I’ve long had a notion that we cannot come to a sense of our own adulthood outside of our relationship with the lives of our parents. We form early memories of a parent. We generate deeply imprinted patterns. We build our expectations. Reaching the same age ourselves as we remembers a parent brings us to acknowledging our own adulthood. This constructs the questions we have. The tests we find significant. The tools we bring to bear. All grow out of these early memories.
I’ve long felt that until I had reached my mid-fifties; the age my father was when these significant memories were laid down for me; I would not be able to convincingly inhabit the role of an adult. I could imagine, theorize, speculate on what such a role might entail; but it never felt true. This lack of conviction has been a legacy, more tangible than any property. An added risk factor of having an older father. Along with the possibility for above – or below – average intelligence or an increased risk of mental instability. These factors could have doomed me; but as of yet, none has been terminally dangerous. Instead, I now find myself at a point where this primeval gathering of resources has begun to take hold.
Better late than never”
I don’t face these circumstances with regret over the delay. Or concern over the length of whatever time remains. I come to this moment with a profound understanding that no shortcut would have brought me to this point.
Back to the Second of February, 2009. His birthday.
As if the largest gear on some ancient clock has engaged. Frustration and long-suffered impatience lift. My age ratchets into agreement with some inner imprint.
I can see how it all came to be. Celebrate the passing of this prolonged a-synchrony.
None of this is to say that his life and mine are to be any more or less likely to be similar. Some crucial stage has been reached. I’ve been freed from a profound sense of dislocation. Am discovering a hard won enfranchisement.
Happy Birthday Papá.