Father's Day 2010.
I don't have enough good memories of my dad. but i cherish the ones i do have. at intermittent times in my life i have missed him and grieved for him more than i can say. he left an emptiness in my soul that nothing of this world can fill. he left when i was 5.
I am the oldest over my 3 siblings and i have both good and bad memories they do not share. i guess that is a good AND sad thing. sad that they didn't have special moments with him as they needed him as well, and good they weren't old enough to remember all the bad things that happened between him and our mom. to this day they don't know the half of it.
My father was a bus driver for the city, then for greyhound, then became an over the road trucker. he took me on trips with him both in the bus and truck before i started kindergarten and i have fond memories of having him to myself, even if only briefly. he took me on a chartered trip to the N.Y.C. World's Fair in 1964.
We went to Salem, Mass. and visited museums of condemned witches back in the witch hunting days. he took me to the top of the Empire State Building long before they had a fence around the summit so people couldn't jump or fall off. he held onto me as i leaned over the edge and dropped spitballs down below.
We went to Mystic Seaport and walked through old submarines and pirate ships from the war... just to name a few... i remember them all as if they were yesterday.
We'd be together but he wouldn't really be present in the moment. he was always on the prowl staking out women to pick up and he flirted with all of them... it left me feeling so insignificant and unworthy since his attention was always elsewhere... which resulted in issues for me throughout my life.
I remember him asking some to come with us on the truck and luckily at the time i was too young to realize it was all about sex. i had many "aunts" across the eastern seaboard who would let me look through their jewelry boxes out in the yard or be given a snack to eat on the porch... while they "visited" inside, or be left alone asleep in the truck or a motel room only to wake up and find him gone.. i hid under the blankets and cried in fear until he came back. he had a girl in every city.
In retrospect, my dad was a cheater and a liar. but i loved him crazy. he was MY DAD. he could make people laugh on the spur of the moment. he always had a joke to tell, even though it was usually inappropriate in front of me. i loved the way he smelled, i loved being with him, and i felt safe with him even though he would come and go into our lives as suddenly and often as the winds blew.
My memories of he and i together are so important yet fragile to me, that i have ingrained every little detail of each into my mind. i can close my eyes and smell him and hear his voice.
It's just uncanny to me how i can feel such intense emotion for someone who walked out of my life when i was so young. for the longest time i blamed myself for his leaving. i fantasized in my mind that some day when i was good enough, he would return. and when he did, i would magically be little again and we'd pick up where we left off. its so silly to even say that out loud but its true.
I held that belief until he died in 1982. when i learned of his death, i was in shock because my fantasy bubble burst and i knew right then he would never come back so i could grow up with him in my life. i was torn between that and the fact that my father had just died. there are still wounded parts of my psyche that are stunted in growth, & frozen in time at the onset of a traumatic moment/event... and unfortunately many are about him.
When we moved from New Britain, Ct. to upstate New York, i didn't see him often. every couple of years he would pass through our town in his truck, bring gifts, take us out to dinner, and try to have sex with our mother. she asked me not to leave her alone with him yet he'd give me money to take the kids to a movie...
She had become the other woman now as he was married to his 3rd wife. i can count on one hand the times i got to see him once we'd moved, and all visits were brief, with his attention being focused on getting my mother to sleep with him. his visits were never about us, really.
I don't know what it FEELS like to HAVE a father. he was always just out of my reach like an elusive butterfly that you can never really catch. that is the main reason i wanted to give our children the father i never had. i wanted desperately to spare them that loss and pain.
When my husband left, Emily our daughter was 5 years old.... same age i was. [until then, David was the BEST father any child could have. Nicholas and Emily were blessed to have him as their dad. he was there for them 100% and they were his reason for living. sadly, our other 2 sons never knew life with him]. i don't understand what happened to the father he used to be.
My heart broke for her the same way it broke when my dad left me. there i was back in a familiar situation but this time i was much older yet part of me was still her age grieving along with her on her level.
I KNOW that pain. it is ingrained in my soul... a part of who i will always be. i see unspoken, familiar parts of myself in my daughter, wounded parts that will always be with her now, too. we share similar pain and i will never get over her dad doing that to her.
Life has a funny way of repeating itself and i often wonder if it's because i need to learn a lesson or heal about something. maybe both. when i don't, it comes around again in a different form.. until i finally get it.
To anyone reading this today, if you are a father, a good father, i commend you for being so. i cant tell you how important it is for your kiddies to have you- really HAVE you be there for them both in body and mind. you are filling parts of their souls that can never be filled by anyone one else or at any other time than now, today.
It is what you chose when you decided to have kids, and it will be the most important job you will ever have in your life time. do it well, and you will be giving the greatest gift to humanity that's possible. Happy Fathers day to each of you.
me and my dad..
Happy Father's Day to my son-in-law!