This I Believe

Haley - Western Springs, Illinois
Entered on October 2, 2006
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: setbacks
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A Growing Understanding

As a child I had never felt that the well-know cliché, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder,” had any meaning to it. In my mind, the thought of the existing knowledge and love that you have for a person couldn’t develop into something more.

In about fifth grade my family dynamics and stress level reached an all-time high when my father accepted a job in San Jose, California. A wave of shock ran into my mind bringing questions of, “I may have to move?” and “What do you mean dad will only be home twice a month?” The thought of it was unbearable. At first the change did not seem any different than a normal business trip until the concept of my dad missing my recitals, or him not coming to a big school assembly hit me hard. After awhile I had stopped counting the days until my dad would come home, a routine of not knowing settled in and was there to stay. I missed my dad greatly in those periods of not knowing, and I wanted to be like the other kids whose fathers ate dinner with them every night of the week.

The stress inside my household grew as the months ran by. Stress that was added to by the constant overbearing of divorced parents of my school mistakenly thinking that I needed support over my parents supposed “separation.” I did not let that bother me though since I knew that the parents did not UNDERSTAND my situation and eventually they stopped coming to call. My family had even started little jokes about how my parents were divorced and who would get the dog. I was able to keep in touch with my dad through emails and web-cam sessions though I still wanted to wake up and hear a, “Good morning,” from my dad. As the years went by I felt the need to take in as much about my father’s trips as I could find. I would study his destinations, trying to create a picture in my head of what he might be seeing. I wanted to feel like he was closer than he really was. I started to realize that he was establishing a new lifestyle for my family to eventually bring us all together. He sacrificed being at home with my mother and I to put our feet back on the ground. My respect for my dad grew through those times as he began to seem like a supporter more than just an empty seat. Now he is stationed at home and I can wake up and hear his voice and that gives me a comforting feeling.

My life now has changed due to my dad being home. He still travels a lot but now he can make it to my birthday and the odd parent open-house at my school. All those times of missing my dad’s presence do not seem like they even matter anymore since there is no longer a great space between us. I now understand and can accept, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.” The heart can love a person when they are constantly around, but the heart can miss and its love can grow for a person after some distance has been put between them.