Our most meaningful relationships are also our most complex.
I think we are most vulnerable and tender because we are attached to the outcome and that outcome is we all have the need to be loved.
That is the universal common thread in all of us.
It starts with our first love, which is our parents.
Our mother and father.
These are the first beings we meet in the world and they set the foundation for our experience of love. Not everyone’s experience is universal and the role of a ‘mother’ and ‘father’ can take on many different shapes and forms.
Every year as Mother’s and Father’s Day rolls around I have a quiet reflection. As both of my parents have passed I take the day to reflect on them and my relationship - past and present.
This past Father’s Day… was a little different and I will share why.
I was excited to see that my new favourite show, My Next Guest with David Letterman on Netflix had a new season starting.
He was speaking with Ryan Reynolds and the discussion of fathers came up. I always believed what you're looking for is looking for you.
This topic was what I have been looking for, for a very long time.
The question to Ryan, “do we ever really know our fathers?”
Was he really who I thought he was?
There is a shroud of mystery behind the man.
Something inaccessible about the father figure.
Something we crave, want to obtain and never quite reach.
Do we really know someone or is it what we imagined?
Do we ever get the really deep conversation of:
How are you, REALLY?
How do you FEEL?
Like a sense of never really knowing this person that has incredible power, as well flaws, that we never can discuss fully.
The moment changes when we lose them.
Perhaps when we are the age they pass or the age they have us.
We start to relate to them as human beings.
It is then we can start to understand and relate?
We perhaps begin comparing ourselves and how we are more the same than different.
We either try to be like them or decide early on to be completely different and to never walk the same path.
Do we somehow feel mad that they die and that some things are really never said?
That was a punch in the stomach…I never realized that the emotion was, yes, mad that they died. That's it…no going back and now trying to put the pieces together without all the clarity I need to get the full picture.
Ta Dah...a lightbulb moment.
The good news is, there really is no clear answer who my father is or was. It is how I feel about it now that matters and to find peace and acceptance is the only way. I know my father would want that for me.
What I found to be so fascinating and truly comforting is that it’s not just me feeling this way with so many questions about my father.
Is it a coincidence that Ryan Reynolds was speaking about his relationship with his father…or just this Saturday, I was listening to an interview with Jane Fonda, who is now in her 80’s, who has made peace with her fractured relationship with her late father, Henry Fonda.
Jane spoke that when she did the movie with her famous dad, On Golden Pond, life mirrored art. Her dad was dying in real life and they, to that point, never talked about how she felt like she was never good enough for her dad. All she wanted was to hear he loved her.
Jane explained that it was at that time she learned he would never change, and that we really never do. Her father was never going to give her what she needed, so she gave it to herself.
Jane told her father what she needed and accepted he was not able or would ever be able to give it to her.
The world works in mysterious ways…another coincidence that this interview was playing to me at that moment. I like to think of it as another message being sent to all of us. If you can not get what you need from others, give it to yourself. That compassion and understanding is something that comes with time.
Do we ever really know our loved ones?
It's never too late to try to find out.