Today in most countries around the world is Father’s Day. It is a day for those in fatherly like roles to be honored for doing that fatherly duty. Yes, I have a father, and I love him greatly, but oftentimes I do not show it nor do I ever give him the respect that he deserves for tolerating me.
I often claim that my father abuses me. This is no further from the truth. My father has been there for me from the moment I came out of my mother’s womb. In fact, I just learned after I was born, that my mother was struggling with her own issues, and that my dad and other family members would be my primary caregivers from my mom being too ill to do so. At one point doctors thought I had separation anxiety because I cried so much.
Nonetheless I can’t deny that my father didn’t attempt his darnedest to raise me right. Even though he had several faults that he still has today, and sometimes this reaches a conflict, even today. I know he genuinely cares for me, although yet again I am very careless and reckless about this privilege that many boys and men do not have. Yet, time and time again I lash out at him making him feel like a horrific monster, like he’s never did anything for me or been there for me. That is 100% not true.
Now without a doubt we don’t see eye to eye, and we do act very much alike each other. I come from what I believe was a generational effect of anger and lashing out, and possibly Asperger’s or Autism in some form. My paternal grandfather was likewise in many ways of my father and treated him that way in childhood and adolescence, making him work on the farm we own in part today and depriving him of opportunities to be a child.
My relationship with my paternal grandfather was a little strained because of the relationship with him and my father. Now that my father is now the age I remember my grandfather as a child, I sometimes see it in my dad. My grandfather didn’t want to understand me and most of the time I saw him was when were outside or in the barn. Likewise, my father attempted his best to instill responsibility at a young age, I just didn’t show interest and made it a miserable environment for us growing up. Sometimes, I wish I had my diagnosis earlier so that I would do those chores without issues and maybe it would instill responsibility, a skill at 35 that I really need to hone in on right now in order to go to the next chapter.
Some of the times I can remember my dad sticking up for me growing up was the times I would get suspended from Junior High and my mom would be working night shift at a glass factory and the school would call and she’d get dad out of work and he’d come and get me. Or the glorious time I decided to sign myself out at the age of 14 of the specialty psychiatric hospital an hour and half away from home, because in my state you can do that, and I thought it would sound better than being in the hospital getting the care I need.
A few months down the road, that would not prove well and I would be placed in a residential facility and my parents could’t agree on whether I would ever improve or be able to live with them. They almost divorced over me and separated for a few months, but it was dad who knew I could get through my struggles and long term placement was not an option.
The years after that were and have been a struggle and still are at times. I gave him a run for his money, but he retired due to his own issues shortly after I came back home from residential, so he could focus more on me and him.
Still today, I see that generational relationship play out, even as of yesterday. I was helping him move some farm equipment around his barn and he would angrily demand which way and where to move it and on occasion call me worthless and stupid. Of which, I know I am not, but as we are like-minded I know I don’t help by counteracting and I need to develop the Teflon skin and let it slide. Because you see, hes like me 30+ years than I and I know he doesn’t mean it. Yes, it hurts, but for all he has done and what he continues to do, Is it really worth that extra argument.
Last Friday, I turned 35, I figure I got 35 good years, if I am lucky at best. So I want to make them better, if I can. I want to enhance my Teflon and build a better relationship with both my mother and father, because they are in their sixties and seventies, respectively and I know that they won’t be around forever and it scares the bejezzus out of me of a world without either one of them in it.
Love the fathers and father-figures in your life friends, because you don’t know what will happen from one day to the next./