The Art of Acceptance

Rachel - New York, New York
Entered on April 25, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: family
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As we grow, we find that life does not come with a set of instructional guidelines. My reality; I was not born from equally sane parents. My mother is my rock- a true testament to what may be forged in the flames of determination. My father on the other hand, he is my enigma. I cannot reconcile his obscure role in my life, but I have an undeniable understanding of how my feelings towards him have morphed over time. We were always emotionally disconnected, but I somehow understood the complexity of his love for me as a child better than I did in later years. He was a man whom I did not know, but wanted to learn more about; a man who’s subtle yet promising approval meant the world to me for reasons I could not explain. As I entered my teenaged years, my opinion of my father dwindled. I began noticing excessively strange behavior- he became stiff and developed a terrible tremor in his hand. He would say strange things and his older age became embarrassing to me as it grew more noticeable. I felt our distance and my blind resentment grow. My bitterness turned to hatred, that was until I found out that my father’s behavior was a byproduct of his Parkinson’s disease. He was sick and I did not know it. I was flooded with guilt and regret, but I quickly taught myself how to cope with the situation at hand. I still fight with myself to keep equilibrium, thought I must confess it can be trying. It is hard to stay accepting when I have asked my father ten thousand times not to prance around in his old stretched out underwear when I have friends over, or to pick up his pants when he bends over because that is not a sight anyone on the planet deserves to witness. “Take notes,” my mother says lightheartedly in response to my exasperated frustration. “You’ll write a book one day.”

I have come to find that we all possess redeeming strength within ourselves that can be found whenever we wish to search for it. My father’s disease is something that has become incorporated into my life. I still have a promising future ahead of me that will offer an endless scope of possibilities. Life is not over, it is just different. It is okay to be human and battle what causes us pain. At the end of the day it is the acceptance found when we are ready to welcome it in that leads to true complacency, and in this acquiescence we find the beauty of life’s puzzling imperfections. My father and I now have a tradition of watching soccer games together, where we may not speak but instead absorb the love that can be found so densely in the mutual silence. There is greater importance in the time we spend together now that I see the situation in its ingenuous form. There is virtue in assent, and this I believe.