Sunday, June 21, 2009
Father's day is always difficult for me. At the best of times, my father and I are tolerant of each other, perhaps even approaching friendly. All too often, it seems a re-enactment of scenes from my childhood with one small change, as a child I was really hurt by his behavior and now, I am simply angered.
In fairness to my father, his childhood was no day at the beach. I knew his mother, my grandmother, to be a woman who played favorites. When you were her favorite, it was not just that you got the lion's share of gifts or treats, but she enjoyed rubbing your status in the nose of your 'competition'. As her favored grandchild, it was lousy to watch her minimize my brothers. I can only imagine what it must have been like to have been her least favored son.
But, to quote my late friend Gerard "being an adult begins when you stop blaming your parents for who you are".
While I try not to allow his verbal assaults affect me now, there were many years when his taunts echoed in my head. I also try to balance his treatment with the treatment I got from my mother, my grandparents, my teachers, and my aunts and uncles.
He did give me some wonderful traits though. My easy sense of humor, my mathematical skills, my sociability, and my dramatic flair for story-telling (orally at least) are owed to him.
I spend father's day focusing on my friends' dads who are or were wonderful dads and on my male friends who are proud and adoring papas. And on my mother, who I am still hoping to be like when I grow up.