Growing Old, But Never Growing Up

Sometimes I feel as if I’ve been sitting at the ‘starting line’ my whole life, and have never heard the word ‘go’. Even though it should’ve been obvious, and even though someone might’ve said it, I…somehow, just never heard the signal to get off and running when it comes to my life, goals…dreams. In my mind, it recently occurred to me—struck me quite clearly, actually—that perhaps I’ve never been able to move on past my greatest childhood tragedy: the death of my dad. I’m still stuck at nine years-old, and very much afraid to face the world without my ‘Tribal Leader’.

Waiting…waiting, I have let so many years pass me by; yet I still sit…day after day, waiting for the words ‘go…make a name for yourself in this vast world. Sing your little heart out! Show them what you’re made of…out there.  Never stop trying’. Stranded within my own childhood innocents, the shock of my father’s sudden passing had left me spellbound, dumbfounded my entire life. Until…! Until it finally occurred to me, only a handful of days ago, that I am growing old and my time is passing.

Already…my children–born during my young-adulthood days–are grown, and I am a Grand-Mommy. My late-in-life Baby is already five, I’m on marriage number two.  And…still, I have remained a child…waiting on my Daddy’s truck to pull up in the driveway, coming home from work.  –Or for him to come in and tuck me in at night…and tell me, “It’s okay to let go and become what you were put on this earth to be. Show me what you can do. I believe in you.” Perhaps, if I’m lucky, I might hear Dad say those words in a dream someday.

For the time, I feel I am healing a little at a time just in writing this; admitting, realizing just how very traumatized I was when our world stood still.  –The day my Dad stopped breathing the air of this world. He was our strength, the head of our family, the one everyone came to see and the reason our house was always thriving with good company. My dad struggled with his own demons, like alcohol, and horrible nightmares of the days he was a Marine in World War II. I still remember hearing him scream like a scared little boy, dreaming of the terrible things he had seen in the war. He was so young then, back in those horrible days of WWII. Perhaps my dad never heard the word ‘go’ either; though…still, he found himself running. –Running into a life of adulthood, a wife and six kids to-come before he left us all. Like me, I believe my dad must’ve grown old before he grew up.

I feel this must happen to a lot of lost, traumatized souls out there. We wait for the word ‘go’. Somehow, we sit still waiting to grow up…just as life is passing us by. I have come to the brutal realization that I have been standing on the platform entire life, and never boarded the train. Time after time, I have let opportunity pass me by, without ever really trying. I know, deep down, I haven’t even participated when it comes to working towards my dreams and goals. My forever young mind, perhaps, is still stranded back in 1977…waiting for Daddy to come home.

Finally facing up to, admitting, this reality, I feel is just the first step in pulling myself up into the here and now of my life. I must be my own ‘signal’ to begin—I must say to myself, ‘Go…! It is time to be an adult, even though you’d like to stay safely locked away in childhood; in the days before he left you.’ I pray there is still time to find the ‘me’…I was always meant to be.

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