Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Why I need to buy The Little Mermaid

I remember the first time I saw it. I was 10 and my real dad took me to the theater. My parents were divorced and he was on one of his (then) very rare clean and sober sprees. I remember the day so vividly because when King Triton gives his daughter legs so she can live happily ever after with her Twue Wuv, you can see how much he loves her. And how much the love is reciprocated. I remember this because my dad leaned over to me and said “Someday I hope that I can be that for you,” or something to that effect. It broke my heart. I loved my dad. I (even at the tender age of 10) understood that he was sick, and I wanted nothing more than for this little statement to be true. I wanted him to get better and I wanted to have the kind of dad that all my other friends had.

I wanted to be Ariel. In fact, every time I went swimming, my friends and I would always play Little Mermaid. And since I had the longest hair (and almost red), I was her. I would jump as high as I could, flinging my hair back out of my face, just like Ariel does when she becomes human for the first time. And for those short hours I was her. I even sang “Part of Your World” in my 5th grade talent show. (If I can find a picture when I get home, I’ll post it, because it is hilarious!)

The years went on and The Little Mermaid came out on video. I watched it until I wore my first copy of the VHS tape out. One day my friends decided they all wanted to watch LM. I was terrified. Because every other time that I’d watched it, I had been alone. Allowed to sob uncontrollably as the words my dad had spoken to me echoed in my head. Reminding me that I hadn’t heard from him for the past month (again). Wondering if he was in jail, in rehab, or worse. ”I want to be that for you.” I tried to hold it all in. By then, my mom had met my step dad and were engaged. I shouldn’t have wanted something from someone that wasn’t in a position to give it to me. My friends all knew what was going on, but they saw me as happy with the new situation. And I was. I still am. I love Glamorous Dad. He is a great man. But every little girl needs her daddy. So, as hard as I tried not to, the sobs escaped. And I was teased mercilessly. Because no one ever knew why I was really crying. Why the Happily Ever After killed me each and every time I watched it.

I’ve never told anyone why until right now. And my dad has been sober for almost 10 years. We have a strange relationship to say the least. There is kind of an unspoken “I’m sorry,” from him and “It’s OK from me.” Because it was a sickness, and he’s tried to do what he can since then.

Sometimes it makes me sad that my kids don’t know my dad. Because now he is a fabulous man. And I know it’s got to kill him that he doesn’t know his own grandkids. But they are not old enough to understand the ramifications of it all, and I’m not ready to put my kids in that predicament. Because they know GD and he is their Pa-pa. Someday I’ll be able to explain it all to them. And someday maybe we’ll be able to go visit my dad and I’ll be able to introduce him for what he truly is.

But until that day, I’ll just let it be. Instead, I’ll make a special trip to semi-civilization to pick up the collector’s edition of The Little Mermaid. Because you never know when you’re going to need another copy.

12 comments:

BSG said...

Ha ha! Superstar is so excited for this to come out. I'm going to get the new George Strait cd :)

Lx said...

whoa, i cannot believe how many words you've committed to the Little Mermaid.

BSG said...

Hey Glam... I posted that first comment before I even read your entry -- I just wanted to tell you that cuz it sounds kinda stupid when i read the entry and then read my comment. That was some pretty heavy stuff you wrote about your dad. I'm so glad for both of you that he was able to overcome his demons and be the great guy that you deserve to have in your life. All us Daddy's girls have our special things that remind us of our dads. I was going to take Big Sky Daddy to a Don Williams concert, but the stupid thing sold out before I could get tickets. Anyway, Don Williams is this older country singer and my dad and I both love him. Any time I hear one of his songs I think of my dad -- same with Marty Robbins. I remember lots of times bouncin' around in my dad's old Chevy pickup listening to the a.m. radio or when he got his new(er) pickup listening to them on tape. We don't really have the past that you and your dad do, but we do have A past... maybe I'll write about that in the next couple days here... anyway, lots of love from the big sky state!!

*Heart* BSG

BSG said...

Hey Glam... I posted that first comment before I even read your entry -- I just wanted to tell you that cuz it sounds kinda stupid when i read the entry and then read my comment. That was some pretty heavy stuff you wrote about your dad. I'm so glad for both of you that he was able to overcome his demons and be the great guy that you deserve to have in your life. All us Daddy's girls have our special things that remind us of our dads. I was going to take Big Sky Daddy to a Don Williams concert, but the stupid thing sold out before I could get tickets. Anyway, Don Williams is this older country singer and my dad and I both love him. Any time I hear one of his songs I think of my dad -- same with Marty Robbins. I remember lots of times bouncin' around in my dad's old Chevy pickup listening to the a.m. radio or when he got his new(er) pickup listening to them on tape. We don't really have the past that you and your dad do, but we do have A past... maybe I'll write about that in the next couple days here... anyway, lots of love from the big sky state!!

*Heart* BSG

Jenn said...

I love the little mermaid, one of my favorites. Sad story, glad you shared it with us.

Mr. Fabulous said...

Thank you for telling that story. I hope that day for you comes sooner rather than later.

You were 10 years old when it came out? Okay, now I feel old...

ficklechick said...

Awww, what a sad yet sweet story!

I forgot about that movie. I need to buy it on DVD. I threw all of our VHS tapes away because we're now VCR-less.

RWA said...

Wow, that's a strong story. It's amazing how little things like a movie or a song can bring back such strong memories and are tied to events in our lives.

I hope everything works out that your kids can meet your dad and understand some day soon.

Molly said...

That touched my heart! I am such a daddy's girl and I miss him as he is all the way back in England, but at least I have good memories and it makes me sad that even at 10, you understood your dad was not well. My own son has a dad that won't be around for him and that breaks my heart, but I guess it builds stronger kids and gives them good character, just like you, so I think he will do just fine!

EC said...

*hangs head in shame* - I have never seen that movie...

Great post about your dad though - sad and wonderful at the same time.

Jenny said...

Wow. What a beautiful, beautiful post.

Mindless Dribbler said...

Whoa...

Great post and being a Dad myself, thanks. It's easy to forget that what we do even when they're small, stays with them through adulthood, no matter how we as adults think it might be insignificant.