Thursday, August 11, 2005

Interview with a Vamp - Part 4

4. What is your strongest childhood memory and how has it shaped the way you currently live your life?

I'm in second grade and my mom is serving as the assistant librarian at my elementary school. While I wait for her to finish her training, I wander the playground. Large oak trees take up residence in the far corner of the school's property, and it's here, surrounded by massive trunks, that my strongest childhood memory materializes.

Growing up the bastard child of a sailor, being raised by an abandoned and heartbroken woman and her new husband is something of challenge for a child. The history is spelled out in black and white, but the emotions attached to the story are really too mature, thus quite abstract for my adolescent mind to comprehend. Rather than wallow in the misfortune that was my birth, I romanticize the man I do not know. I imagine him sailing the high seas, dreaming of the daughter the never knew. I begin singing to him:

"Daddy where are you, I'm here where you left me
I'm not so far away that you couldn't come home.
Daddy you love me, I know that you want me
I'm pretty and smart and I'm waiting for you."

I'm singing those lyrics over and over, wrapping my toothpick arms around the trunks of a surrogate oak. I'm dancing steps I imagine a ballerina would envy, twirling euphoric as the sun moves behind storm clouds.

Though my daddy did not come to me, the realization that a child's love is so pure and strong that she can love a parent she's never met has shaped the way I view not only my childrens' relationship with my ex-husband, but my relationship with children. Further, by accepting at a very young age that it is NOT okay for a parent to abandon their child, that it is NOT a pain that a person ever outgrows, and that in spite of never having met him I love my dad, I am able to live each day without him, as a whole person. The child inside me still sings to her daddy, but the grown woman encompassing her can harmonize and kiss away her pain.

Tomorrow's (Last) Question: No food or drink in the world is bad for you, gives you cancer or makes you gain weight. Give us an example of what a daily menu would be like in the Bug House.