Saturday, June 17, 2006

Oh yea, it's Father's Day...

The quick history-- Dad died of a heart attack the spring I was 13 --
Mom and Dad were divorced and Mom was about to marry Step-dad when Dad died. He'd been "visiting" for several years.... but, since he worked in Chicago and we lived in Minneapolis -- it was a 'visit' atmosphere. At least mom was getting some (shit... I can't believe I wrote that!).

Step-Dad hasn't really been a father to me --- and I've been pretty stubourn about acknowledging Father's Day. You see, to get to BE a father, you have to actually act like one. Two sessions teaching me to drive is simply too little, too late.

Step-dad knew how to act like one, I saw him do it... Every Father's Day he'd make sure he was wherever his first kids were --- when they'd have birthdays he'd go there, but he'd usually miss ours. I'm pretty sure he didn't go to my high school graduation and he only made my college graduation because Mom insisted, and they could work it into a trip to see his parents. Frankly, I'm not all that sure either step-sister has graduated from high school, and I know damm well neither of them have a BA or MA, say nothing of beiing (nearly... God willing) ABD---

One step-sister is 5 years older, and whenever she'd call to borrow money, he'd jump, even if it ment that we'd be bringing lunches to school and couldn't really afford the field trip etc... She'd get the money she wanted -- he had to pay for his guilt at leaving their mother somehow. He still pays for their gas when she goes up to visit ---- she's in her 40s.... with two kids, a husband, a mortage and a boat -- and he's giving her gas money. Some things never change. The other step-sister is about 30, no education and working someplace... I don't know what she's got planned for her life, she's an odd one -- but at least she's self-sufficient.

If you asked him wheret I teach or how my dissertation was coming along, he'd be stumped. He might be able to come up with "philosophy" and "debate" -- but any details would be beyond him.

My sister Pam, more or less, accepted him as a fatherish figure and started to give him Father's Day cards before she died. She was 3 years younger than me and she told me once that it was probably easier to accept him because she was younger when Dad died.

At the bar after Pam's funeral step-dad was very rude to my mother -- I told him not to be such a rude prick and that he ought to be a bit more kind to the woman he says he loves on the day she buried her younger daughter. At least, he ought to not yell at her in front of the family for failing to get him the proper drink. At that point, I realized that he could never be my Dad -- and I was ok with that. At 33 I'd stopped looking for another Dad.. 20 years after my own dad died.

Maybe it is passive-agressive and mean of me to be this way, but the asshole has two daughters already -- he'll get enough crap from them in the mail for Father's day, he doesn't need anything from me.

To be kind of mercinary about it, when his dad dies, he'll gain a bunch of money (step-grandpa is good at making money, step-dad is not...) -- what he doesn't blow or need to pay off his credit cards, he's made clear will go to the step-sisters when he dies (he smokes a lot... honestly, it won't be long). They can be daughters to him -- I'm out of that picture.

Of course, with my luck my biggest fear will come true and Mom will die before Step-dad -- and I'll be obligated to her to take care of him... and I'll do it because the step-sisters are self-centered and frankly a bit dim-witted.... But, the whole time I'll be doing it for mom and not for him.

Anyway, if you have a good Father (bio or step)-- appreciate him for me. Give him an extra hug on Father's Day and tell him that you are a lucky person to be born his child. If you ARE a father, have a good day and keep being a good Father.... your kids will appreciate you sooner or later, just hang in there.


Tense Teacher said...

Father's Day is not my favorite holiday, either, as my dad died about 3 years ago, and he was never much of a father to begin with. It brings up memories I'd rather forget.
I am very blessed, however, to have a husband who is a great father and more than earns that title with our daughter each and every day.

Abbey said...

Thank you for the reminder. I forgot to buy a card for my father, realized none of his second set of kids will be in town, and I' too far away to see him. I've been feeling guilty but realizing that aside from a call tomorrow, it's too late to fix.

But I forgot my step father altogether. When I lived at home he and I would battle like brother and sister. For some reason, since I've grown up, moved away, and my mother divorced him he's been a pretty thoughtful guy. He doesn't owe me anything, I'm not even his blood, but I still get cards and calls for holidays and my birthday.

So thank you for reminding me to be grateful.

DRD said...

I am sorry you had such a crappy experience with the various fathers in your life. I actually try and avoid both Father's and Mother's day... my relationship with my own hangs by a string half of the time, I am unable at this time to have children of my own, and I hate how commercialized it is. I guess if all those people really want to celebrate the day, good for them... but it certainly isn't me.