Today is my dad's birthday. My parents were very, very young when I was born and these days I feel like I am rapidly approaching their ages. Despite the chronological closeness of our ages, there has never been a moments doubt as to who the parents are in our relationships. My intense, vigorous relationship to a life of creativity may have born out of admiration for my mother's seemingly effortless ability to do anything, but I think it was my father that instilled in me the absolute certainty that I was capable of doing anything I decided to do.
"We are going to build a wall today, Jacqueline." "Sure, you and your sisters can stack seven cords of wood, as I chop it." "We will be taking the roof off today, you girls are to put all the fallen debris in the dumpster." "Here, paint the windows like this..." "Execute your plan with vigor and all will be good." To say my father is a man of strong will, would be an understatement. And, while some might think he got a lot of free service from minors.... these hard jobs, that we were expected to execute, were probably the best gifts that a parent could give a child. There is no thing that I am unwilling to try to do (even singing in public or climbing to high places - which are both very, very scary for me). Also, I am confident that there is someone out there that would teach me, if I couldn't take on the task myself. These two things are powerful things to know.
Gifts that carry us into the future, rather than gifts for immediate gratification, are the best kinds of gifts. So as I ponder what to give my dad for his birthday, I angst as I do every year. There is no gift in the world, for any price, that could demonstrate my gratitude for the gift of confidence.
Now, I have the certainty that although I have not yet finished the bonnets (7 out of 10 are finished however) I will somehow make a plan to finish them tonight, while making dinner, planning for the week, folding laundry and trying to "relax."