About Dad  

Dowd3 42M
45 posts
6/30/2006 8:44 am

Last Read:
7/5/2006 7:42 am

About Dad


I was over at Sweetbabydee's blog and saw a couple of photos of her with her dad when she was very little. Cute stuff. Then it occurred to me to look up something similar from my past. It isn't there. My dad didn't raise us, and I'm not ashamed to sound bitter about it.

Don't get me wrong, my dad is a great guy. When you're with him he charming, caring, and kind to a fault, but once you're out of sight you've lost him. Since my parents broke up when I was five, we've been off his mind a great deal in the last 26 years. So much so that he has five step kids that call him their dad.

When I was a boy I wondered why dad was willing to raise other men's children but not his own. It was humiliating to explain this to every teacher, friend, and relative who cared to ask, but I did and always got mystified looks in return.

Let me lay this out for you. My parents turned to each other one day and said, "You know I really can't stand you," and decided to end it. No drugs, no adultery, no career vs. kids dilemma, just the epiphany they never should have been together to begin with. I admire them for their candor with one another, but that kinda' left us like the laundry you see still pegged to the clothesline in a ghost town.

So what has he been doing all these years? He's been a grandpa and worked. Being a grandfather is something he's well suited to since kids adore him, and he unabashedly proud of all twelve (I gave him number eight and my sister gave him numbers eleven and twelve.) My daughter adores him and hates his wife (we all do including her kids) but she's always excited to see him. From her point of view I have the greatest dad ever, and I have no heart to tell her, "No darlin', you have the best grandpa you could ask for. I never had a dad."

As for the working well... He's done an awful lot of that. He's worked as an electrician since I was born, and he's bent over backwards to help friends with projects, and he's moved his step kids around when they shack up and get divorced, and he's put 60,000 miles a year on his truck working in three states. He's wired homes for friends and family out of his own pocket, and built at least five houses from scratch and remodeled countless others.

In short: he's been busy as a Goddamn bee.

In the meantime I've lived in this town for almost thirteen years and have received four phone calls and one visit. A rather revealing look at his priorities I should say. My sister has done a little better by him but only by a few phone calls.

On the one hand I have no memory of my parents slowly killing each other (for which I am grateful.) Nor do I have any memory of my parents abusing us (for which I am also grateful.) But I often wonder who I would be now if I'd had the privilege of being my father's son.

Now I'm a father. And the sad thing is I have no idea what I'm supposed to do. My daughter loves me, and of all the things I've been called over the years "Daddy" is the name I wear with the most pride. At the same time though there are blanks I have to fill when I deal with her. They are subtle, but it's a vast minefield where an unwary step will bury me in a bottomless pit. I've often said that those people who have those "WWJD" bracelets and stickers should look a little closer to home and use "WWDD" or what would dads do. Note I make the distinction between singular and plural here. Dads can be flawed but caring. My dad or your dad can be an asshole for all their flaws.

In my late teens I spent countless hours with my dad, but the only way to do it was to work with him. He's a good man, my dad. He has cares and worries, and he's set aside a great many dreams for the sake of others who were not terribly grateful. He's a caring soul, a doting grandfather, a steadfast friend, and a conscientious professional. As I said before you know you have his full care and attention so long as you are in front of him. He's cheerful, charismatic, funny, and I might add women find him handsome even at 59. Ten years ago a 22-year-old girlfriend of mine once told me, "If he wasn't already married, I'd want him for myself." And just the other day I called him up and he related similar story from a day before . He thought it the strangest thing a girl in her twenties would want a man approaching his sixth decade. (Maybe I have something to look forward to after all.)

So what's it like to have a dad? Mine was such a wonderful man when I finally managed to know him that I'm willing to forgive all the neglect over the years.

Aside from the abusive ones (assholes fit easily into their niche) what's it like to have one around?

sexymom20069 48F

6/30/2006 11:03 am

Good for you to have him back in your life and in your daughter's .

I never knew my Biological Father - Just grew up with a step-dad since I was 3 - my mom said I called him daddy the second day he moved in with us.
To this day , I still know nothing about my father's side of the family - Not even the medical problems - I was told by my mom that I have 2 brothers - but that was back in 68 when she knew about his sons - maybe I have more by now ? Who knows..


"GOOD LUCK DOWD3, Linda"


rm_FreeLove999 46F
16127 posts
7/3/2006 3:29 am

i also look at sweetbaby's photos with a strange wish to have photos like that ... but also nothing ... my father was around, but his idea of relating to his children was that we were his "skivvies" -- there to follow orders and to see to his needs. who we were intellectually, emotionally was totally irrelevant ... i also find myself at times groping for a model of good parenting, in the absence of any good models from my parents...



[blog freelove999]


Dowd3 42M

7/3/2006 7:50 am

Free,
Not to get too personal, but how about your husband's father? Was he there for him? For that matter how well does he handle fatherhood? He sounds well suited for it from what little you tell us about him. Does your daughter appear happier than you were at her age from his influence?

Take care.


rm_FreeLove999 46F
16127 posts
7/3/2006 10:29 am

my husband actually said on saturday: "my motivation to be a good father is so that i want to be nothing like my own father."

his own father tried to force christianity on him, bullied him mercilessly for his interest in science, and was a messed up man who spent part of his childhood in a japanese prisoner of war camp in (then dutch) indonesia.



[blog freelove999]


Dowd3 42M

7/5/2006 7:42 am

Free, I'm glad to know he is his own man. I'm glad your daughter has him for a father. I'm glad your baby will have him. I'm glad you have him. While others may say he has mixed motives, I have to point out that such a statement: "My motivation to be a good father is to be nothing like my own father" speaks to me of the kind of love and devotion very appropriate in a father. Such a man speaks from experience not dogma and they are rare gems to find. Tell him I'm impressed with his conviction. It's a hard thing to cast off a father's traditions. I, for one, haven't, but I think his heart is in the right place.

Take care.


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