So I’m randomly chatting to this woman, cute smile, sense of humor, whathaveyou. We’re give brief bios when she mentions she has kids and waited for the look of defeat in my eyes. I proceeded to make normal conversation, much to her surprise. She thinks maybe I misheard her, so she attacks from a new angle explaining how hard it is to date as a parent and went on saying things you really don’t say to a guy you just met. Going back to the parenting/dating conundrum, she said she struggles to meet guys who can get past her children, I countered she seems to place them in the way. I went on to say that there’s two sides to a mother, the parent and the woman, and sometimes she and suitors never focus on the woman. And like that shields was down, but that’s a different post entirely.
Anywho, I was reading another blog on what makes a good father. Now I have no lil Stans running around so I couldn’t relate on that level, so I thought what makes my father a good father. I couldn’t help but think about that conversation with the woman before and my theory on the two sides of a parent. If you’ve read long enough you’d know my relationship with my father is unique, he was always provider, care taker and disciplinarian but as a man, I hardly knew ye. I know I can call him for anything, I know he proudly served his country and worked to give me everything I covet. But his favorite color? I don’t know…blue? Actually I think it is blue. Whatever.
What I did learn about him, came from my mother and loose lipped relatives. My father was the king of compartmentalization. He never let us see his struggles as a man. He quit drinking and smoking shortly after I was born. He’ll play 5 basketball games in a row and never let me know he’s sore (though I would be dude plays defense like a Bad Boy Piston). He’s not rich but you could never say he was broke. It goes without saying he wasn’t perfect, but he’d be damned to let me or any of my siblings know his flaws. He was Superman.
These days he’s hung up his cape, and it’s still awkward to see him as Clark Kent. Instead of telling what’s what, he just gives his perspective and leaves it to our own interpretation. Talks went from “wear a condom” to “are you sure you’re in love with this woman”. I never heard him complain about work, I never heard him gush over my brother’s mother the way he does his new fiancee. Perhaps, it simply takes a man to know a man.
It makes sense now, but it hadn’t always. My sisters were spoiled, my older brothers were equals, my little brothers were babies, I was just….me. I saw our relationship for what it wasn’t rather than what it was. As gifted as I was I was still a child, and a child was kept in a child’s place. Could he had did some things differently? Of course. Could I had made life easier? Indeed. With that understanding and the lessons learned, we’re able to move forward in the next phase of the father/son dynamic. So this Father’s Day especially I take time to reflect on the father I have and the father I hope to be one day, Superman with a bit more tact, the great parent and just as great man.
Happy Father’s Day.