I wasn't home yesterday, on Father's Day, so didn't have the opportunity to write anything about fathers, specifically mine.
In August, 1981, my father walked me down the aisle at my wedding. Nobody realized how sick he was -- he'd had lung cancer surgery a few years before but he'd been determined, we realized later, to escort me on my wedding day and it wasn't until after the big day he let it be known that he was not feeling well. The surgery that followed was not able to remove the recurrent cancer, which had snaked around his aorta. By December, of that same year, some four months after my wedding, he was gone. I was 22.
To say that I hate cigarettes is an understatement. I hate them for many, many reasons -- I hate the smell, I hate the cost that we incur as a nation due to their abuse (and, if you're smoking, then it's abuse -- there is absolutely nothing good which comes from smoking), I hate the fact that my father never got to see his grandchildren whom he would have loved to distraction.
But that's not what I really want to remember -- I want to remember the times he took me fishing, taught me to paint a room and took me to Krystal every Saturday. I think those Krystal burgers were about 20 cents back in the day -- and probably bigger. I still love them and they always remind me of him.
I've often wondered, when it came time to choose my own spouse, if my father's personality made any difference on what I wanted in a mate. I think it did -- but, if I'm honest, as much as I loved my father, I knew I wanted more. I wanted someone who didn't smoke -- as you might have guessed -- smoking would have been a dealbreaker. I wanted someone educated -- my father wasn't and his ability, even then, to earn a decent living was stymied -- I knew I didn't want to be in a situation where worrying about paying the bills every month was an issue -- and I knew, once there were children, I wanted to be able to stay home with them. You can call that sexist all you want but the fact of the matter remains that having a husband who earned a good living meant I had a choice. My father also suffered from depression (so did my mother) -- I didn't know it back then but now I do. Maybe, somewhere in the back of my mind, I knew I needed someone who would not have those same kinds of problems -- because with the double dose I got from both parents, it was probably a given that I would.
I'm not saying I had a not-great childhood -- far from it -- I was loved and cared for and I have a lot of good memories -- and, sometimes, that's all that matters. But the man I chose to marry and father my children was quite different from my own father. Educated, patient, steady, stable, encouraging -- he's everything I didn't quite get as a child but craved even without knowing I did.
So, why is it then, that some women choose the same kind of man to marry as their father -- even if the father was not a good role model? Or choose a terrible mate when their father was excellent? One of those mysteries of life, I suppose.
All I really know is that I chose well.
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As an aspiring writer, I blog about whatever happens to move me at the moment -- though some posts contain serious content, my big-picture goal is to bring a little humor into an often humorless world! Welcome, y'all, and make yourself at home! Please make sure you update your bookmarks!
When you are offended at any man's fault, turn to yourself and study your own failings. Then you will forget your anger...Epictetus