Wednesday, September 7, 2016
Finding traits on the road to survival
September 9th is my father’s birthday. September is Recovery Month. What do the two have in common – almost nothing. Except, that my father believed he could “cure” Riley of “that problem” if he could be alone with him for about a month. Daddy was old school. I have heard tales of him being greatly depressed after having lost his best friend during the War. The depression led to some heavy drinking. It didn’t last long because his newlywed bride, my mother, threatened to end the marriage if things didn’t change. He stopped right then and there and drinking was never an issue again. Yes. He did drink, but never over-indulged again.
With five children and several cousins being in his charge, Daddy was often overwhelmed with frustration. It seemed to all of us that he was all-knowing and was almost clairvoyant about what we were doing. Telling him a lie was bound to end in unpleasantness. He was never violent because he didn’t have to be. He had a certain look of disapproval that you always hoped was intended for someone else.
Besides being strict, he was also a bit of a comedian especially when taken aback by something one of us said or did. When he was exasperated, confused or surprised, he would place his open hand on the upper ridge of his nose, just under his eyes, and bring it up his face. He stopped and rubbed his eyes, still open handed, then continued to his forehead and the top of his head. Then he would take his hand down and raise one eyebrow and say “Whaaaat?”; Or sometimes, “Have you lost your mind?”; Or, some other expression of astonishment.
I understand that hand movement. Without even realizing it I seem to do the same thing. I guess I’ve been doing it for a long time but just didn’t notice it.
The other day Riley was being especially needy. He needed the picture of the dog to be moved a half-inch further from the television. He needed a new bottle of water so it would be there the minute the current one was empty. He needed the sheet pulled over his feet. He needed to know if I had called anyone about a supplemental Medicare plan. He needed for me to order him something from QVC. He needed… he needed… he needed.
After the first 3 “need requests” I found myself. Placing my hand at the upper ridge of my nose and imitating my fathers hand movements.
It is gratifying that I have inherited some of my father’s traits. It makes it easier to cope with whatever is going on at the moment. My father’s incredible work ethic, overwhelming perseverance, positive attitude, exude strength without violence, intuitive but logical reasoning, and ability to forgive, are traits that I wish to add to my bag of things I have received from my parents. Just like my blue eyes and reddish/blonde hair, I am my father’s daughter. I just don’t understand why I couldn’t have gotten the curls…
All of the traits mentioned above have led to my being able to survive my journey down this fork in my road of life. I haven’t achieved all of them to the level that I want, but it’s a continuous worthwhile effort. All things considered, the road I’m on is a short road that only seems like a million miles long. Yet, I’m more than just surviving, I’m thriving. And although I may be frustrated and exasperated at daily instances, I am basically happy.
The road to happiness can begin with an examination of the traits you have, the ones you want, and having a goal of achieving what you believe you lack. Once you have identified the traits, you can move forward with putting them into your everyday life. At first, this survival thing isn’t easy but it will get easier. When you aren’t even looking you may end up being happy and thriving in spite of your difficult road.
at 10:54 AM