BB Webb as BB Webb!

Exploring the Possibilities

Bob Banta births BB….Awwww Dad! November 22, 2010

I hadn’t put it together until just this evening, but my father, Bob Banta, (who dubbed me Barbara Suzanne Banta) was a BB as well.

Happy Birthday to my father, Bob Banta. He died some time ago and honestly, I feel a greater bond with him since his death than perhaps when he was of flesh.

Odd thing to say perhaps, but I ‘get’ him a bit more since his passing.

BB and Bob, November 2005

He was not a warm, fuzzy guy, prone instead to temper tantrums and outburst of ‘crazies’. Though part of me now understands him a bit. Actually, MORE than a bit. And I love him dearly. Totally and dearly!

We are all part adult, part child. The child parts show up in the most profound (interesting)? ways….and I’ve found for myself, often embarrassing ways. We all want to FEEL we are so entirely ADULT, but what indeed is that.

But none of us is ‘complete’, I feel on this planet….we are all unfinished specs of humanity doing our best to make our way. Some of us have a savvier intellect, or are more affable, some negotiate good business, others terrific family relations….but we all have ‘work to do’….and to me, that’s what makes life interesting, if not frustrating in moments.

We all have our world view, my Dad clearly had his. We grow up with our ‘rights and wrongs’ our ‘preferences’ so to speak. My Dad was a most rigid sort. He had a box in which he lived and anything outside that was deemed wrong. Imagine me, budding artist, creative soul living in his household!

My Dad found me a bit too LARGE for life, too animated, lively, loud, BIG and certainly dramatic. And, I am. That doesn’t make me wrong, merely ME. Me. Not him. Me. I clearly judged him, his box, his disapproval mostly, sadly. I know better now. You do NOT fight fire with fire. I prefer to ‘fight’ with boundaries and love!

And so as I’ve mellowed in SOME regard, (others not so and perhaps never will or care to), I realize that there are things we must just accept within ourselves, others we can maybe tweak but again, I am reminded of Popeye and his ever popular, ‘I yam what I yam’ declaration.

And so should you be. And if I find I am not fitting into the current choices in my life, I’d best find other digs. My brothers moved to Montana when they found the surrounds and growth within our once rural Pennsylvania, not fitting. They needed a new place to thrive and get what they needed. Certainly traffic in Bozeman is far less hectic than in an ever growing outskirt of the Philadelphia surrounds. I admire their decision making.

I too am outgrowing things in my life and it’s almost comical to watch me ‘burst at the seams’ as I do. My father perhaps never found his groove until later in life. Business was a huge stressor to him and I think the role to which he was thrust at that time in the world and in how he grew up, a mother more concerned with cleanliness that teaching ‘Bobbie’ how to love.

A funny memory is my Grandmother telling us not to sleep out in the backyard as kids as ‘bugs will get into your ears’!

Bob's 2005 BD, our last together with my brothers.

Though far from warm and fuzzy or generous with his compliments, he was a master at the back handed compliment, i.e when reading an article written about me in the local newspaper when I’d brought my play, ‘Through Ruby’s Eyes’ to my hometown….I shared the ups and downs of being a traveling artist. He said to me,

‘in other words, if you can’t stand the heat in the kitchen, get outta of the kitchen!

Bingo Bob! And that was his way of saying, ‘atta girl. You’ve got the right attitude.’ But he was unskilled in using words in that way…in the same way that some people are not effective speaking their truths in person, they need instead to write what they feel, my Dad had his own style for communicating his feelings. Though I’d hardly say he was ever much IN TOUCH with them.

I recently received a mail package of things my brothers procured from my father’s estate. In my bundle was every letter I’d ever written him, (and, effusive I am) along with trinkets I’d made for him as a child. I was moved beyond tears to guffaws of joy AND sadness. I wish we’d known one another better. I wish he’d been open to my brand of communicating and ‘being me’. I wish I’d known how to reach him better to let him know how deeply, deeply loved he was by me and how badly I wanted him to see me and tell me I was his own special girl.

But I know that now….not just because of the found trinkets and letters kept, but I feel his presence in uncanny ways. We speak to one another and honestly, he’s so damn proud of me and I feel that. He edges me along in my business, challenging me to think bigger, to create, to work my magic which he knows I have. His sense of the Universe is so much grander from where he sits now and I am the beneficiary of his vision.

He was a good man with a broken heart and a fractured soul. We’ll meet again no doubt and he’ll feel me and know on NO uncertain terms that he is valued, loved, found capable, smart, loving and special for just being who he is.

I love Bob Banta. With every inch of my fiber and more. Thank you for the gifts I’ve received through having you as my Dad, warts and all that we both have….I may be a similar pain in the ass to others that you were, but I’ve now both scienter and a heart filled with both forgiveness and love and I dare you, dare you dear Dad, to beat that.

Happy Birthday…you’d have been 89 years old today.

Love your DDD. Barbie Sue.

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