When I was growing up, my father was very busy traveling for his work at the Chase Manhattan Bank. He never attended any of my school plays and missed my high school and college graduations. I understood why he couldn’t come, but I still felt sad. So I was especially pleased when he came to my maiden book talk last Monday at the College of the Atlantic. He is now 98 years old, and everything he does takes more effort now than when he was of parenting age. He arrived with a walker and edged his way into a second row seat, flanked by a cousin of mine, and another good friend. The message I took away from the event was that it’s never too late to show you care.
Yesterday I almost didn’t go to my nephew’s 35th birthday party. It required an hour’s transportation each way to get to the designated beach on an island. I knew that many other family members would be there, so what difference would it make? Would he even notice? I wasn’t too eager to be social, and I thought I might just take a hike instead. But something gnawed at me, inside. I didn’t put it all together until my sister-in-law sent me the picture above. At the last minute I changed my mind and joined my family. I’m so glad I did.
When we arrived, my nephew, who stands six feet tall and is built like a bear, held out his big arms and enveloped me with warmth. “I had heard you might not come and I was disappointed. It really means a lot to me that you are here.”
My heart melted. I remembered back to when I was his age. I was living in San Francisco, on the opposite coast from most of my family, and they never showed up on my birthday. It was a familiar refrain of my father’s absence. The pattern was so ingrained; I could have continued it without much thought.
Changing family patterns takes more than thought. First, it demands consciousness, to recognize what has become a pattern. Second, it requires tuning into the feeling as it was in the old pattern. Finally, it comes time for choice.
When I tuned into my own feelings, I knew I didn’t want to repeat the pattern that had been passed down to me. My nephew matters to me and I wanted him to know it. I don’t live in the same city or state as he, but showing up on his birthday is a way of honoring him.
By changing the pattern, I not only made my nephew and me happy, but my action somehow softened the memories of missing my father. By changing myself, I forgive him for all the times he wasn’t there for me, and focused on the present. In feeling my gratitude and love, it recycles a new pattern of radiant abundance, just like a rainbow.
What patterns would you like to change in your life?
Dear Mrs. Eileen Rockefeller,
It is a pleasure and honor to meet you. Thank you for taking the time and energy to write your book. I have ordered it, and looking forward to its arrival.
I love what you wrote concerning “It’s never too late”. I believe this to be so true!
To answer your question above, there are definitely new patterns I would like to create in my life.
Thank you for raising the topic of “Personal Growth”…In my humble opinion, this is an important and critical subject. One where I find people are either gravitating towards it, or away from it.
Could you please explain how you would like us to participate the “reply” box? Will this “reply” be for your own personal review? Or for the general public?
With Warm Regards,
Judith A. Meyncke
Dear Judith, Thank you for writing. I’m heartened to find kindred spirits in the domain of personal growth. I am hoping through my posts to create a safe space for anyone to share their own stories. Community is a necessary part of growth, even if it is virtual. So please share in whatever you feel comfortable. You are reminding me that it might be good for me to set some ground rules for sharing this virtual community.
So so true; I would like to take the time to talk to people more. I lose contact a lot because people don’t speak to me, without thinking, ‘hey, why I don’t call them.’ Relationships are give and take, and I forget my role in making communication work. I am a lot like my dad in that sense, we are too okay in our own solitude.
Dear Alice, Isn’t is interesting how we find parts of ourselves in our parents, even ones we wouldn’t necessarily choose? Good for you for being so conscious. This will allow you to make the choice of how much you want to be like your father, and how much of you wants and needs to choose communicating differently, as a way of connecting. Thank you for doing so here.
What a beautiful, true, post…and lovely picture of you with your Dad. Congratulations on doing your maiden book talk…and for it to be so auspicious and such a confirming continuation of the message of your book. Love, Cindy
Thank you Cindy. It was indeed a day to remember.
You are correct! You must look to create your own memories. You’ve taken them and made them positive and empowering. Thank you! Love, Susan
Hi Susan, Somehow I missed your response until now. Thank you! I hope you are enjoying some of your own memories and continuing to make ones that support you.