Sunday, 7 September 2008

Happy Father's Day

...to all the dads out there, those who have children, those who want to have children, those who have lost children.  It's a special day and I hope you have all been made to feel so special and valued today.

Father's Day in our house is always a bit bittersweet.  My two eldest sons go to their Dad for the day, while our younger two (whom Doug and I have together) spend the day with us.  It's hard because my older two came home in very different moods; my eldest (he's the autistic spectrum one) came home happy that he had seen his Dad, played a bit of catch with him and watched TV at Grandma's place, while my second eldest came home bitter, angry, resentful and tearful.  He felt he didn't get to do anything special with his dad and that his dad didn't want to do anything special with him.  Doug and I spent the rest of the evening trying to make it up to him with lots of attention and letting them watch a movie until late which is typically not allowed on a "school night" where they have to get up for school the next day.  It's also hard for Doug, who does his best 24/7 for my older two boys to direct them, teach them, help them learn about how the world works.  My eldest is eternally ungrateful (as most teenage boys are for just about everything) and still idolises his father no matter how many screw ups he makes.  My second son, Lachie, was the one who felt it most today and came home so sad.  It's hard because no matter how hard Doug tries,  he is not a substitute for their own dad's attention which Lachie felt he did not have today, and Doug felt like no matter what he did for Lachie when he came home, it wasn't enough to eclipse the bad feelings he had of spending the afternoon with his own dad.  It's a bit hard all round really but what can you do?  Not a lot... you make the most of what you have and you give them all you have to give them, and then you just hope they will somehow understand that you are trying your best in what are sometimes not the best circumstances.  

I rang my dad tonight and got his messagebank.  I don't have a great relationship with my dad.  I used to though, once when I was little.  He had a very bad motorcycle accident when I was only 5 years old - he used to be a motorcyle parking cop - yeah, he was the guy who would write you a ticket if you parked too long in the wrong spot.  His motorcycle got clipped by a car and he was thrown off.  Even with his helmet he still sustained a head injury that led to severe personality change in him and sadly for all of us - me, my mum and him - he was never the same and became an angry, paranoid, abusive man.  I prefer not to think about what I've lost and I just try to maintan a friendly relationship with him.  I ring every now and then to check that he is okay.  He rings occasionally to tell me of his troubles with his Filippino girlfriend who he has finally gotten rid of but not before she put him in debt for the first time in his life and almost cost him his house which he built with his own hands.  It's hard because he wants a sympathetic ear but I cannot forget his treatment of me as a child and teenager.  It's hard because now that I have a medical background after working in that field for so long as a typist I do understand that his behaviour/attitude/personality is not his fault.  It's hard because my mum is gone and there is no go-between for us, no line of communication, so we have to rely on our own very faulty selves to connect.  It's hard because he is the only link I have to the large Italian extended family which I grew up in and now have very little to do with, just because everyone seems to be fighting with or not speaking to someone else for whatever reason.  It's hard because without him I would just consider myself an orphan - stupid really, I'm 34 for goodness sake - but no matter how large my family, without him I don't have any other links to them.  Time and distance have estranged many of my numerous cousins, aunts and uncles.  It's hard because he doesn't know my children's names;  he knows my oldest son, because he was in a "good place" when Blayd was born, he had a nice Filippino girlfriend who took such good care of him, just like my mother would have, and he was happy then.  He doesn't remember Lachlann, referring to him as "the other boy", and James is the "the younger fella" whereas my daughter is "the little girl".  Sadly for them they won't have a grandfather, not at least what a "normal" grandfather is thought to be.  He keeps to himself, does not like contact.  He would rather sit alone without comfort or aid than have family around to help and take care of him.  That is who he is, and always has been;  a fiercely independent man, despite good sense and the best wishes of others.  Anyway, I left him a message, told him how busy my week had been, what Doug was doing at work, that the kids were all fine and sent their love.  I said I hoped he was okay and if he needed me to just call.  I told him I loved him and that I'd ring him later in the week to check on him.  The sad part is that he is old enough to have died in the house and nobody else would know....and he wouldn't have cared about it being that way.  So I will have to ring tomorrow now because he would normally be home at 7.30 on a Sunday night but he didn't answer the phone.  I don't know if he went to bed early because he was tired or unwell - he is getting old after all, late seventies now my dad is, and likes to insinuate that he has multiple medical problems but won't elaborate on them to his only next of kin - or if by some chance a friend came over and took him out for the evening.  Either way I will now have that worry in the back of my mind that somethinghas happened to him so I will have to call again tomorrow to basically make sure he isn't dead.  I know how callous that sounds but he has been alone - by choice- for so long and has so little contact with me, his only child, and his entire extended family, that really nobody would notice, not even the neighbours.  This is, however, a regular occurrance.  He won't answer the phone and if Doug stops by on the way home from work he might be out and then I have to go by myself and walk all around the house, looking in all the windows and then asking the neighbours when was the last time they saw him, just to make sure.  It's a sad situation because I know that any attempts at an emotional connnection with him will be met with rejection and indifference, and yet I worry about him because he is my last link with the adoptive family I grew up in.  I was raised an only child but had dozens of cousins, lots of aunts and uncles.  I feel like when my dad finally passes it will sever a connection with that family tree, even though I love each and every one of those people and have done all my life, regardless of whatever inter-family strife, trouble or arguements they had between them.  So here's to hoping he is okay for one more time and that when I ring him tomorrow he will pick up the phone and I'll say, "It's me, Cinda, just checking how you're doing," and he'll say, "I'm alright.  What's wrong?" like he always says....

2 comments:

lusi said...

oh honey. what a heart felt post; i'm sorry it was like that. you are such a good daughter you know and i really haven't got any other words but you know i think you are fabulous. definitely a daughter who should hold her head up and be proud for being a beautiful human being.
love to you all xox

Kat Browne said...

Lots of hugs and love to Lachie. I grew up fighting for my mum's attention a lot growing up. Even now, sometimes she kinda forgets she has two daughters. Doug does such a great job, and while Lachie may not realise it now, when he looks back, he'll realise that his father may let him down, but he had, and has, a Dad with Doug.

I hope your Dad's ok. And hun? Nothing you said sounded cold. It's life. There's only so much time you can spend banging your head against a wall before you have to step away. Eventually you have to protect yourself from being hurt by it all. And while it's sad the kids don't have the traditionally grandad, they will never be short of people who love them.

love to you all.

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