He left me a houseful of daughters — 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, why some stories don’t even have a clear beginning, middle, or end. That life is a delicious ambiguity of not knowing, having to change; just taking the moment and making the most of it, without knowing what is going to happen next…in gratitude to destiny.
The past years came and went with hair-raising fears and loneliness, 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 that still produced grave guilt in one’s motherhood, because we have ached for sons instead. I have hatched them, until they’ve flown. I watched them grow from babies whose moves toward independence from excruciatingly slow.
Little children, into young adults. From diapers to cap and gown for that law degree, Milkah, the eldest who taught everyone kindness modeled respect and serenity, and always looked rich and polished. Through scrapes and scratches, they hurdled: one with a Communications degree, another in Economics. Still my fondest hopes was a pool of reporters that would out scoop me, abundantly an improvement on the mother.
Raisha stumbles out of the door like one of the coloratura sopranos singing Neapolitan love songs and arise…Upbeat, positive, polite…intrepid.
Years back, they were little women that I caught falling into the fierce tentacles of first love. When 10-year-old hearts were breaking, sending convulsion that shook the whole house; weeping like Victorian heroines in unmeasurable anguish, despair and desolation. I remember walking to the front door, instead of their father 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, out sobbing Niagara Falls. Like a gypsy reads tea leaves, I saw them merged into an unmanageable ceaseless demands, always banging on the bathroom, when I was inside, bouncing on my bed when 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 without end with friends, computers, malls, plays and concerts, husbands and work.
And just when I’m feeling grateful with some peace that indeed there is mysterious depths in my fatherless daughters, someone erupts with — motherhood!
Their memories of their good father are perched on his laps and a kiss that cures broken legs, bruised egos, strength on the dentist’s chair, who can veto their mothers disciplinary impositions.
He had that uncanny saying just the right word and to whom. His expectations, hopes 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, having instilled in us qualities that are timeless: brains and courage. Along with courage, dignity, strength, dedication, wisdom and compassion. Our marriage survival kit was simply a balanced life — genuine love, adaptability, flexibility, kindness, imagination to read minds and anticipate each others needs, yet I should have known growing old with him was too much, to ask.
On Father’s Day, It was a day of appreciation, respect and memories.
I can’t think of any other daughters on God’s green Earth who deserves it more than those who had to give a father back.
E-mail Mylah at email@example.com