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Fathers' Day or Not-So-Much?
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canadiansuzanne
I thought about this topic all day yesterday. Slept on it, and decided that I needed to be honest. That I needed to share my feelings about Fathers' Day in an actual, very-un-Canadian rant.

Why rant?

It's not like me to rant at all. I'm no ranter. I value politeness, sensibility, and courtesy whenever possible. Heck, the word "Canadian" is practically tattooed on each strand of my DNA.

Why today?

Because ranting yesterday would've ruined Fathers' Day for the majority of people.

Brace yourself, because this is about to get ugly and personal. Click away if you're faint of heart.

You have been warned...



I hate Fathers' Day. Loathe it. Abhor it. Can't wait until the fucker is over and done with for another 364 days.

The man who contributed his DNA to my existence doesn't deserve to be called a father. He never played catch or offered kind words or tucked me in. The dollars that should have been spent on child support payments were funneled into vinyl records, intoxicants, and automobiles.

He raised his hand to my mother more than once, put her in the hospital more than once, and within the last ten years did the shame shit to another woman while still technically married to someone else.

I've been in therapy for almost a decade, and I understand that the "family of origin" -- the people in your childhood home -- contribute much of what shapes you for the rest of your life. My triggers for anger, shame, and hurt were sculpted by that family of origin.

My paternal grandmother and her partner used to babysit me and my sister every Friday night when my single mother worked late. Her son (aka-my not-father) lived in her basement and 90% of the time made a plan to not be home on those Fridays. Yep, he ACTIVELY AVOIDED us. And when his Friday night plans fell through and he had to interact with us, he would play his records (really loud) and try to teach us about his favourite-musician-of-the-week. Some of it stuck, but the majority of my musical taste is my own.

Unfortunately, we human beings tend to seek what we recognize. My maternal grandfather was a bitter, selfish, and cruel man, which pretty much explains why my mother chose the man and the path that she did in her late teens to get the fuck out of that family-of-origin house. The emotional damage that old bastard inflicted on my mother still burns, even though his ashes have been in the ground for more than 17 years. Lucky me, I have 2 examples in my past of men who didn't deserve to be called a father.

That whole "cycle-of-violence" definition is real, believe me. One of the reasons I've spent thousands of dollars on therapy is to try and become a better person and move past that shit. To "do the work" and break that cycle.

Yesterday, Mum and I spoke about Fathers' Day and how hard it is to hear all of the praise about the greatness of fathers when our own experience is so NOT THAT BY A FUCKING MILE.

So when I sat down for a meal with my own children yesterday, I urged them to make time for their dad. To enjoy the fact that they have one of those worthy dads who DID play catch and DID tuck them in. For him, and all of the good dads out there, I hope you had a great day with your families yesterday. You are the spirit of what Fathers' Day is about and I'm happy for you all. You're lucky, and I hope you remember that as often as possible.
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I feel much the same way about Father's Day, so I understand.

Thanks for the kind words.

As I said to Stephanie, I don't know why this year the day affected me as strongly as it did. Perhaps because I turned 50 recently and feel my own forgiveness-clock clicking louder than it used to.

We'll see what the future brings.

Think of Father's Day and fathers who aren't up to par

My mom and dad separated when I was eleven. My father tried to smother my mother while she slept. He held a pillow down over my mother's face until mom started to struggle. Before that my father decided that we didn't need food or a fridge. He told the bank that my mother had a spending problem and so he cancelled her credit cards and took her name off the joint accounts. Dad was a realtor at the time. He was selling houses and make good commissions. There was plenty of money to care for his family. And my mother was never a spender.

Mom managed to take a some money from dad's wallet before he left for work. She asked us if we wanted to stay with dad or go stay with our grandmother for a while. We chose Gram. Mom went to a lawyer to see if she could legally leave dad, and the lawyer wrote down that the reason for the separation was a pillow fight. Mom should have gone to the police, but she was afraid dad would kill her.

I can see why some people might have a problem with Father's Day. I am not one of them. I used to buy my mom a Father's Day present every year. I would buy her a tool. Mom and I loved getting new tools. The first time I bought mom a Father's Day present, I told her it was because she was both mother and father to my sisters and me.

There are great fathers out there, wonderful guys who do everything for their families, and are well loved. I think they should be celebrated. Just because my father was a long way from being a good father, doesn't mean that I should have a problem with the day.

My father once wrote to me that he was jealous of the relationship I had with my sisters. He said he tried to turn us against each other, but our relationship was too strong. Until then I had thought that my father had just made mistakes out of ignorance, but after the letter I realized my father was actively destructive.

I don't believe that people are born bad. In the case of my father, it was partly how he was brought up, partly environment. He had polio as a child. He was spoiled by his mother, picked on by his father, teased and beat up by his peers. Even with all that, my father could be charming, he was creative, artistic, sometimes generous and fun. If he had developed a better moral code, maybe he could have been a better father. All the crap he did, and all the crap that was done to him, I feel sorry for him, and wish he could have had a better life. I am glad of some of the talent I got from him, and I worry that I may have some of his bad traits, but he taught me to be good by being a bad example. I can celebrate father's day, while thinking about fathers in general and by thinking about what my dad could have been if things had been different.






Re: Think of Father's Day and fathers who aren't up to par

Stephanie, I hear you.

When my sister and I were kids we tended to celebrate Fathers' Day with my mom since she acted as both.

As I've watched my own children grow up, my perspective has changed somewhat. And as I begin to stare at my own mortality, I've often wondered whether or not I could forgive my father and move on.

I'm not there yet, and I don't know if I ever will be, but most days it's not front of mind. I don't know why this particular Fathers' Day affected me so strongly.

Thanks for sharing.

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