The last time I saw my father was in March 1991. In July 2016, after 25 years and many more questions, I finally saw him again.
Leading up to the day he was coming, I kept wondering what it would be like to see him after so long. Would we both cry? Would I be happy, or mad, or something I didn’t yet know? So it was fairly perplexing to discover that I’d react as if I had just seen him the previous week.
My older brothers, my husband, my oldest niece and I picked him up along with my youngest brother, whom I hadn’t yet met. The airport was busy with people and taxi drivers bustling about, which made the experience kind of surreal, as if experiencing it from outside of myself with ‘Café sounds’ playing as mood music in the background.
We all hugged, got in our cars and drove to my mom’s house. I was really curious to see what my parents’ first in-person interaction in 25 years would be like. There were no fireworks and no war-like explosions; just hugs and excited happy voices.
I pulled my husband to the side later that evening and explained how weird it was to not feel anything extreme. How could I not want to cry from seeing my father and my youngest brother? How could I not want to yell in frustration for having so many questions left unanswered? In the end, I theorized that because I already knew that I wouldn’t be getting any answers, I was mentally and emotionally prepared for this very special encounter.
Although we were around one another here and there for about two weeks, it was only toward the end of my stay that my father and I had ‘the’ conversation. We were at the beach, and he was by the water, standing alone. I walked over to take a food order from him, and he said: “Listen, I am really sorry for not being in your life, but all that is in the past, and I hope we can move forward with a new life. Okay?”
I could see it was a difficult sentiment for him to get out, as he could barely look at me as he spoke. It seemed that he wanted to let me know how bad he felt, but he wasn’t going to get into it, whatever his reasons were.
All I could do, given where we were, was say “okay”, smile, and take his food order. On my way back to the restaurant at the beach I couldn’t help but analyze my response. I was a bit incredulous at myself, but I also knew this wasn’t the place to have ‘the’ conversation with my dad.
The sum of the experience, for me, was to learn that life presents us with a myriad situations in which innumerable people are involved. Sometimes we find the strength to ask questions to find closure, and sometimes we don’t. Sometimes we ask the questions and we get answers, and other times we don’t. What do we do then, when there are no answers but the answer-bearers are alive?
We can come up with as many solutions for this as there are people, but I found that my lesson was to let it go and agree that it’s all in the past.
Finding closure for yourself can be difficult, but if you pretend that there is no other way (for instance, if you wanted to ask Michael Jackson how many times he rehearsed The Man in the Mirror, you couldn’t do so, and you’d have to be at peace with that), then I believe you can put your mind to accepting that you can move on, taking your brain and your heart with you and have closure regardless.
What are some of your experiences in which you wanted closure but couldn’t get it? What did you do about it? Does it affect your parenting in any way?
This is an original post to World Moms Network by Sophia of ThinkSayBe. Photo credit to the author.
This morning, I received news that a friend’s little boy had died. During the weekend, he was wading in a river with his dad and brother, and he got pulled underwater by a current. He was immediately taken to hospital, and the doctors and nurses tried oh-so-hard to pull him through while we – friends and family members – held vigil at our computers, anxiously awaiting updates.
Luke was just seven years old. He was a vibrant kid with his whole life ahead of him. When he woke up one morning, he was excited about a day of fun with his dad and brother. Two days later, his parents are having to talk about funeral arrangements and child-sized caskets. There is no possible way for me to imagine what it’s like.
But when I look at my younger son, who is just a few months older than Luke was, my heart gives an almighty twist. I am hit hard with the realization that this is the kind of accident that could happen to anyone, that life is so incredibly fragile, that nothing should ever be taken for granted. (more…)
Welcome to “World Tour” where we feature a guest post from around the world, here, at World Moms Blog. Today, we’re in the USA and talking gender roles with father, Scott, from the blog, Three Five Zero.
There was a time in America when the color of your skin determined which schools you could go to, where you sat on a city bus and what careers you could choose, among many other things. That time long ago passed.
There was a time in America when your gender determined whether or not you could vote, among other things. That time long ago passed.
There is still a large part of our population that believes that only certain genders of parents can do certain things, and that some genders can’t do some things at all. Only Dads can be little league coaches. Only Moms can go bra and panty shopping. Dads can’t soothe babies. Moms can’t do their own home improvements. I really want this time to pass.
I happen to be a single dad, and because I am a single dad, I learned to do things I never imagined I would need to do. Bras and panties, for example. I’m an expert, and I don’t really care who dislikes my presence in those departments in the clothing stores. My kid needs them.
I used to be very self conscious in those situations. Not anymore… I go get what I need, and I don’t even pay attention to who else is there, or whether or not they notice me. Just like picking up a gallon of milk.
I know lots of single moms, too. Want to meet guys? Go to your favorite home improvement store. Men are likely to offer you help whether you need it or not. I’m happy to help anyone who asks for help. I won’t offer help based on any assumptions about what tasks your gender makes you capable, or incapable, of. I’ll assume you know what milk you’re buying, too, whether you’re male or female. If you don’t ask for my help, I’ll assume you’re able to paint your kid’s bedroom all by yourself.
This list of examples could go on and on and on. In fact, I hope you’ll leave comments regarding your (least?) favorite story about something another parent assumed you couldn’t do just because you were Mom or Dad. I’ll chuckle along with you, and if the story is topped with enough sexism, I’ll get just as annoyed as you were when it happened.
When my kids are grown, I hope that all of these archaic stereotypes have long passed. I hope that they raise kids in a family unit of some sort, but if either of them ends up raising kids on their own, Grandpa Scott will be there to hack away at those gender biases and stereotypes, along with any that might still exist about what grandparents can or can’t do!
Family comes in all shapes and sizes. Do kids need both male and female influences? I absolutely believe they do. If you’re a good parent, you’ll make good choices about who those influences will be, and it will all work out just fine in the end. It doesn’t matter whether you’re Dad or Mom. Good parents do whatever their kids need them to. Period.
Help me out? The next time you see a single mom or a single dad, look at them differently. Think about any assumptions you had about him or her the moment you saw them. Then erase those assumptions from your thought process forever. Look at him or her as a parent, and only a parent, and assume he or she is a very good one unless you know otherwise.
Do you have a favorite story about something another parent assumed you couldn’t do just because you were Mom or Dad?
This is an original post to World Moms Blog. Scott is a single dad. He didn’t plan it that way, but he did rise to the occasion. You can find Scott blogging at www.ThreeFiveZero.com
Photo credit to the author.
At the age of 19, I sat at my Father’s deathbed. I watched him battle and lose his life to cancer in a very short period of time. I live with nightmares of his disease, and I grieve over him daily. He never saw me graduate from University, met my husband, walked me down the aisle, or met my son.
My loss haunts me daily. I have spent years attempting to honor his life and his spirit, but his death defined my life and altered it forever.
The moment I knew I was pregnant, I knew I was going to have a baby boy. I had vivid dreams of him and my Father. I am not sure how I knew, but at our 5 month ultra sound, we were told it was a boy. I knew he would take my Father’s first name, and I knew that somehow, my Father was connected to him.
I am not a deeply religious person, nor am I regular church goer. I have a deep sense of spirituality, mostly from years of travelling. I never want my son to fear death, and I want him to celebrate life. (more…)
It occurred to me today that there’s nothing quite as attractive as a ‘tough’ guy who responds to a young child’s enthusiasm. Today driving home from work I stopped at the traffic lights and watched as a mother steered her young daughter, who was probably three or four, in a pram / tricycle combination across the crossing.
The endearing smile and enthusiastic wave that this small bundle of energy bestowed on everyone sitting at the traffic lights was enough to lighten the heaviest heart. What was great was that in the two separate cars alongside me, both of the ‘tough guys’ in work shirts waved back with the same enthusiasm as this little girl. This put a smile on my face that stayed with me all the way home. (more…)