Responding to a request:
Publicly over-sharing: Not my nature, but a little bit of supporting back-story is needed for full appreciation.
My first psychology class was in high school. It was offered on a limited basis to the seniors--and I had to get in. I wanted to get the goods on how people worked and what caused them to do what they did--or not. I wanted to understand the psychological tangle I came from and if I was ok, or would be. I wanted the answer to human motivation because certainly, I could get through if I just understood how it all worked. Turns out, it wasn't so cut and dry and while I walked away with more than I had when I walked in, it turned out to be something equivalent to having been given a bucket with which to measure the ocean's volume--in quarts.
One afternoon, Mr. Day introduced the thirty of us to "Nature vs. Nurture" and as he began thoughtfully unfolding the oragami of this topic, I thought, "By Jove! Tell it Man!! Don't hold out on us!" Later that week, I'm a little disappointed that my Calculus teacher seemed to have more answers to my "whys" than Mr. Day. You mean it's not exact? It can't be graphed? It's not fully known? What the hell do you mean it's like the chicken and the egg roundabout?
Certainly, by now, I'm not so frustrated by the notion. I've got 4 children who keep me entertained with the mile long equation with too many unknowns to solve that Nature v. Nurture presents.
I knew my father until I was four and a half. I knew him. I also practiced remembering him and all there was to remember about my life to that point as well as my brain at that stage would allow. I did not have permission to speak about my father openly nor behave as if he ever existed beyond some summer evening in 1975 when my mother came back after nearly eight months of "away" to I didn't know where, and re-conned me 250 miles away without so much as a word to anyone but her mother and new beau. My father returned from a trip to the auto-parts store to find his mother unconscious on the floor and me missing.
My mother knew my father too, only different. She fled with her life from a Vietnam War torn marriage and hope for a better one. I was left with an internal monkey puzzle missing half the pieces, and a mother who was white-knuckling all the marbles she had left.
That same senior year, an intrigued friend of mine handed me my father's phone number over a study hall table the day after I'd whispered my story to her. Twenty-four days later, I hugged my father again for the first time in 4,861 days--he had been counting. That was also the day I met my sister Darla--ohhh, the foreshadowing. She was a cheeky ten year old whom I would not meet again until she was a twenty-something married mother of one. Darla knew him like I did, only better.
Thirty-two days later, a blood vessel in my father's brain burst and killed him in his St. Louis living room. He was 40, I was 17.
Now we get to the soft answers to the hard questions we ask of God. The longer I live, the more evidence I collect regarding God and his impeccable and beyond-reproach,, often comedic, timing:
Fast forward to two Saturdays ago.
The characters: My 17 year old daughter, "The Big One", 10 year old daughter, "The Middle One" and, 4 year old daughter, "The Little One".
The Big One is trying her hand at mowing the front yard. For her, it's still a somewhat novel way to earn pocket money if my husband is under the weather. Her apparel, not enviable to most indigents: a faded, once black, Smurfette t-shirt, nylon shorts circa middle school P.E. and battered green Converse high-tops, doodled upon with blue Sharpie--no socks.
The Middle One and the Little One are spectating from the front porch's sidewalk--still in their pajamas, Sponge Bob and pink with green froggies, respectively.
Now, watching another person mow a lawn is not generally worth watching, but the Middle One caught wind that the Big One was concerned, and rightfully, that the proud parents of the baby robins in the smaller tree (the nest at head level dontchaknow) were going to make it their business to keep trespassers at bay.
It was the Tag-Team-Kamikaze-Event of the year for those birds. Head hunkered, The Big One is pushing the lawn mower as fast as she can, scouting the sky like a tweakin' out Secret Service Agent ready to go AWOL.
The Middle One and the Little One are watching with a great deal of interest when the Middle One gets inspired and disappears into the garage and emerges wearing one of two bicycle helmets, placing the purple one on the Little One's head.
According to my sister Darla, who had a more "pieces" of our father than I did, the Middle One is "one of us".
She said so through a shared fit of stomach cinching laughter that comes from the deepest knowing that cannot be explained.
"Same hard drive," she said grabbing breath for words "upgraded software. That's one's Vista, we're '98."
So, the Nature part isn't so bad. It never really was.