Sunday, December 18, 2005
Dad being here stirs up a lot of stuff for me, emotionally. Not that it takes much.
Take shabbos, for example: He woke up at 9am, took a shower (didn't want to get into "no showers on shabbos" with him), and was back in bed by about 10:15. We woke him at 1 for kiddush, and he was back in bed after lunch. He slept until havdala (7ish) and then was awake until 11pm or so. To be fair, He's on some heavy duty medication.
Still, I feel it's a metaphor for my childhood. He was never around. My mother told me he slept all the time. After they divorced (I was one), I saw him every now and again. He would come and take me out, give me presents, oh the fun! He wasn't a parent, though. He was a clown. "Good Time Charlie."
Now I see him with my kids, with his prize bag singing zippity-doo-dah. I see a man who walked out on fatherhood. He couldn't handle the real deal, he could only be Mr. Sunshine on the occasional visit. And I'm not the first. He was married before my mom, and had a son. He wasn't a father to him, either.
So I have a half-brother, whom I've never met. He's married with 3 kids of his own. We exchange family pictures every now and again. Interestingly, I got their annual "holiday card" on Friday, while Dad was here. We've never really spoken, but I think someday we'll meet. When we're both ready.
I think of all my friends, every one of us has a story. Every good friend I have has had some kind of broken-ness in her childhood. We all connect on some level with our childhood dysfunction, our weird families, our personal exile.
I feel like I have to be super-mom on so many levels. I know my kids are in different circumstances, have different parents and different lives. Yet I can't help but project my childhood onto theirs. I can't help but pray that they are healthier (emotionally) than I was.
I just want them to be able to look back some day and say; "I had a happy childhood."