Sunday, June 19, 2016
I hope others have a clearer bead on what that means than I seem to... and that it is a time of some joy.
Having never been a father before, the arrival of fatherhood left me gob-slapped at first. What was anyone supposed to do? I had no clue. And somehow, as one child turned into three, I still had no clue. No one seemed to have taught me ... or maybe I was a slow and inattentive learner.
I wish, somehow, that I could have done better, but if you lack a base line -- "I had no clue" -- the question becomes "better than what?"
And further, wishing I could have done better suggests that I might have done worse. But, once again, the question becomes, "worse than what?"
My kids are all pretty good people and I am glad for that. As yet, their difficulties do not seem monumental and I still wish I could make things better for them. What role did I play in their past? Honestly, I must have played some role, but laying claim to the particulars seems to be impossible to grasp and name.
The secret world of being a parent includes the axiom, "parents are made to make mistakes." The axiom is one that separates the parent from the single person, who may still be busy thinking that not-fucking-up is a real possibility. Parent-dom takes the starch out of the well-starched shirt of individuality.
And none of this jibber-jabber brings me any closer to understanding what a father is, what being a good one might entail, and what harm has been left in my wake. I hope it's not too much, but I'm not about to assume that. One of my mistakes, perhaps, has been to lean too far towards my potential and real errors and to brush aside a few honest accomplishments.
So it goes.