At night, we’d be rocked to sleep by the sound of the ocean gently lapping against the boat. Us kids would wake up to the bell tower singing from up on the hill. A reminder of time that felt still. During the days, I absorbed the sun. I read books about Paris and Anne Frank. I would draw the casino and later at night, I’d watch the lights dance on the black water and listen to the jazz band echoing from within. Every boat in the bay was serenaded to sleep.
I texted my stepdad several months ago to thank him. The times we had as a family on Catalina Island were magical. Truly.
I think good memories are the best gift a parent could ever give their child because they stick with you for your whole entire life. They light up my whole being when I think of them and give my present mind a respite to a time that has passed but is still resonating with me.
Catalina, to me, was a place where I was allowed to be free and to enjoy my young life. There was no manipulation or controlling of the experience by my mom or stepdad, they just let me take it in my own way.
Those moments in Catalina were vital to me as a child growing up with a narcissist parent. As I said in my last post, enduring emotional abuse as a kid takes it’s toll on you, making it difficult to move past it as an adult. But having Catalina at a time when I was confused and hurt was absolutely necessary and it saved pieces of my young true self to grow up with as my guiding light.
The sea kept me afloat, gave me salty kisses and told me it was okay that the tides were changing–I’d just have to keep floating, while the seagulls overhead show me how to fly above it all.
In Catalina I could feel that sense of liberation and love that comes from allowing a little girl just to be. I wasn’t completely consumed with the perfectness and self-deprecation that was demanded of me at that time.
For that, I am eternally grateful. And I have it all, thanks to Michael, my stepdad.
Photo of Paul McCartney and his stepdaughter, Heather, by Linda McCartney