GBE 2: Blog On
Week #132 (11-24-13 – 11-30-13)
I am inspired by love in the atmosphere.
I am inspired by kindness.
I am inspired by goodwill towards ALL mankind, not just those you know personally, not just those in your immediate sphere of influence. ALL MANKIND.
“Mom…don’t nag. I know, I know, I should visit with Dad more. But, our relationship is half his responsibility too!” I could see my daughter was upset. Visibly her eyes flashed and audibly her voice was beginning to crack. We had, once again, touched upon the tender topic of her father.
He is currently in remission from lung cancer, stage four.
Their relationship began tenuously. When I confirmed I was pregnant at the age of 26, with five years of marriage under our belts, he told me he was too young to be a parent. I became the overbearing, over protective, over indulgent Mamma Bear. Her father became the aloof, had to work out of town, wouldn’t take her with him to the ice-cream store unless his good friend also was relegated baby-sitting his son who was the same age. (Thanks Randy)
Disconnected, we cohabitated for many years. Holding small grudges against one another, disdain quickly permeated the household.
The divorce was ugly. We won’t go into that now, for this essay is about inspirations.
My daughter was thirteen and wanted to join in a function through school. Since those practices were to be held on the same day as her “mid-week” visit with her father, I told her we would have to make certain to get his approval. He didn’t approve. She couldn't participate.
She wanted desperately to be a cheerleader. After deciding she just had to try and making the “cut”, that particular squad’s coach quit. I volunteered to be a stand-in until they found someone. (three years later, they found someone) Upon meeting my diverse squad, I realized very quickly that accommodations had to be made for the emotional growth of these beautiful girls.
My daughter’s biological father came to a few of the games she cheered at. We encouraged her to go with him to dinner after the games. We encouraged her to interact with him. We felt a good relationship would be good for her emotional growth.
In the public school my daughter attended, nearly every child on that cheer squad came from a broken home. Many didn’t know one or the other of their parents. Some wished they didn’t know the parent they lived with, coming in with bruises. All needed loving attention. (I was given that large family I had wanted in my youth!) Shortly after accepting this temporary position, that paid me a whopping $68.45 per month, my daughter was moved up to the next level of cheerleaders and off my squad.
As a public school team, we used the uniforms on hand. (they were about 20 years old) Of the sixteen young ladies on the squad, two were not afraid to ask their parents for the money to buy new white tennis shoes. My wonderful husband never said a word when I happened to buy a “few extra” pairs of shoes. He helped me wash and alter uniforms for children we may or may not ever see again. He cooked dinner for our gaggle of geese; sixteen Black, Hispanic, and Asian girls often spent the night with their blond haired, blue eyed coach and her equally white husband. The girls would often play with my hair and tease me telling me I had “old white lady hair”.
My daughter now lives in her own home about a half an hour away from me. She and her significant other have often invited her father over, to which he has declined every time. My daughter works two jobs and her beau often works out of town. They have a spare bedroom and have invited her biological father to spend the weekend. He has always declined. He has never met her beau and to the outside observer, it appears he does not want to. He is in remission from cancer and does not want to reach out to his (to my knowledge) only child. How sadly selfish.
But, this essay isn’t about me….I was purely selfish in my indulgence. Working with those wonderful young ladies was something I wanted to do. They kept me young, laughing, and “in the know” about the local gossip. I was more excited to work with them than they were to have “made the squad”!
My inspiration was the quiet man who attended the games of his stepdaughter and whenever he knew about them his biological daughters, called his daughters diligently, sent money to his daughters so they could buy “themselves” something, paid his child support on time without complaint, went “without” so children he didn't know could eat the snack he provided before every game (we usually bought a peck of apples and a box of graham crackers for the players and the cheer squad to share), the man who urged me to spend time with my sister as she succumbed to cancer, the man who became more involved with his sister’s children when they lost their mother, the man who make certain I take care of myself so he will have someone to pester. I am inspired by the man who tries to make the world a little bit less harried for those around him no matter the hardship to himself.