and into the Life Box it goes.

Posted: October 27, 2010 in My Story, Part Four, Part Three, The Real Me
Tags: , , ,

My father always sends me a birthday card. Typically, I glance at it and trash it. This year, the card really caught my attention — so much so, I decided to keep it. I don’t think I’ve ever kept anything my dad gave me, mostly because nothing he gave me ever meant as much to me as it did to him. In fact, nothing he gave me has ever meant anything to me. I suppose, to be unfairly harsh, it’s too little, too late.

Shortly after forcing me into his family, he presented me with a gift. I would like to describe in great detail the presentation of this gift, which clearly meant so much to him, but I can’t recall. An excited smile and wavering voice play in my memory, but it’s possible that the incident was quite serious. All I really remember is that I did not share his emotion; this gift ignited in me a different kind of emotion altogether.

I learned, after I opened the gift box, that my dad had started keeping a charm bracelet for me years and years before. Each charm represented a place his family had gone without me, and now I had beautiful reminder that I wasn’t part of their family. (Even though I didn’t want to be, of course, but I still found it rather rude.) Quite insulted by the collection of national monuments clanging about, I took it as though he was brushing aside my life with my mom — my entire childhood! It was like the little dangly pieces were dainty reminders of what my dad thought I had missed, but I felt I hadn’t missed a damn thing. I seethed with hatred; “Obviously didn’t miss me that much if they clearly had so much fun the whole time.”

I held my hatred within and thanked him, then I promptly threw the offensive collection of silver into the bottom of my jewelry box, literally burying it. My dad was clearly a complete jerk.

Now, 16 years later, I see better what his intent was. He wanted me to know that I was loved and remembered all those years.  Did his life go on?  Of course — it had to, but he never forgot his only daughter, and he was trying to tell me that.  I feel sad that I wasn’t able to see outside of my own head. I feel sad that I honestly do not know what happened to that bracelet. It’s possible that it’s packed away somewhere.  It’s more likely that I treated it as the garbage I thought it was when I moved out of his house. I really don’t remember; I only remember hating it.  If I found it today, I still wouldn’t love it or wear it, but I’d definitely keep it.  It means love, even if it doesn’t quite know how to say it.

The birthday card was much more clear:

I see a young lady
out in the world,
following her dreams,
doing good,
and making a difference.
Then I think,

Hey, that’s my kid.
That’s my pride and joy.

Happy Birthday
to a daughter
who’s so inspiring.

And loved.

And though I cannot honestly say that I reciprocate the feelings, I am learning to appreciate — and to believe — his.

This one’s going in my Life Box.


  1. Thanks for sharing this. Many of us went through events in childhood or adolescence that might seem insignificant to others, but were actually pivotal in some way to us. Sometimes the spiritual turning point comes through memory, as you’ve described here. My childhood was strange, though not in some of the ‘typical’ ways. I had to cycle through many events from my youth in my memory before I came to the point of acceptance and freedom in my mid-twenties.

  2. Helen says:

    I said a prayer for you after reading this, Lainie. I can’t imagine how your heart hurts, but I do pray that you heal. Love, Helen

    • Thanks, Helen. I actually just feel sad about my own selfishness. I couldn’t see past my own pain at the time, and it’s taken quite a long time for me to even attempt seeing things from my dad’s perspective. I wish I could go back, but, at the same time, I know I wouldn’t do anything differently with what I knew at the time. It was just a really sad thing. BUT! It’s not over. It’s a story of glory; God’s taught me so much about His glory through my past… it seems I’m still learning. 🙂

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