Each year that Father’s day rolls around I rack my brain for happy memories. Like when my dad was happy, or we were happy as a family. Christmas was one such happy memory. Dad loved Christmas. He would set up a speaker outside and play Christmas songs from his tape player through the neighborhood. Something that he might have trouble doing today,but that was the 50’s and 60’s and things were different. We had a house with a cathedral ceiling so every year he would get a 12′ or 15′ tree. I would help him untangle lights. We would all stand on the balcony when the Christmas balls and the many lights were on and drop the tinsel down onto the tree. He would have music playing, a beer and cigarette nearby and he was happy.
In the summer we would go to the beach. That made Dad happy, although he would cover himself almost completely so not to burn. We were four kids piled into a sedan, no seatbelts then. It was crowded but I don’t think we complained. No complaining was allowed and that was pretty much the only family trip, so not worth taking any chances. By the time I was 10 there were only three of us anyhow, my oldest sister went off to college.
Within the next two years many things changed in the family. Those are the times i have really buried. Now I only remember pieces of his life,and my life with him. I found myself forced to try and understand who he was and why he was the way he was just when I was in puberty and trying to figure out who i was.
I don’t think he was happy. My parents fought alot, he had an affair, too many other things to tell. Although now that I have passed the age that he was when he died I can see him through such different eyes. What a fight it is for some of us to be a parent and a good one at that. So many of us are caught up in our own lives, own patterns and our own baggage. I don’t think he ever let go of any of it
He used to like to say “anyone can make a baby” or “you have three choices in life; to adjust, go crazy, or die”. When I was very young I quoted him; thinking he was the smartest, best looking, most talented Dad ever. He was really just a person.
I also wonder, if he hadn’t died at 55 when i was 22, would we have finally been able to have a different relationship? The last thing he did for me was put up this really cute yellow print wallpaper for my baby to come. It was so much like when we did the tree together, and all those crazy years in between had been forgotten. I will never know.
As a parent myself, i have made mistakes, and gave up on trying to be perfect along time ago. No one is or can be perfect. I know i loved my dad, i know i wasn’t really sure if he loved me and that’s why i say it all the time to my kids. I also know I hold a part of him inside of me that has made me the woman i am today and i thank him for that . He also had a beautiful voice and loved to sing. Thanks for that too, Dad.
Happy Father’s Day