YES, HAPPY FATHER'S DAY
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SOME THOUGHTS AND REFLECTIONS FOR FATHER'S DAY
It’s one thing to realize the impact of your fathering on your own children. It’s yet another thing to recognize the impact of your fathering on your step children. And it is yet another thing to recognize your impact on the lives of any little people who experience your "fathering" or who observe your behavior as a father. Whoa! How can we be that impactful on so many little people? But we are.
Not only are we modeling what it means to be a Dad, but we are also modeling what it means to be a man. Again, it is one thing to be aware of how you may have influenced your children’s notions of "manliness" but to realize you may have impacted who knows how many other little people’s notions about what it means to be a man. That’s more responsibility than I would ever want to take on, but it is there, like ir or not. Little people are just sopping it all up. More than any of us want to acknowledge. Ever notice how infants and toddlers stare at you when you’re in line behind them at the checkout stand? They’re looking and noticing and sopping you up, for better or worse!
And it’s one thing to recognize that you impact your son’s and other young boys’ notion of both fathering and manliness, but it is yet another whole issue when you think about how you influence your daughters’ or other little women’s notions of fathering and manliness.
I cannot tell you the number of teenage women who tell me (in therapy ) that they are totally stumped as to what happened to their relationship with Dad. He used to be close and warm, affectionate, and cuddly, and since I turned 12, it all just stopped. What happened? What did I do to cause that?
Of course it’s a challenge for us to continue being warm, affectionate, and cuddly to someone who used to be a little girl and now has suddenly transformed into a person with breasts and who may be only twelve, but physically appears to be a grown-up woman.
I don’t know where we learned to be afraid of their metamorphosis, but it is imperative that we get over it. Our daughters need us to continue being warm, affectionate, and cuddly. Some Dads become so fearful that they actually become more controlling of their daughters, and that really drives a wedge.
Guess what happens when we become distant, unaffectionate or controlling with our teenage daughters? They start flirting with a guy anywhere from three to ten years their senior and might even marry the guy. Then both of them wake up in their late twenties or early thirties and wonder how they ever hooked up because now the little girl is all grown up and doesn’t need a "Daddy" for a husband anymore.
And it’s easy in this discussion about our relationship with our daughters to totally forget the real kicker. Many Dads stop being affectionate and cuddly with their sons when they’re about three years old. Guess what that does for us guys? It leaves us starving for affection, and when we finally experience sex, we confuse sex with warmth and affection. And obviously, we can’t get enough of sex. It’s more than just hormones. It really has a lot to do with what we have been deprived of for a LONG time.
There’s almost too much here for any of us, as either fathers or men, to reflect on. It is all very heavy and profound stuff. We are more responsible for the condition of the world than perhaps we want to become aware of, and we have the same amount of power to change the condition of the world if we want to..
And how ‘bout this war thing? We have continued to sacrifice our children, both sons and daughters, to the gods of war, and we just buy into the belief that war somehow is a necessary evil. And those, who serve, come back NOT talking about war. Perhaps, it’s way too much to talk about, too painful, too awful to say out loud what all you had to do on the battlefield.
And when sons and daughters come back from war, they are told, "we don’t talk about that sh-t. We just bury it." So now our sons and daughters are just like us. Shells, robots, time bombs, men and women disconnected emotionally, suffering terribly inside their brains and hearts, filled with the fear of being swallowed whole by the terrors of war. Not to mention those who suffer life altering physical wounds and dismemberments..
If what I have written so far isn’t enough to drive you to light up or order a drink, or eat a half gallon of Rocky Road, or screw your brains out tonight, or jump headlong into whatever you favorite addiction is, how about just bringing it right down to home?
So when I shift from the global perspective to reflecting specifically on my relationship as a Dad to my son, David, I, for whatever reason, start by looking at the not-so-nice stuff. Maybe, that is a way of saving the best for last. I don’t know, but I think it’s healing for both father and children to take an honest look and to humbly acknowledge the "stuff" we’d rather forget. Perhaps if I can talk OUT LOUD about the bad stuff, about everything that wasn’t supposed to happen or everything that went wrong, then perhaps David, when he becomes a Father, will have a really GOOD CHANCE to do it all a little bit better. Excuse the overused word, but that would be awesome.
There is one time, in particular, on a trip up the California coast that I actually stopped the car and gave David a spanking he didn’t deserve nor, because of his age, was he able to make any sense out of the experience except that there is a monster who lives inside his Dad. I cannot remember exactly how old he was. I frankly don’t want to. I know he was three or younger.
So where did I learn such crazy logic? The little guy is fussy, so don’t try to figure out how to soothe him, but give him something to be even more fussy about.
I also drank too much too often, when he was growing up, and smoked too much. He wonders how he mysteriously developed asthma. Well, maybe that’s how! I often worked very long hours and just was not physically present enough.
HOWEVER, By the time David entered High School, I had gotten enough smarts to turn my life around at least enough, and my parenting as well. In fact, I am very proud of the Dad I was for him during his high school years. I do not know if he would agree, and I am open to him sharing with me and you his perception of how I was during his High School years.
I am even more proud of how I have been with him during his young adult years, and also how I have been there for him in the last twelve years. And I am also grateful for the way he has been there for me during the last twelve years.
I actually walked David through the process of learning to be a car salesman, beleive it or not, and I dislike (a kind way of putting it) most carsalespeople. I have also been privileged to walk with him down his own path of grieving the loss of too many loved ones.
He has walked me through the forest of addictions with his brilliant book, How To Stop Smoking Without Killing Anyone, soon to be released on Amazon.. He also continues to beckon to me in the area of physical training to improve my upper body. I'm a little slow at answering the call, but thank God, the beckoning is there because the day will come when I will be swinging a Kettlebell and I will have David to thank.
Our time together, both physically and on the phone and even on Hubpages, is very very special and it is hard to tell sometimes who the father is and who the son is. That's a really COOL experience. It's like a dance.
I am still lacking in the amount of time I set aside for us to be physically together. When it comes to spending time together in each other’s physical presence, I’m still tend to be a Cats In The Cradle father.
HOWEVER, we are in almost daily contact by phone and support each other across the board in all areas of our lives. We’ve considered running off together and joining Wayne Dyer in Hawaii. I’m sure Wayne Dyer could use our daily consultation on a great many topics.
No I’m not serious. Well, on second thought. Yes, I am serious. We would be good for Wayne!.
So, what will it take for me to spend more time in his physical presence? That’s my challenge for the coming days. To make it a challenge for the coming year is TOO LONG to wait.
You know, sometimes, I hear folks who are really angry with their Dads for any number of reasons, and maybe very good reasons, you know, Dad abandoned them by just plain taking off or sometimes dying or prematurely dying or, in some cases, Dad was physically present, but emotionally distant or worse just plain abusive. They often refer to Dad as just a sperm donor. Well, I get their point and understand their anger. It’s an awful experience to be missing your Dad for whatever reason. It actually creates a potentially life long shroud of shame for the person.
But in the big scheme of things, being a sperm donor is pretty darn important. After all, it’s what got us HERE.
And hopefully if any of you, who are reading this, are still up to donating more sperm in the future, you will also commit to learning everything you can about the importance of your relationship with MOM. And the importance of your relationship with Mom during those nine months of gestation, and your relationship with both Mom and child during those initial months and initial years, let’s just say for the first eighteen years AS A START.
Well, HAPPY FATHERS DAY. I will never forget the Far Side cartoon about Father’s Day. It shows Dad sitting there reading the Sunday paper in his recliner. Mom is sitting next to him with her hair in curlers, reading the Sunday paper and sipping a cup of coffee. The large living room window has a hole in it, and on the floor of the living room is a rock with a note attached to it. "Happy Father’s Day! The caption for the cartoon reads "The Dysfunctional Family"
So hopefully you will receive other than a rock with a note on it, and hopefully you will GIVE other than a rock with a note on it.
HAPPY FATHER’‘S DAY, ALL YOU HUBBERS AND NON HUBBERS AND READERS!
A POEM FOR DAVID'S 36TH BIRTHDAY
IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER
AND OF THE SON
Know beyond doubt
You were pursued
From the very beginning.
We probed with our naked eyes
The farthest stretches of our Universe,
Searching for you,
Calling for you,
To hear your gentle knocking,
To feel your not-so-gentle kicks,
As you made your way out,
To hear your first cry.
Your father quietly hoping
It’s a boy.
With awe and humility,
My hands folded,
I bow to you,
In the name of the father and of the son.
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