Tuesday, February 17, 2009

If It Wasn't For Them ...

On my office wall hangs a framed parchment with a line of hand-drawn hieroglyphics across it. Harrison, now in the middle of his freshman year in high school, gave it to me when he was in sixth grade.

This would have been the spring of 2006. His mother and I were separated and heading for divorce. The upheaval, the constant confusion and turmoil in his life more than likely seemed insurmountable to him.

In a span of weeks he was experiencing the kind of domestic hell I never thought I would allow my children to experience. His notion of Family was turned on its ear. Out the window went security and safety and because of the circumstances surrounding the separation and divorce, his view of me was more than likely altered forever. I was certain it was probably the first time he ever looked at me in a purely negative way.

But if I've learned anything in the last few years, it's this: children may be affected by our actions deeply, they are still more resilient than we adults. Their idea about love of family trumps everything and their measure of forgiveness has no depth. Curiously, many people I've known since childhood - adults - still remain estranged from me to this day.

So back to the hieroglyphics.

I started writing Surfacing when our family was still a family. I used to read parts of it to the kids while camping. I continued to write it through the ensuing mess and came out at the other side with a published book. Harrison, as part of a classroom exercise about the Egyptians, was asked to write something in the language of the people of that time.

He chose the word "Surfacing".

And I framed it and hung on my wall where I see it every day, a reminder of the many ways my children's support of me is a great gift. It humbles and it uplifts. It re-educates me whenever I see it and it says to me:

I believe in you.
No matter.

You're still my father.

Don't forget it.

Harrison Scott, at the book signing, September, 2007. With his old man.

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