks, eating cupcakes and queso--my mom and I. Father's day is this weekend and I could tell it was weighing heavily on us both, the seventh father's day he had been gone. We started to talk, to reminisce, to open up about the good, the bad, and the uncomfortable. We laughed, we talked about family history, and then my mom told me something I'll never forget.
'You know, your dad was a great artist, he just never let anyone know it.'
I stared back, mustering the only words I could, letting the truth of that statement wash over me... 'I never knew that... '
I knew my dad to be many things. He read Stephen Hawking (and understood him), loved to work with his hands and could teach himself to do just about anything, and was passionate about anything history related. He was logical, analytical, and demanded perfection from both himself and others. When I decided I wanted to be a singer and go to The Boston Conservatory, he was the one who lectured me on the dangers of choosing a career that provided no security.
And it was his voice that led me right out of that life.
Because I think for a long time now I've been trying to please my dad, seeking security and comfort over a life of passion. Trying to be logical, analytical, and steady-- except that in reality he was none of those things himself.
As she continued to speak, my image of him began to shatter. And in the shattering, a peace. I'd always thought I was too much, too different, too weird. I had often felt like a square peg trying to fit the round hole that was my family. But it turns out, that artsy personality I've been squelching all these years....I come by it honestly.
So if you could do it all over, would you both go after your passions?
I can see the answer before she says it.
Yes, I think I would. She nods slowly, eating a last bite of frosting.
She stares for a bit at our mashed banana cupcake that we've destroyed as we've talked, and I can see the truth in her eyes. Don't give up your dreams for what looks like security.
And for once, I'm listening.