I almost forgot this Sunday was Father's Day.
Maybe it’s because it still hurts to think of my own father and who he was compared to how I wanted him to be.
I know he was in his own private hell. And that it was out of his own pain that he hurt me.
He didn’t want to be that way but he couldn’t bring himself to risk anyone knowing who and what he was and he didn’t know how to stop on his own. I don’t think he believed it was possible.
And yet, a part of me remembers, too, the good time, the moments when he could be loving and kind.
I remember being a tiny child of 3 or 4 and talking softly to him when he was in a rage and violent—and getting him to calm down because something I said was able to reach past his pain and anger and touch him in some way. (I remember the times I couldn’t reach him, couldn’t stop his anger, too.)
I remember believing he was my hero and would protect me from everyone (except himself). And I remember seeing him back down and help my mother lash out at me instead.
I remember knowing he hurt inside, knowing he was afraid—and thinking that if I could just ease his fear, just stop the hurt then he wouldn’t have to hurt me or anyone else ever again. Only his fear and hurt went too deep. Just like my mother’s did.
In a way, I was lucky. Things were so bad that even as a kid I could see that my father (and mother!) were screwed up. I could know that I had to find other role models for how to love and how to be a parent. I knew I would have to find ways to survive.
Even so, on days like Father’s Day (and Mother’s Day) I’ll stay home. I’ll avoid the sentimental sermons and greeting cards and everything else.
Please don’t misunderstand me. I’m so very happy for everyone who has a loving father or is a loving father! I’m thrilled that there are men who can support and love and encourage their children and help them feel safe.
It’s just that days like Father’s Day reminds me of what I didn’t have—though he played the role oh, so perfectly in front of other people.
As happy as my life is now....well....if you’re reading here, odds are you already understand why I didn’t want to remember that this Sunday is Father’s Day.
Sending safe and gentle (((((((hugs))))))),