My father would have turned 75 today. I have mentioned in this blog how he had passed away on my birthday in 2005. As much as I understand it is merely coincidental, I can’t help feeling somewhat awkward on my birthday each year. I will say, as the years go by it is somewhat less awkward but, the feeling will probably never really stop altogether.
Being a father myself now has given me some new perspectives on my own father. I remember at ten years old having my parents sit my brother and I down at the dining room table and as gently as they could tell us of their impending separation… Dad was moving out. As I reflect on this now some 40 years have passed. I wonder sometimes how my life may have been different had they stayed together, not really in a better or worse comparison, but more on how it would be different.
I remember how as I grew through the teen years, even in the midst of all my insecurities how I had a deep sense I would be a better father, I would never put my children through that… well I am married now almost 28 years but as far as being a better father goes well… I have six children, four are grown and started their lives and two remain for a while longer. I can not really say I am a better father, frankly being a better father would mean that you would be measuring your success as a parent against some kind of standard, and frankly that standard is one I would have developed from my own expectations for my children. So does this mean if my children don’t meet my expectations I am a bad father?
Now we can say, well it was my responsibility to raise them so if they didn’t meet my standard there is no one to blame but me. I could say, the kids received the training but refused to adhere to it so it must be their fault for not meeting my standards.
I think the reality is a bit different, I don’t think I am a great father, I also don’t think I am a horrible father, rather, I am a man who tried and at times failed and at other times succeeded to do the job of raising my children. Likewise, my children share the same likelihood in their own future experiences.
Dad, I am sorry you’re not here to talk about these kinds of things, and for judging you. I never walked a mile in your shoes and I know in the end you shared with me your sense of living with many regrets. Happy Birthday Dad, I am glad you and Mom met and had children.
Love, your son,