Sunday, June 15, 2008

Dads

This is not your father's Father's Day post.

See, I've been crazy busy of late - not of the making money crazy busy kind, just the guests from out of town, dinner party hosting gotta clean the house kind of crazy. I've been meaning to post, but life has been against me it seems. I wanted to respond to Mike about the book thing, which was very cool, but I had to face the sad fact that I had not ready anything for pleasure in months, and that depressed me. I have two books on workaholic/recovery things that my sponsor lent to me, but (I am not making this up) I have been too busy to open them. Ain't it just a kick.

So today we're out for breakfast at Cafe This Way, the best restaurant in Bar Harbor, and I am getting more and more irritated with the overwhelming number of children that seem to be in attendance and screaming. I make some kind of comment to R, my dear friend (and long-ago second-grade teacher) and she reminds me that it is Father's Day.

Well, crap.

You see, my father is a psychotic loon. I have learned through family friends that he has been diagnosed as paranoid, delusional, and lots of other not-so-nice things. He believes he is being persecuted and that the government is out to get him. He buys and swaps guns, off the books, across the kitchen table kind of stuff. He hates fags and niggers and liberals. He utterly missed the satire that was All In The Family and skipped right to loving Archie Bunker. Suffice it to say we don't exchange cards. I fully expect to learn of his demise on CNN when it televises an armed stand-off of some kind with law enforcement officials.

So Father's Day is an awkward time for me. Coming at the end of a week of frenetic activity, with a storm front playing hell with the barometric pressure and my moods, and the sudden letdown that happens when the work is done and the house is quiet, it has left me in a weird head space.

I think I would like to recognize the good Dads out there instead of focusing on the shell of a man who long ago gave me life but who has long since ceased to be anything resembling human.

The problem is, I tried to write that stuff and it sounded hokey. The truth is, I have no idea what kind of dads my men friends are. I am sure the guys my dad used to work with would have sworn him to be a decent dad, but he wasn't. He was a bully and a coward. He lied and cheated and stole and beat me when I got caught doing those same things. He was domineering and brutal and mean. I remember what it was to look into his eyes and see hate staring back at me. Hate and disgust. Those are powerful things to lay on a young girl.

I was nobody's perfect child, I will admit that. But what I remember most about growing up was just wanting to be loved and accepted. No matter what I did, it was not enough. The last time I got straight A's was in third grade. Before I went to live with him and my stepmother. That was the last year in my childhood that I remember as happy.

See, not everybody's dads are great. I wanted to be his favorite daughter, but even as an only child, I knew that was too much to ask. I was too clingy, too eager, too scared, too insecure, too much of a little kid. Only I was a little kid.

Because of the childhood I had, and the childhood that my father had, I have opted not to have children at all. There are times I see him in my behavior, in my moods, in my anger and my rage. I never want to inflict that upon a child, and I do not know for certain that I could change it, grow beyond it, deal with it, let it go or any other method of healing. I never want a child to look into my eyes and see what I saw in my dad's - that visceral hate that cannot be explained away by I was tired, I had a long day, I didn't mean it. He meant it. I saw it clearly.

So to those of you who have a dad that you love, hug him once extra today for me. And for my blog buddy Mike who seems to be a pretty decent dad, tell your daughter often how proud of her you are.

2 comments:

MRMacrum said...

Jeezm Dawn. I don't know what to say. It hurt to read that. But truth is like that. It often hurts.

My own father was far from perfect and I know for a fact that I am more than a few steps away from it also. But even with all his faults, I knew he loved me. And even with all of mine, my daughter knows I love her.

I feel for you that you know the opposite. That really really sucks. We can forgive our friends and relatives their nastier side if the love or friendship is strong enough. Without it, well, shit. Without it, they don't exist.

Dawn on MDI said...

you're a good guy, Mrmacrum. thanks for the support.