My dad was my everything;
I idolized him.

There was no one that could be higher on the pedestal than he.
Time and again, he'd pitch a ball to me and then retrieve it
when I managed to hit it.

I helped him wash his car nearly every weekend.
I was his shadow and he the image;
that as I looked up, blocked everything else out.
Nothing bad could happen when my daddy was around.

He didn't mind when I ran downstairs
and bothered him when he had customers.

Actually, he never hesitated to put me to work
bagging up their purchases.
When the day was done, I would sit on his lap
and count the money earned that day.
I loved helping him.

My dad also had a problem.
He was an alcoholic.

Before I was five,
I never knew that it affected our family.
I didn't hear my parents fighting.
I never saw him stagger around.

When he was gone throughout the night,
I never realized where he might have gone.
I know I didn't understand much
of what my parents and older sisters were facing.
I was the untouched child thus far.

My sisters were eight and nine years older than I was.
I had no idea that their play time with me
was really them protecting me
from the one that I looked up to.

I was just excited that for once that day
they were paying attention to me
instead of pushing me away.

I was five.

Who at that age
would have guessed
what that play time was hiding?

One day while watching cartoons,
with my chin in my hands
I was randomly kicking my feet through the air.

Everything seemed to disappear when Daffy Duck was on the television.
Every few moments or so, I would twist my hair in my fingers;
then go back to holding up my chin.

I heard the back door open and slam closed.
My senses heightened when I realized it was the middle of the day.
No one but my sisters should be home when Daffy was on.

In came my dad.
He was falling,
catching himself on the walls and mumbling quite loudly.
I was scared because this wasn't like my Daddy.

I ran to him yelling,
"Daddy, Daddy, Daddy."

At the same time as I was reaching him,
my sisters came bounding down the stairs
intercepting me with their arms.

Why were they holding me back from my dad?

"Let me go to my Daddy, he needs me!"
I yelled.

By this time, tears were pooling in my eyes as I struggled to get free.
I also noticed that my dad was saying some horrible expletives.

"No Cindy, he'll hurt you. You need to stay back,"
Amy, the older, self-acclaimed wiser sister cautioned me.
She was always trying to be bossy.
I wasn't going to let her get away with it this time.

Inching closer to my parents' bedroom to where my dad had escaped,
I peered in while saying to her,
"You let me go! He's my Daddy and he won't hurt me!"

I then noticed that my dad had a suitcase out on the bed
and was haphazardly throwing items into it.

I didn't understand what was happening,
but as my mind tried to grasp it all
my sisters pulled me back into the living room.

That's when I began to cry openly.
I continued yelling,
"Daddy, my Daddy."
Yet, he never came out to talk to me.

It wasn't long before my voice starting going hoarse
and both my sisters had me fully wrapped in their arms.
We were entangled together, heaped on the floor.
I was crying out, even as Amy was continuing to tell me
that she didn't want him to hurt me.
My other sister just kept agreeing with her.

Huddled together expecting the worst,
my dad came out carrying as much as he could.
Without looking back,
he walked out the door.

Instead of screaming,
"Daddy!"
I now was crying.
"He didn't even say good-bye, my daddy didn't tell me good-bye,"
I sobbed.

This horrible sense of loneliness came over me
as I watched my hero stumble and trip past us
carrying what he could and not caring what he left behind.

Those who refuse to deal with the past,
are doomed to repeat it,
re-experience it,
and relive it,
over and over.
2


I am my dad's only child.
My sisters belong to my mom,
but I am the only one that belongs to my dad.

I've heard it said that alcohol can play a lot of games with one's mind.
What I couldn't understand was how it could cause someone
to walk out on their loved ones.

That was the only time I recall seeing my dad incapacitated
and it was the first time I saw my hero fall.

He came back a few weeks later, sober.

He's not had a drink since.

He's not perfect
and he's slid off that pedestal a few times since then,
but I still look up to him.

He raised my sisters as his own and now,
into his 60's, he's raising Amy's youngest child, also as his own.
I believe all things come full circle,
since his own grandparents raised him.

Years after his last binge,
when I had enough courage to ask my mom about it,
I learned that he took all the money
and the only car with him when he left.

My mom was ingenious enough to "steal" back the car
and make do while he was gone.

Then she told me something I'll never forget.
"I found the hotel he was staying at, Cindy.
I told him that he could have his drink,
but not his daughter.

Or he could have his daughter
and not his drink."

He chose me. 1
May today there be peace within you.

May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.

May you use those gifts that you have received,
and pass on the love that has been given to you.

May you be content knowing that you are a child of God.

Let His presence settle into your bones,
and allow your soul the freedom to sing,
dance, and to bask in the sun.

It is there for each and every one of us.
Acknowledgements:
* From, "One!The Journey hOMe", the book by Klaas
Tuinman MA, ©2007-17
[1] -Daddy Chose Me - The Choice ~Cindy Lou
[2] ~Paraphrase on George Santayana
Life almost always, extends the grace
of a second chance to people
when they have earned it.
They in turn, have to be willing
to extend the same to others. 2
Dawn Cove Abbey
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