Sunday, May 08, 2011

Happy Seahorse Day

My dad died several years ago.
antique image, altered by me

I can't begin to tell you how much I miss him. Not a day goes by where I don't think of him, wonder what he'd think of something in the news, want to share one of the girl's accomplishments, or just be able to say hello and hear his voice.

antique father's day image in the PD

So much of what I am comes from him. I try to be fair, because he was. I try to listen to people, because he did. My love of nature, of books, of science, and history, all from him. He took me places, and showed me as much of the world as he could. He gave me a deep and abiding appreciation and understanding of our country and what it means to be an American.

antique image in the PD

He taught me to appreciate what I have. He taught me to always try to see the humour in things.

Ultimately, he taught me the hard lesson that life is far too short to try to change things that we don't have the power to change. This means that we owe it to ourselves to be as true to ourselves as possible, to be brave, to be good, and to do our very best.

So, on this Mother's Day, rather than focus on the negative (like why this isn't about my mother, for example), I want to focus on the positive, and thank my father. I want to thank all of the fathers and others who are mothers without the title;  who are caretakers and providers, who are listeners and supporters, often without thanks or recognition.

antique seahorse image, altered by me

Thank you. Thank you for caring. Thank you for nurturing. Thank you for listening. Thank you for your advice. Thank you for just being there. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
image in the PD, from here^, 
originally from U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Now, why seahorses? Seahorses are the only animal on the planet where the male bears and nurtures the young. It occured to me this past week, as I was dreading another yearly replay of "OMG I love my mother sooooooooo much", which I can't relate to, that seahorses are the perfect symbol to represent how I always feel in the days leading up to Mother's Day. They represent nurturing and caring by people in non-traditional roles.

 Spiny seahorse (Hippocampus histrix
from here^, used in accordance with  
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported
photo by Nick Hobgood^ 

If, like me, you find yourself unable to celebrate Mother's Day in the traditional way for whatever reason, consider trying to identify a person in your life who helped you, who nurtured you, who cared, who was there. And then finding a way to say Thank You.
antique seahorse image, altered by me
Happy Seahorse Day.



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