Sunday, June 18, 2006

daddy knows best


Well here it is again, Father's Day, and it appears I may have survived yet another with only minor wounds. Other than Valentine's Day, Father's Day is my least favourite holiday. Maybe it's all the forced sentimentality around both holidays, or maybe (more accurately) it is my own personal bias.

You have to admit, they really ram it down our throats. Beside me sits a newsletter from my favourite Independent book store with a nice big section "Perfect for Father's Day". You can't blame them, really - marketing opportunity - and lots of people have really great dads they would like to buy books for like "The Wisdom of Our Fathers". Lots of people have (or had) dads that did great stuff with them, and will be spending today with them, or calling them at least.

My own dad wasn't such a bad guy, I actually learned a lot from him, much of it since he's been dead and I've become a parent myself. He died 16 years ago of alcoholism. He didn't want to die. I think had he lived and stopped drinking we would have seen one hell of a guy. I know he would have liked the idea of being a grandfather. My mom left him when I was in grade 1 because of his drinking. I missed him, but life with just mom was cool. Then she got remarried to a man who emotionally, verbally, and occasionally physically abused my brother and me. Father's day got tricky 'bout then.

You may now be thinking I'm not that June Cleaver type character I play on TV.

At least now we live in different countries and I can get away with 2 phone calls a year (let's not forget the one on his birthday). He and my mother invited my husband and the kids up to visit this summer (we are separated, but still living together - I'm more like some soap opera really - No! No! that's not it either) - I am too offensive. My phone call this year was the first time I'd spoken to him since he stormed out of my home at Thanksgiving (I had told him he may not insult my 10year old son). Whole family stopped speaking to me actually, bit of a vacation really.

He used this year's call as an opportunity to "lecture" me on my errors, defects, etc and told me he and my mother had been betting on whether or not I'd call (I'd been given 50/50 odds) I didn't ask which way my mom was wagering. Lovely conversation really, will have to do it again end of August, looking forward to it already.

My children's father had been out late the night before and spent most of today hungover - either sleeping or grumpy. It's been special, I think is the best way to sum it up.

Or perhaps Judith Viorst say it better in her book "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day"

"Today was a difficult day, tomorrow will be better"


Let's hope.

11 comments:

glenda said...

Hang in there. You are not alone. Thinking of you!

Callooh said...

thanks!

I'm thinking cards from now on . . .

and next year at this time I should be free of the lot of them (all except the kids of course!)

The Future Was Yesterday said...

"That which does not kill you....will sure piss you right off!" Alcoholism is a destructive beast that knows no borders, limits, sexes, or ages. Above all, know someone is thinking of you.

Callooh said...

thank you so much for not saying makes us stronger - I would have had to kill you then ... ;-)

alcoholism is all you say and more, both my brother and I are alocholic, both dry - lessons learned from dad & step-dad, and a few of our own.

thanks...

Sothis said...

I, for better or for worse, cut all ties with my abusive family. I've come to the conclusion that if someone wants to hurt me, they can only do it with my permission. What bugs me is that any therapist will tell you to run if your spouse is abusive, your partner is abusive, but your parents/siblings? For some reason we are supposed to swallow that abuse in the name of family. I am with you 100%. I wouldn't even send the card--unless you want to tell them what they have done. Problem is, they will say you are the problem, not them.

Good luck. I know how you feel. Pardon my Dutch, but F*** them.

Callooh said...

I may be ready to do that one day, but I do still love my mom, that's why I put up with him - she still can't see it - all's he's done (denial is such a lovely place). and ya know in his own twisted way he believes he's helping me....

but it doesn't mean I have to listen to it anymore. I stopped going back for family events last year, I guess I'm slowly phasing them out.

thanks, and your Dutch is just perfect.

The Future Was Yesterday said...

Me again. I lost your email addy somehow....(: I have hidden talent, and that's where so many emails are...(: Would you please email me? dpraay@gmail.com. I promise to try harder.....

Robert Mitchell L.L. said...

wow all I got my dad was a decorative copper lawn sprinkler, a bag of bird seed and a card and he was happy as a pig in shit....no messy phone call

Callooh said...

UA - okay email sent, don't worry 'bout trying harder, I'd lose my own kids if they didn't keep comin' round demanding food.


Robert - Damn! those things would make ME happy as a pig in shit too (a pig in lots and lots of shit after being well fed, on a sunny day, and being owned by a vegetarian pig lovin' farmer - that kind of happy). next year I'm thinking just go out shopping and pick those things up for myself. I'll be much (much) happier....

hey! why wait? his birthday's in august, copper lawn sprinkler for me it is! I think you've given me the best advice ever -

You should look into making a career of this...
Thanks!!

Gary said...

Yeah, the Hallmark world is mostly a fantasy world - on Father's Day it's filled with pipes (used to be), slippers, golf clubs, fishing rods and I don't know... bowling balls?

I had a decent relationship with my father while growing up and we became good friends when I was in my 40's. He died (without any warning) a few years back and I miss him. I love my kids so much and think I'm a pretty good dad - all to say this doesn't bring up much for me.

That said, I have seen and known my share of hurt and much of it between people who may have loved each other or been related (or both).

Thanks.

Callooh said...

What I have come to realize is that he and my mom (and my father for that manner) were (and are) doing the best job they could with the tools they had availble to them(my step-father's own dad came home from the war very angry and beat his sons). Obviously it was not the childhood I would have chosen, but I am trying to use it as a learning experience and a tool to raise my own kids.

I also have come to realize the only way past the pain and resentment is through it and then to let it go and in some manner forgive - and to let them go, with love, for my sake and their's.