They say things happen in threes. Sixteen years ago, within a three-month time span: I began a new job I loved in corporate America, I became pregnant with our first child, and I lost my dad to cancer.
Happy, happy, sad.
With the new job I began to grow in ways I hadn’t anticipated. I managed a group of highly motivated associates and over the course of the next decade with that company, I grew new wings.
As much as I loved my work-role, my mother-role has been enormously rewarding. Today, between being a mother and a writer, my wings have grown from those of a sparrow’s to those of an eagle’s. Many days, as I sit back and watch my boys or ponder a new piece I’m writing, I feel as if I’m soaring with the wings of an eagle.
But my dad always told me I had angel wings.
I remember craning my neck around in my overly pink bathroom, turning circles like a dog chasing her tail, trying to catch a glimpse of my wings in the mirror.
I knew I didn’t really have angel wings. But one can never be too sure, especially when Dad would say it with such conviction.
It was through his conviction, and my desire to believe, that made me look. And then look a little harder. How many times in life have you wanted to believe something (or someone) so fervently that you looked and looked for what you ached to see, only to become blinded in the process?
It happens to the best of us. Of course, I speak from experience.
But after you blink away the blind-fog, rub your eyes, and blink a few times more, you see What IS. You see the truth of a situation. And if you’re the type to learn from your dog-chasing-tail self, you will eventually stop spinning, steady yourself with a few cleansing breaths, then place one foot in front of the other as you create the new course for your life.
One week passes. And then another. And before you know it, you only have a vague sense that you were spinning at all. The old scenario in your life, the old habit, the old whatever is now in your past. You have moved on, feeling lighter, so light you could lift right off the ground—with the wings of a sparrow, eagle, angel, or no wings at all.
Despite my dad passing away when I was 29, I honestly didn’t know him very well. And he didn’t know me all that well either. But we shared a mutual love and respect for each other. And a love for the art of story-telling and fantasy. Perhaps fantasy that was born on a pair of white angel wings with soft, pink tips.
I am who I am today because of my father and my mother, because of the lessons from which I’ve chosen to learn, the stories to which I’ve chosen to cling, the jobs, friends, books, movies, and anything else I could dream of listing which I’ve chosen to give my attention, energy, and awareness.
Take a moment today, Father’s Day, to honor your father for what you’ve learned from him. And honor your mother. And honor the stories, jobs, friends, books, and movies that have helped you grow into who you are today.
And honor yourself. You are an extraordinary teacher.
Open your wings and F.L.Y.
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