Wednesday, December 24, 2014
MEMORIES OF SONHOOD
I sit here smiling, as the tears dry on my face.
Watching NCIS is usually entertaining, but seeing the episode that introduces us to Gibb's Dad (Heartland,Season 6) brought out some emotions that were impossible to contain. I always lose control when hearing/reading/watching a father and son moment.
There's no mystery why.
In writing “Funeral”, I gave a bit of insight to who my biological father was and the role he played in my life... the all to familiar “absentee” label applies, and brought the usual childhood insecurities. Thankfully, I was able to make lemonade out of that situation without therapy or anti-depressants and became stronger and wiser in dealing with the fact that my “Dad” - the person who I always wanted to look up to, the person who I would always turn to for advice, the person I wanted to aspire to be – was none of those. In fact, he wasn't all that likeable in my eyes.
The image of what a Father SHOULD be came from the TV mostly. Mike Brady, John Walton (ironic!), Ben Cartwright, Charles Ingalls, Ward Cleaver, Lucas McCain, all had the strong, sensitive, smart and fair qualities we all wish for. They didn't have a bad day, a wrong opinion, or a harsh word. They brought their kids up the right way and wouldn't stand for a world that wasn't fair.
My reality was far different.
I find that there are two kinds of people in the world that have influence or authority over you. Those that show you what to do the right way, and those that show you what NOT to do. I got a LOT of examples of what not to do growing up and beyond, but unfortunately, haven't been lucky enough to be able to pass this knowledge down to my own mini me's.
Like I wrote about in “Inspiration”, there are times when the enormous hole that exists in my soul gets exposed. Fatherhood is something special, beyond words that, as of today, looks like I won't experience. It's not tragic, it's not anything but a choice and most of the time, I am at peace.
But that is not where these tears come from.
Memories of a great Dad haven't been erased, forgotten, or re-written. They were never there. The source of the emotional waterfall isn't in my past. It's in my dreams.... Of times so personal, only he and I would know. The everythings he would teach me, the stories he would tell, the pride in his eyes, and the love that bonded us in every way.... Knowing that others DO have these moments, sharing in their joy, reminds of missed opportunities and unfulfilled wishes.
The memories I DO have fall far short of the fantasyland of television.
I had a step-dad that did his best, but he had many issues that prevented him from being all he could be, as a role model or loving husband, friend, or parent. He is the person I call Dad because he was there. He tried to engage both his daughter and me, but unfortunately for him and us, he had no idea of how.
He was a bit manic as we later learned. He would be cool one day, giving us glimpses of his sense of humor, the next day he would be a real bastard. One day he would buy us something that brought smiles, but the moment he was disappointed, and he was disappointed a LOT, he would throw that gift in your face as the reason we should have done better. It got to be that we didn't even WANT anything, knowing what was to come.
No one really knew him. Even his own sister had no answers as to why he was like he was. The only possibilities that came up were the loss of his 3 best friends in a car accident and the death of his father very early in his life. His own Dad was very harsh in the treatment of his boy. On the bad days, obviously this came out directed at us and it seemed there were more bad than good when we were young.
It is sad to know that he never fully recovered from the events of so long ago. Dad also passed far too soon at age 55 and as I creep closer to this number, I realize how difficult it must have been for him, and I only wish I could have helped.
If you have a Dad that listens to you, cares for you, shows their affection for you, is proud of you, takes time for you, and is there for you whenever you need them – know that you have something more precious than all the stock on Wall Street.