I was reminded today that Father’s Day is less than a month away time to remember dear old dad. You remember him don’t you the guy that stood outside of the waiting room pacing back and forth still hoping the pregnancy test was wrong and your mom just suffering from a bad case of gas. I think that if I had to I could even come up with the look on his face when the nurse handed him his little bundle of joy okay so what is so hard about that you and I know that it was a mixture of love, wonder and fear. No doubt fear was his leading expression, fear of just what had he done to his quiet little life, how in the world was he ever going to take you from this little bundle of so called joy, to a happy well adjusted adult.
When does it start, when does the father in all men kick in, when does it stop being all about us as a man and become all about our family our children and our wives? What’s that… yes I am well aware that I am not in a very good position to answer that question that I posed to you, but isn’t it a good idea that I think about that stuff now? I have to admit that I have had past relationships with women that have had children. And yet I am still unsure when it becomes all about the family when the man becomes dad and his mind goes from partying with the guys on a Friday night to sitting at dinner and listening to stories about how many frogs were in the rain barrel that day. Does there come a time in every life when a man realizes that he is a good father or that he is a bad father? Is it in his words that we learn this or from his actions? As many of you know from some of my earlier writings my father figure for the first eleven years was my grandfather, my mother and my aunt point out to me from time to time that my grandfather was not the best father that ever walked the face of this little blue planet. I only point this out for the sake of argument as were, because I never saw the side that they did either I was so busy in my own little world of being a child, or he hit that time when the father in him finally took hold. It is my mother who continually points out that he was in fact much more a father to my brother and I than he was to her and her siblings. One could then understand that in fact that there really is a time when fatherhood clicks in and takes over for good or better.
And yet here we are at the day when we as children are told by the greeting card companies that we have to bow to him and thank him for, well at least trying to be the best father that ever walked this little blue planet. From inside my broken dysfunctional family I looked out as a child thinking that there was nothing wrong, that it was in fact a perfectly normal situation. I was unaware of any problems that may have existed in my home growing up a fairly well rounded, fairly well behaved child.
Along with my brother I can say that we were happy, always up to something, but never too busy to help our grandfather and later our stepfather, well most of the time anyways.
Quit holding my hand over the fire, I mean really, can’t you just trust me when I say things? Haven’t some of you known me long enough when I tell you something like that you can take it as truth and nothing but the truth…. Oh all right there may have been a time or two when we made up some sort of story about not being able to find what we were sent to look for and there may have been once or twice when we didn’t have too much homework to do something that would have only taken ten minutes to do, but didn’t they want us to study hard get good grades.
There is a time when as children when dad said jump you put down everything you were doing and you went to the fridge to get him beer or soda wondering all the time why he didn’t get up and get it himself. Then there was the day that you finally asked him why you had to come out of your room, come down the stairs, go into the fridge and get what ever it was that he wanted, and take it the fifteen steps back to him in his chair. You stood there waiting for the answer hoping for some philosophical reason behind this never-ending chore. You waited and then asked again why it was that you had to stop doing your homework, remembering what page you were on, leave the confines of your room, remembering to close the door behind you so that your sibling would stay out, walk the ten steps to the stairs, the twelve steps of the stairs, the thirty steps from the stairway to the kitchen, the nine steps across the kitchen to the fridge, then the fifteen to his chair, knowing full well that you had to go back up the stairs down the hall, back into your room hoping that your sibling had stayed out of your room, back to your bed where your homework was laid out, only to find that the book you had been working from had fallen to the floor along with all of your notes, your drink knocked over, now you’ll have to go to the linen closet grab a towel clean up the spill then go back down stairs and get a new drink, and by that time it’ll be time dad will want something else, then finally you get your answer as you hope that none of that happens and he says, that’s why your mother and I had children. Just like that your world crumbles knowing that the only reason you are on this little blue planet is to fetch a beer for you father. Lowering our heads we tread up the stairs only to find our sibling in our room your books scattered across the floor along with all of your notes the family dog is trying to make a bed out of your notes and the clothes that you were thinking about wearing to school the next day.
This is Fathers’ Day we can fight it if we must, but for good, bad or indifferent it is that day that is set aside to recognize them no matter how they treated us. We can walk around and blame our fathers for things that they did or didn’t do or we can accept the things that happened for good or bad take our lumps so to speak and try to do the best that we can with what we were given. I think in a strange way we are taught how to be better than our parents, all we have to do is learn our lesson, access that outcome and decide what that lesson is.
How many lessons are there for us to learn, how many do we have to learn, is there anything that says if we don’t learn our lessons that if we don’t learn the allotted amount of lessons that we can not be parents. Okay enough heavy crap Wayne I mean really get to the good stuff already.
There we are lessons learned we hope, we’re holding our newborn child in our hands looking down with that scared shitless look on our face trying to remember why it is that we ever wanted to this in the first place, remembering all of our past deeds and knowing that now, now is the time when every word your father ever said to you is going to come back and haunt you. Oh yeah it’s going to haunt you so much so that you will someday begin to spout the same tired things he used to tell you. Before you know it you’ll be tell your child that if they don’t get off the couch and take out the trash you’ll kick their ass so hard they’ll have to go to the hospital to get your foot out. Then there will be some night when you’re tired and you really want something to drink and you’ll ask that child to go to the refrigerator and get you something, may be a beer or a soda pop, and you’ll think to yourself hey this isn’t so bad from this side. Before you know it they will want to go out on a date and the only thing you’ll hear in your head is ahhhhh! Before you know it they will be asking to borrow the car and you’ll laugh at them, not out loud anyway but you’ll be chuckling to yourself as you tell them no. Then one day when you least expect it, it’ll happen your child will look you in the eye and ask you why, why do they have to get you something to drink from the refrigerator when you are downstairs and closer to it than they are, or why is it that you always have to wake them up at five in the morning even on a weekend, or why must they always take out the trash and not their sibling, or maybe even why you are so mean to them when their friends come over? And all you’ll hear come out of your mouth is the same thing that your father told you time and time again why do you think your mother and I had you in the first place, or because I am the father, or as my child it is up to you do as I ask. Now I want you to insert your favorite dad-isms here. I know that you all have way more than I can come up with anyway. For now I want all of you fathers out there to remember the day your children were born and try to remember just what it was that was going through your head the first day that your woman told you that she was pregnant. That’s it that’s the look wide eyed, scared run for your life look, once that look is set in know one thing there will come a time that you will be revenged for all of the trouble that, that child was bout to put you through of course you might have a long wait, well with any luck it will be at least twenty years.
So, to you fathers of us all enjoy this day, this one day that we as children will spend doing all those hated things that you make us do and not complain, for this is your day. The day that you might get lucky enough to have the children over and you get to grill outside. Look at your grandchildren if you have them and know that you children are putting them through the same crap you did to their parents, only now you can show sympathy. And to you children of the fathers raise up your glass and give a toast to good old dad, a toast that says thanks dad for all the crap you put me through as a child so that I might be who I am today, or was that so I could put my children through exactly the same crap that you put me through. So, here’s to you dad and here’s to lessons learned, one can only hope that you don’t need us to take care of you some day… just kidding, Happy Fathers Day