In a writer’s life it can become easy to not write daily. We can’t let it become a chore either. It’s supposed to be fun. For our creative selves it’s important to nurture that side of our core. It’s a strength in many ways. It fuels several aspects of our being. That’s why I’ve created this weekly writing prompt.
This week’s writing prompt is “How to practice forgiveness.”
I’ll share what I wrote first to help get you started. Check it out below!
The best memories of my father as a kid almost always included The Who. He’d drive me and my sister around Packanack Lake with the windows rolled down and “I Can See for Miles” shaking the sides of small Honda Accord. I loved those days. My hair wrapped around my face as my sister and I smiled at one another—our legs kicked up underneath us and we sang along with dad.
Those days around the lake seemed to last forever and blotted out the days when dad lost his temper. One time he accused me of causing a shower leak so big it tore through the downstairs hallway ceiling. He put me in my room for three days and said I probably caused the leak because I was too fat.
His rage often permeated throughout the house, and another time he picked my sister up by her shirt after he lost a Nintendo game. He said the reason he lost, “was because of all this laughter!” He scared us all the way upstairs into the bathroom where we took our evening shower in tears.
For years I never understood how one person could be so mean to his own children, but after peeling back the skin of his past, it all made sense. My father’s father passed away when my dad was 15. Arthur was a handsome man, according to Grandma Rose. His brown hair swooshed across his forehead and stood tall and lean. His eyes curved like a half moon when he smiled (just like mine).
One afternoon, many years ago in his hometown, Arthur had chest pains. He went to see his general physician who told him it was indigestion. And after his doctor sent him home, Arthur had a heart attack later that night, which killed him almost instantly.
After Arthur’s death, my father took on the responsibility at 15 of taking care of his mother and younger brother. He worked as a landscaper and then put himself through college and became a teacher. He met my mom at the Jersey shore and after a few years of dating they got married and lived in a small one-bedroom apartment with their cat, Fidget. Later, my father started an incredibly successful business, which put my sister and I through college. I never remember my father not working. Even today, after he closed down shop, he started teaching again.
Years later, we’d have thousands of differences—screaming battles. I’d ban him from coming to any of my sporting events and walk out on him a couple of times. We’d shout at each other throughout my teens and into my early 20s, but around 30 something changed. I started to see my dad as a human being who made some crappy mistakes—just like me.
The thing is, my father is no supernova. He’s a man, a whole human—one that gets pissed and yells at his kids and one that inspires them. Anything my father did throughout his life, he did whether he was poor or financially successful. He transitioned from teaching to business owner and back to teaching, and helped a damn large number of students along the way. He saved enough to put his children through college, cash. He dedicated himself to his family even during the hard times, even at the height of his rages.
I’m still upset with him for many things, but those ‘thing’ remain in the past, and I’m not interested in going back there. I’ve accepted that my father isn’t a cyborg. It’s not easy being a dad, and a great one at that. Even great dad’s mess up—even great people mess up.
Today we talk every day, imperfections and all.
This past weekend, I took a detour home. I drove around the lake, rolled down my windows in my silver Honda and blasted The Who’s “I Can See for Miles.” I thought about my dad as I turned around each bend, how he once told me to enjoy life’s little detours— how “there’s no rush.”
Now all that matters is the lake, the road in front of me, and this smile, curved around my eyes.
Your turn! Go!
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