Thursday, June 16, 2011

Father's Day

I'm gonna watch you shine
Gonna watch you grow
Gonna paint a sign
So you'll always know
As long as one and one is two
There could never be a father
Who loved his daughter more than I love you...Paul Simon "Father and Daughter"

It is so easy to become a father.  There is no pregnancy, no birthing, no thought to anything but a moment of release right?  Yes, but it takes so much more to be a Papa.  In today's world there are so many combos of families that I am not sure I can list them all - this blog is dedicated to all the Dads. 


My own Dad was a flawed man and a parent who could have really used some parenting skills. Now that I have had many years of therapy and a lot more maturity he has become the Dad I have come to love and appreciate.  My Dad was of a different generation and so I have learned to no longer measure him by today's standards.  I have learned to forgive the errors he probably never knew he made.  My Dad was not a Hallmark/made for TV Dad but he was one of the most incredible people I have ever known and the person I miss so very much since he died at a young age (not even 60) when I was still of a young age (20s). 


Father's Day always reminds me that I do not have a Dad to send a card to, that my sons do not get to know him.  My Mom's husband is a nice man, who has been in my life for over 20 years, and who to his credit has been a tremendous addition to the family.  My elder son, they have no grandfathers since my husband's Dad passed away when my husband was 13, once said it is a good thing that my Mom remarried so they had a spare grandfather.  That is my Mom's husband, a really good fill in so that the motion of our lives keeps going. He is my sons' grandfather if not by blood then by emotion.  However, he is not my Dad and to his credit even after all these years he never has tried to be. 


My Dad gave me a love of learning, reading, dancing, fashion, travel, movies (especially scary ones) and music.  He had champagne dreams and a Coke budget but he never let you know that.  He lived for the moment, for the joy, for the love of something....hard on a family many times but never dull.  He was the life of any party, a chic dresser, and he was fun.  One of my best memories is of when I was younger and we spent Saturdays together going to the movies then walking the city until my Mom got out of work.  I remember his laughter and the joy he had when he made others laugh.  He fought me tooth and nail on politics at times and admired my ability to argue with him intelligently.  The one thing I sometimes doubted, but now am sure of is that my Dad loved me as well as he could.  I could choose to remember my Dad for the things that he did poorly in his role, the way he did not bring out the best in me but I have learned to acknowledge those areas as something he lacked in his own psychological make up, things that I choose not to let rule my life.  I am a better parent in many ways because I learned from where he failed and replicated all those things he did so well. I miss my Dad but these memories are with me when I need them.  


I admire those fathers (and among our friends who have children there are plenty) like my husband who understand that being a part of their children's lives will help them grow as much as it will help their children.  They know that a moment spent with your child is not a chore but rather something to cherish.  This Father's Day if you can; remember the moments that your Dad was there for you (brief or many), the moments he was imperfect but your hero, and most of all the moments that make you want to say Happy Father's Day wherever he may be.


Bit by bit, I've realized 
That he was here with me; 
I looked into my father's eyes.   Eric Clapton "My Father's Eyes"  

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