In past articles I have tip toed around my relationship with my youngest daughter. I am in the process of repairing and really re-defining it, but it won’t happen overnight.
I love her dearly and wish I’d been able to share with her what was happening in my innermost thoughts, but I couldn’t, or at least, I didn’t. This cost us both the opportunity to be a lot closer when she was growing up.
I knew how I felt inside. I was struggling against the dysphoria monster eating me alive. I was almost caught a number of times wearing my wife’s clothes or experimenting with make-up when she or a daughter came home sooner than expected. Somehow, they never suspected.
My fear of being discovered was all encompassing. I knew I would lose everything, so the stakes were high. My youngest, Chrissy was everything I wished my life would have been when I was young. She was beautiful, had many friends and a sense of style that I wished I could have shared…but how could I? I felt if I showed interest in her clothes and make-up that would be creepy at a minimum and telling at the worst.
So I distanced myself from her…to my regret. I have always loved both daughters more than life itself. I have made mistakes as a parent that I wish I could go back and fix, but that ship has sailed. Instead, we are working on getting to know one another and redefining the relationship we have, after all, I don’t really fit the “dad” role anymore! We are making new memories.
One thing that has been peculiar with Chrissy for almost as long as I can remember is her eyebrows…it would make her physically react to have her eyebrows rubbed against the growth…from the outside in. Even if her sister or I were to do it to our own eyebrows, Chrissy would turn away. I never knew why…and like an idiot, I never asked. Until recently.
My mom passed away in 1992 shortly after Chrissy turned 6. My mother adored my daughters. I wish with all my heart she would have lived a little longer so she and Chrissy could have bonded more. That breaks my heart. She loved her too. Chrissy related this story to me over Christmas:
When we visited grandma in the hospital for the last time, she had suffered a stroke and couldn’t speak clearly. As we were wrapping up what would be the last visit with her we would have, she kissed us all goodbye and then she took her finger and gently ran it along my eyebrow…from inside to outside…as a last reminder and a private message just between me and her.
That was the last memory she has of my mom. I never knew. I cried then, and I’m crying writing this. That simple gesture summed up my mother perfectly.
I never heard that story before last month, partly because I had never asked and partly because of the emotional walls I permitted to exist between us. But I was smart enough this time to shut my mouth and listen and what I heard warmed my heart and helped me share in another memory of my mom.
I also now understand why that bothered Chrissy so much when one of us would tease her by running our finger along our brow outside in. Rest assured, that will never happen again. It also helps explain why when every time I see Chrissy, her eyebrows look exquisite.