At the beginning of the summer my wife, 2 girls and I went to a city park. I grabbed a fishing pole for my 13 year old to try and catch her first fish. We got a few bites but nothing that we caught. She indicated that she would like to go again sometime, especially with the connection she felt with nature.
For years fishing was my therapy. Every day I went. I could get lost in the experience to the point that catching a fish sometimes got in the way of a relaxing day!
The last few years I haven't gone at all. Between being unemployed and having a bad back I haven't even purchased a license. Sure I miss it...but I hope there are many days of fishing left in my future!
All summer I thought about taking her. There are only city parks close by and the success there is primarily small fish. I could continue listing all the reasons we didn't go. The heat, how busy she was this summer, etc....or perhaps you can join me in the crappy self incrimination I feel. Part of my own struggle....it leads to depression...guilt...anger....self loathing. It's a nasty cycle. Not asking for pity just offering what I go through as I battle this nasty disease. And folks that's what it is. A disease, brought on by circumstances beyond my control. C'est la vie.
I watch my beautiful 13 year old as she dances with life. She is still clumsy :-) but she tries so hard. As I have mentioned previously she is bullied, suffers from anxiety, depression, PTSD and possibly some of what I deal with while battling Borderline Personality Disorder.
There isn't a parent reading this that doesn't share my pain when we watch our kids hurt...and we can't take it away. It kills me. Eats a part of me away. The bullying we have tried to deal with but we are dirt poor in a very wealthy county. No real voice. Administrators don't want to deal with the wealthy. Some of the bullying is financial...some is like trying to make her cry, excluding her socially, saying downright mean things like "I wish you were dead."
You'll have to take my word here...but my daughter is the sweetest girl. Never a cross word (Well except with her 6 yr old sister lol) wouldn't hurt a fly. Empathetic, a good listener and just so solid.
But I see her hurt. Which causes me so much hurt. And I feel so powerless. So little to offer but my time and love...which I know is a lot...but...it doesn't take away the hurt fully. It doesn't fill the gap between our life and her friends' lives.
I always thought I would be the dad that was a hero to his kids. Especially my girls. The one they wanted to spend time with, be with and learn from. While that held true with the oldest and somewhat with the youngest...Jordan (Middle child) and I were the closest till about age 5 when her world, my world and my families world fell apart. Previously blogged at length but in summary...over 4 years...3 deaths, 1 debilitating stroke, loss of jobs, Mom hospitalized, Dad diagnosed with Borderline Personality, etc....which is where the PTSD comes from...she's just waiting for the next shoe to drop. Any thing that looks like it may fall apart brings the PTSD and Borderline out in her. Scares her.
Over the last several years I have sensed this distance at times with her. I immediately, as a Narcissist and Borderline, internalized it, blamed myself, figured she blamed me for all the misfortune. Perhaps to some extent she had blamed me for some and I probably deserved it.
One of the nastiest pieces of Narcissistic Personality Disorder...and there is a difference between the disorder (an ILLNESS) vs the Traits (Normally acquired through power and/or wealth. More of an entitlement) one of the nasty pieces is I don't always look past how I am, how I speak, how I think...how I express myself, never realizing other people are different in how they think and process emotions and experiences. Funny at times but a determent as well. I am a great listener but not always a great "hearer."
I've tried so hard to reach her. To connect. To be her hero. I know how much of an introvert she has become. How much she loves me. How much it hurts when I yell at her. None of those enter my conscious without a lot of work on my part. It's simply not natural for my brain to think like that...yet. I can become so bogged down that it immobilizes me. For all the DBT lovers this creates a paradox. I'm brought back to a place I don't want to be. This is the tricky part of mindfulness.
I know she wants to get better. She works so hard with her case manager and therapist. It's so unfair...if you asked me to pick one person I have ever known who deserves a break, some good fortune and mostly protection from this cruel world. It's her. Not being able to fully provide that just eats me up.
Yesterday I was sitting around mulling how hot it was compared to the forecast. The last week had been pretty mild and a few times the thought of taking her fishing had crept into my mind. I always could come up with a good reason why it wasn't a good idea. I decided I needed to take her fishing anyway.
Now...we were entering my area of love and expertise. We talked fishing on the way there...different types, different ways to catch them. Baits, lures, etc....We took 2 poles...one w/a plastic worm and one with steak tips as bait.
As I set the live bait pole up she began tossing the plastic worm. I was amazed by her casting skills....ability to troll the worm..work it up and down. No fish lol...but good technique (Not really a bass pond) So I tossed in a pole with steak tip as bait and sure enough we got a good strike but she missed it. Talked about tightening the line, setting the hook, etc....
We cast it out again and she held it this time. A Park Ranger wandered over asking if we had fishing licenses. I did not but because I wasn't fishing it was ok and KS doesn't require a license till age 16. Jordan is 13. All of a sudden I see Jordan almost get pulled into the pond and she was setting the hook and fighting a fish on Dad's old fishing pole. Not even open faced :-) The Park Ranger is saying "I hope its not a turtle" as the line is zagging all over the place I am thinking "Pretty damn fast for a turtle" (Knowing it wasn't). She fought the fish a good 3 minutes or so and finally got him to shore. I could see it was a big 'ol catfish. We got him in and he was probably 3-5# and pretty long...definitely a meal. Not too shabby for a first catch!
When the fish was safely up, I looked over and she had a smile on her face. Genuine. She obviously felt pride. She looked up at me still smiling.
Then it hit me....I am her hero. She doesn't need to convey that to me as much as I need to let her know she is MY hero. My love, my princess. Let her know she will always be Daddy's little girl. That I love and accept her for who she is and what I believe she can become.
Told you fishing was my therapy....
Jordan- I love you. I see who you really are. Please try not to let life beat you down. There is more beauty than you can imagine. I want you to see the mountains, the oceans...the grandeur God has left us. I don't want you to be afraid, too shy or scared to try. You have great things in store for you my darling and all I ask is that you dance when you can