Sonata for a good man and for fatherless daughters

He left me with a houseful of daughters, who are very young and adorable with the world on their side.

In the face of adversity, we are not permitted to ask “Why me?” You can ask but you won’t get an answer.

Through the years, I’ve learned the hard way why some poems don’t rhyme and why some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle and end.

Life is a delicious ambiguity of not knowing, of having to change — just taking the moment and making the most of it, without knowing what is going to happen next.

The past years came and went, with hair-raising fears and loneliness,  with joy and pride that tumbled in every widow’s brain.

As an imaginer by trade and a weaver of tales, I’ve tried to create a vision of life for them in my mind.

I thought of four lawyers, four doctors or beauty parlors and boutiques, four writers and God forbid, four spinsters!

You see, your children are either the center of your life or not.

The rest is commentary.

Having helped in making them mine, I remember their arrivals, which still produced grave guilt in one’s motherhood, because we have ached for sons instead.

I have hatched them, till they’ve flown, watched them grow from babies, whose moves toward independence were baby steps that were excruciatingly oh, so slow.

Little children turned into young adults.  From diapers to a cap and gown for that law degree, Milkah, the eldest, taught everyone kindness modeled respect and sereness, and always looked rich and polished.

Through scrapes and scratches, indomitable they hurdled. One earned a MassCom degree, another an Economics degree.

Still, my fondest hopes were a pool of reporters that would outscoop me abundantly –  an improvement on the mother.

Raisha stumbles out of the door like one of the coloratura sopranos singing Neapolitan love songs — upbeat, positive, polite and intrepid.

Years back, they were little women whom I caught falling into the fierce tentacles of first love.

10-year-old hearts were breaking, sending convulsions that shook the whole house. They wept like Victorian heroines in unmeasurable anguish, despair and desolation.

I remember walking to the front door (instead of their father who’s been long gone) to shake the hands of their first dates — young men crippled with shyness.

Soon, I was walking them down into the wedding altar, stepping aside and outsobbing Niagara Falls.

Like a gypsy reading tea leaves, I saw them merge into unmanageable ceaseless demands, always banging on the bathroom when I was inside, bouncing on my bed while I was sleeping.

There was Natasha, the Christmas Baby — her father’s legacy, pleasant, thoughtful and generous.

Veruschka, the source of my joy and numerous excesses, always interrupting when I  phoned in my stories.

They could occupy themselves with friends, computers, malls, plays and concerts, husbands and work.

And just when I’m feeling grateful with some peace — that, indeed, there are mysterious depths in my fatherless daughters, which I need to fathom — someone erupts with MOTHERHOOD!

Their memoirs of their good father: perched on his lap, his kisses cured broken legs and bruised egos and gave strength on the dentist’s chair. He can veto their mother’s disciplinary impositions.

His expectations, hope and commitment to us were high. He gave us love, taught us reason and intelligence, made us feel certain we will succeed in any family endeavor,. He instilled in us qualities that are timeless, along with brains and courage: dignity, strength, dedication, wisdom and compassion.

Our marriage survival kit was simply a balanced life: genuine love, adaptability, flexibility, kindness and the imagination to read minds and anticipate each other’s needs.

Yet, I should have known growing old with him was too much to ask.

Father’s Day was a day of appreciation, respect and memories.

I can’t think of no other daughters on this God Green Earth who deserve it more, than those who had to give a father back.

***

E-mail Mylah at moonlightingmdl@aol.com

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