i wrote a piece for an english class years ago. We were reading Socrates. i focused on Antigone and her father (Oedipus, of course). “Like father, like daughter” was the title of the paper… and that pretty much sums it up. While most people view the oedipal story through the lens of males and their struggle with their fathers… i saw the story as that of a young woman who was so very much like her father – frighteningly so. Even then… as an undergrad, i suspect i was working through issues. i embody so many of his characteristics (good and bad).
It’s father’s day… today… and i broke several times today. i had emailed Master earlier in the day to express my overall spiraling but He wasn’t online. i was out driving when it hit the hardest… as i neared the pharmacy and spotted this house and had to pull off the road to let the sobs subside.
It was the asbestos shingles… an unassuming little house… but those shingles were just like the ones on my childhood home. i’ve passed it before and saw the similarities. Today, in a flash, i transported more than forty years in the past to the breezeway where my father crushed old glass jars to make them easier to bury (paper trash was burned). He had engineered what looked like a massive metal butter churn to handle the task of glass disposal. i was standing next to the fifty gallon drum, dwarfed by it… i must have been two and a half? and he raised the plunger he had fashioned from metal rod and a large steel disc within the drum and smashed it down over and over. The sound was deafening. i don’t know why my mind took me back to that memory. So much of my childhood was spent with him towering over me in some form or fashion… full of sound and fury (“signifying nothing” i hear my literary friends add… ah, yes… but we are getting ahead of ourselves, aren’t we?).
But there were also tender moments and as i sat there bawling like a baby, i thought of him letting me stand on his shoes while he danced to the music of Nat King Cole… and how he’d put me on his shoulders at the roller rink even though he always got in trouble for doing it… and how his face would light up when he heard me engage in intellectual debate with adults. There were good moments sprinkled in among the horrific ones. Somehow… that juxtaposition made my sadness even more profound. He was capable – after all – of goodness. It was within his control to be better.
So… i messaged Master again – with more urgency – hoping that He’d get the note and understand i was unraveling. A message came back… He told me to write my father a note but not to send it. He added, “It’s okay for this to be about you.”
And that… that was one of those… goddamn-it-but-i-love-this-Man-i-serve moments. While my initial message had been that i was worried about dad and how he would feel about not hearing from me today, Master stepped right over that puddle of water and got to the leaky pipe. Yes, i thought of my father and how he would react to not hearing from me… but as i began drafts of a note in my mind…
“Dear Dad, It’s father’s day and i know you must be wondering why you haven’t received a call…”
“Dear Dad, i’m thinking about you even though i cannot call…”
“Dear Dad, please know that i remember good times…”
… each and every sentence i started careened into another direction. The fact was – i was grieving Father’s Day much in the way that i see other people grieving that day… people whose fathers are passed. i was not grieving for my father entirely. Rather, i am grieving for the father i didn’t have and the father i wanted… the father i still want , truth be told. i am grieving for a father that never will be. i am suffering… in the buddhist sense of the word. i wish it to be something other than what it is.
Whew… It’s okay for this to be about you… it’s okay for this to be about you… yes, Master… it IS okay for it to be about me… it IS about me.
All of that dad-business… the horrible memories and the good shit too… all of it … it just is.
i’m in the processing of parenting myself… un-parenting and re-parenting myself… because both of my parents sucked at parenting. i am left with the task of growing myself and finding nurture. i am unbelievably blessed to have masculine energy in my life that is good and safe. One such person posted to Facebook that folks who were “missing having a daddy today” could message and receive a message of pride and place in return. S signed it, “Love, hunter green-flagging temporary daddy.” i signed up for that kind of love and i received it in short order. i have to remind myself that i have a tribe and a place and my life is full of love. That doesn’t mean i won’t have emotional hiccups… but i have hope.
my father once told me, “You are like the son I never had”
my father has a son.
Ah, but i was the child he wanted… and yet… he was not the father i wanted or needed.
It’s Father’s Day and your daughter wishes she had a father.