Just the other day tears sprinkled my eyelids while hearing the song, Inseparable; my heart leaping with my mind thinking: me and daddy. I am his adopted daughter, from the day I was born. His name signed, sealed and delivered on my birth certificate.
As crazy as it sounds, he was more of a mother to me than my biological mother who also raised me with physical care. My dad bathed us, bottle-fed us, read bedtime stories to us, shined our shoes, played and gardened with us, Sunday hiked with us, made our swing set, club house, and doll beds. Best of all, put us on his lap to drive our car up the driveway. Us being his three children. While I was in college, he wrote thoughtful weekly letters to me.
Dad is the nurturer…what a man is not supposed to be in the1950s and 60s. My mother was the organizer. Even respected John Gray, author of Men are From Mars, Women Are from Venus, (1992) portrays men and women far apart in the way we are as male and female. Not so in this 21st century.
As crazy as it sounds, I have regressed into some of my past lives during therapy sessions, crying as I image myself as daddy’s wife, or lover, or black son of my black father. Inseparable.
So, as I danced ballroom, latin, and argentine tango this past weekend at a hotel hidden in the natural beauty of the Catskill mountains; I find myself drawn to a man, there with his wife, occasionally dancing with her. Our eyes meet as I approach him and he meets me on the dance floor. Then, a wisp of a thought of daddy. Marty is very rhythmic and a creative leader.
Later, as crazy as it sounds, I wait to see if he’ll dance with his wife, then walk to his table and his wife looks up at me, “yes, you have my permission to dance with my husband.” I respond with a startled look, “I have to ask permission?” We laugh that nervous laughter which knows that is passé.
After our 4th, 5th, or 6th dance, alternating with other leaders, I ask Marty, “How long have you been married?”
“66 years,” he responds. After a joined smile, “Then you must be 86?”
“Well you’re in great shape and I hope I will be as vibrant when I reach your age.”
I ask him how old he thinks I am and to please be honest! He hems and haws, then says 50. Higher, 60. Higher, 65. I tell him I am 71 and like to say how old I am so I can get used to it, be proud of it, as I feel as if I am in my 30s. I’m surprised to hear his reply:
laughing, “I could run away with you!”