08 July 2009

Importance of Dad

Last night was Claire's sleepover birthday party. Two of the guests were a pair of sisters over who didn't realize it was a sleepover. Dad (single parent) said he would bring them all their stuff later. So, later, the other girls all got in PJs and these 2 borrowed. Then they called Dad and the decision was made that the older sister would get a crucial stuffed animal and her toothbrush, and the younger sister would go home with Dad, who said he was on his way. I read books to the girls and everyone started to settle down, except for the two girls. The older one waited at the front door like a lost puppy, the younger one put on her shoes and clutched her clothes to her chest. They were so silly and at the same time so quintessentially girl. Read this poem from Crazy Woman Creek: Women Rewrite the American West, a book my father got me for my birthday last year.

Waiting to Dance
by Diane Kesey

Woman in waiting
Waiting in threes
Faceless on stoops
On steps, women waiting
Beside gates, beside the road
In anterooms, waiting rooms

Beside sickbeds, on beds of labor.
Waiting women, in windows
On kitchen chairs, waiting tables
Waiting by creeks, rivers, quays, queues.
Women waiting in line to see God
Women waiting in line to speak to God.
Women waiting in line to laugh.
Standing on their knees to beg.

Faceless women waiting by wheelbarrows
Waiting on their backs, on one leg, two.
Waiting with nose to the wind.
Waiting in court, waiting on horses
Against walls, waiting like
Buds on tender branches.
Like flowers drooping with thirst.
Waiting under willows.
Women waiting in the sun for the garden
Waiting for spring... the red tulip
Waiting to laugh too loud
Waiting for the sweet, piping music
Waiting for the dance to begin.

Faceless women in the camps
Waiting for dried milk
Women waiting for the ac to fall.
For the wolf at the door
Waiting for praise, blame, credit.
Waiting for hell to freeze over
Waiting for ice skates.
Waiting for their milk to come down
For their blood to flow red.
Women waiting for the hard rain
Waiting to dance, to sing.
Women waiting for the right train
Waiting until they've all gone by.

Yikes. Part of me even began this internal dialogue last night because of the time I have spent waiting. Waiting for babies to be born, for those same babies to stop nursing. Waiting for James to come home, waiting for him to go to work again. Waiting for the sound of the car. Waiting for the phone. Waiting for 'I'm sorry.' It seems like women spend so much of our lives in thought, watching for signs that something is happening, something is changing, something is occurring.

Those girls watching for their dad made me so sad. They are at the beginning of their lives, and there they are, waiting and watching. He let them down. They fell asleep waiting for him. He didn't come. The little one fell asleep on the couch with her shoes on. And I know I should cut him some slack, that no parent is perfect, that I don't know the details of his situation. But it pains me when I think of the disappointments my own kids have faced, and how painful it is for them, how no excuse or reason seems good enough.

How I thank God when I look around the blogosphere and read about these great Christian fathers. How I thank God for the man my husband wants to become. I am thankful he isn't content where he is, and that he is always hatching plans for improvement.