Thursday, May 1, 2008

Who's your daddy?

While some of us are hot in the pursuit of genetic offspring, readjusting our internal perspectives along the way, battling fear, doubt, and painful spiritual growth, there are those of us in the exact same battle in the pursuit of non-genetic offspring. And of course, lest we forget, those warriors who are only in the hot pursuit of their peace of mind without a child. I feel like I'm in the latter two categories. Mind you I've been looking for peace of mind for years, that's not news.

I think my father suffered from depression. As a father, he would be there, paying the bills, putting food on the table sort of thing. Occasionally, we had fun, I'm sure. But around my puberty, all familial hell simmered, brewed, exploded and went to hell. He was stoic, emotionally unavailable, and a cruel bastard to my mother. At Christmas time, he would brood in the basement and cry. He drove us to church, but never came in with us. He never saw me in school plays or came to parent/teacher nights(wait, he did once). At times, I wished he would drop dead (and once my sister challenged him to a race hoping he would drop dead from a heart attack) and other times I felt sorry for him. He's still alive, on his 3rd wife and I haven't spoken to him or seen him in years. My sister still sees him occasionally as he lives part time in the same state as she does. Apparently, having a grandson is a bit of magnet. He has other children who apparently have found it a blessing to be close to him. Why is it that the crappy fathers seems to be the best procreators?

Anyways, my point is that I've always believed my core work on my self improvement has always been on the self-confidence, self-belief part of me. The part I always attributed to my father's lack of acknowledgement in me. I know he loves me, but inevitably let me down. I honestly don't think he knew he was supposed to emotionally support me, instill confidence in me, spend quality time with me. I definitely sensed by the time I become a "woman" he stepped back, not sure how to proceed with a maturing daughter. I wasn't a boy, so he couldn't teach me how to play cricket like he did with others. His girls were now under the tutelage of my mother. As he said many years ago," your mother raised you girls well." Yep, she did the best she could.

I know that he did as he was taught, he has his own demons to contend with but his circle of compassion stops about a inch from his nose. I forgave him years ago in a general sense; as my mother used to say, he didn't beat or rape you, he wasn't that bad. No, he wasn't. But do I tell him that he has another grandchild coming soon?

Like him, I brood at Christmas time, vaguely uneasy in my husband's family cheer. I stay mildly inebriated the whole time. I like to cook and fuss over the food like crazy. I hate being caught up in the smoochfest kisses at bedtime, but I think they are wearing me down. I'm used to dysfunction and alienation at Christmas. And for years, there have been no babies at Christmas. I longed to bring our baby into that cheer and loud laughter, the smoochfest. And every fucking year since we started trying (6 years now), it's gaggles of presents under the tree for people who don't really need anything or pictures of us holding another couple's child that look like they could be ours. My husband is their golden child and the end of the line so to speak.

I'm glad my husband wants to adopt. I know he'll do his best. I just want to see up close what could be possible if a man really tried to be a good father. And it's not just about keeping a roof over their heads or putting food on the table.


luna said...

I think you have evolved into quite a strong human being, no thanks to your father...

it's amazing how food and shelter just aren't enough, isn't it? by hub's dad was a good provider, and even good to his mom, but was never emotionally available to him (abuse/neglect, but never physical), and it's definitely scarred him. that said, he knows exactly what kind of father he would NOT be, given the chance of course...

Guera! said...

Does peace of mind ever come or is it a constant journey? I think I know the's a rhetorical question!
It does sound like he suffered from depression. It doesn't excuse his behavior however. My father thought kids weren't really his problem. My husband's father worked without missing a day his whole life, put food on the table sometimes going without so his kids, all eight of them, would have enough to eat. But he could be described as a mean man. I think men, for years, have seen their parental responsibility as provider of food and shelter only. My father has left wife #2 and is now dating a woman 21 years younger than him (only three years older than me!).
But this isn't my blog so I apologize for the lengthy comment. Thanks again for the peek into your life.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this post and for sharing your thoughts on your father. My father is a mystery to me and it hasn't been until very recently that I've been interested in trying to figure out where exactly he was coming from. And that was from a place where "putting food on the table" was more of a priority than emotional support.

Once again. Thanks for sharing. I appreciate your blog.

Wordgirl said...

I came back to this post more than once -- struck powerfully by the image of your father, by the honesty in this post.

I feel this same pull towards G -- seeing him father, knowing that that gift alone creates some space in my heart that I've held firmly closed.

I love the description of your husband's family's cheer in the holidays...I too am reticent, removed from the full participation of joyous events like that...never quite able to let myself let go...G's mom is such a flitting hostess -- giggling here and there and enjoying herself.

I told G I couldn't wait to reclaim traditions of our own and enter into the joy ourselves...create it.

It sounds like such wonderful things are happening for you...the process is wrote once on my blog that the way I wrote about W gave you hope about mothering a child not your own -- let me tell you the love is there. It will be there. Of that I have no doubt.

And the joy too.