This is my third attempt to write about Father’s day. Why write at all you might ask? Good question. And it deserves an answer.
Because I’m still not sure I’m any good at it, and I’m damn sure I made many mistakes in the process of being one—for a short spell, when I should have, not being one at all. So yes, I feel compelled to write about Father’s day.
My dad passed away when I was ten, and I have given few men any latitude when offering me guidance or direction. I have learned most things the hard way, including how to be a father.
Of course circumstance has a way of making decisions for us. No matter how wonderful the notion of “following your own path,” there are roads you are forced to take, rough roads that trip you and push you to your knees. Those roads don’t make fathers. They make you accept that much in life is beyond your control. To experience that little fact a time or two sucks.
I won’t for a moment make some excuse for anything I did or didn’t. I am now what formed me back then. I take full responsibly for the good and the bad.
So, ya, Fathers. I’ve been around long enough to meet all types: the true father, work-alcoholic, the alcoholic, the cheater, the beater, the lover, the child, the provider, the loser, and a myriad of other wonderful characterizations.
No, those tags are not boxes I put fathers in. They are notions shared by the family who knew them; people who for reasons of their own felt compelled to add those tags. A mother is either good or bad, mostly good. (I offer that not as a jealous observation of how well mothers are treated, a story for another piece of writing, rather that’s the way mothers get described) Fathers tend to come with the tags depicted above.
I don’t believe any Father belongs in one of those boxes. We all make mistakes. We all stumble. Divorce and separation are not exactly a rare occurrence, yet it is probably the Father who will deal with one of those monikers.
So, my hat today is “off” to all those Fathers who have fallen from grace, to all those who have struggled and tried, who in the end never gave up, no matter the scars.
Happy Father’s Day!