Today is July 25th.
I was born on this day 43 years ago to Judy and Charles Weems. They were first time parents, and I was a nightmare baby. They couldn’t sort out my formula, and because of that, my tiny stomach hurt all the time, so I’ve been told that I screamed, constantly, for the first year of my life.
That discomfort led me to spend every Friday night with my grandparents, Nana and Mac, to give my parents a break. Friends and family stepped in to let my parents have some peace, even if just for a little while….a few hours so my mama could run errands…and few minutes of rocking so my daddy could work a little later.
I apologized to my mama for that today, though, as I told her, it was the only thing I can apologize for of which I had no control. I didn’t mean to be a miserable infant. My tummy just hurt. It wasn’t a personal affront to them as new parents. I just didn’t have a vocabulary yet to tell them why I was so dang miserable.
For the rest of the stuff I’ve done to them in my life, I own.
All me. My bad.
And I’m sorry.
But I still feel a bit of guilt that, when my parents think back on me as a baby, a child they weren’t quite prepared for (Mama got pregnant 6 months after they married), but loved from the minute they knew I was to arrive, they think of me screaming my lungs out, and how hard it was in that first year.
It brings about similarities as to how I feel about the fact that my daddy chose to desert us a bit over a year ago, except his act was one he has to own.
He did it. He meant to do it. He was intent on doing it.
He left us on purpose.
I didn’t make the first year of my life miserable for him on purpose, but he made the last year of my life miserable for me on purpose.
And yet, he’s not here to own it.
So today, I sit here and wonder: Does my daddy know I was born 43 years ago today? Does he know I even exist or ever existed? Does he know what it meant to be my daddy on Earth? Does he celebrate my life in any way in Heaven?
Or is it just another day to him?
What is a day to him?
Are there any special days to him now?
July 25. March 3. November 23. July 20. July 9. April 9. October 15: all special birthdays. Or, at least, they were to him when he was here.
He didn’t do cards, but he called. Or he came over. Or he took us to dinner. He celebrated us. He let us know he remembered. He let us know he was glad we were his. He let us know it really was a special day. To him. Because we were special to him.
Now, does he know what day it is in Heaven when those special days come around?
Today, does he know that, 43 years ago, his firstborn arrived?
Does he even know he had a firstborn, and her name was Marsha Fondren Weems, and she had his eyes and his fair skin and his build? Does he even know that she would grow to adore him and want to be near him all the time, anytime, every time, and that she trusted him with her hardest stuff and was able to ask him her scariest questions and that she internalized each answer, and that she loved him so much that it made her ache to think that she may ever, in her entire existence, be forced to do life without him, no matter how old she was or how old he became?
Does he know how much damage his leaving way before he should have has done to her heart, her psyche, her body, her brain?
Does he know today is July 25?
Because if he does, he should know what that means.
And if he doesn’t, is he even my Daddy anymore?
I screamed for the first year of my life, and people came to his rescue, taking me from him to give him a reprieve, some silence.
Inside (and sometimes outside), I’ve screamed every day for the last year of my life, and though it is now beyond a year since he left, I continue to scream, and there is no reprieve.
There is no silence.
There is only noise….screeching, shattering, shrieking cries.
There is no break.
There is no rescue.
There is no answer.
There is no reprieve.
There is no formula that will settle me and make the cries stop.
There is just loud, cacophonous noise that goes on and on and on and on.
It is July 25th.
And my daddy should know that.