Daddy Dearest

I miss writing every night. I know, I know, I could just keep at it, as a friend of mine recently pointed out. Yet there’s other exciting stuff I am doing when I’m not writing… although it doesn’t give me quite the same sense of satisfaction. Will have to conspire to sneak in more writing time!

I recently read a letter on the blog of a lovely lady who has resolved to write a love letter every day in February. You know; Cupid, Valentine’s and all that. What a fab idea! I especially loved the letter she wrote to her deceased father. Interesting timing, as lately I have been thinking a lot about my own Dad too.

He passed away twenty years ago, around this time of year. Early March. When he was diagnosed with late stage colon cancer, he only had another three or four months to live. At the time, I was nineteen and my preferred strategy of dealing with stuff was to ignore it. Get busy. Which is precisely what I did. I was so busy getting busy that I actually don’t think I spent all that much time with my Dad before he passed away. For many years, that was about the only regret I ever had. Eventually, I came to understand that I did the best with what I knew at the time, and trusted that he knew I loved him anyway.

With the anniversary of his passing, there’s a great many conflicting thoughts running through my head. Yes, I idolized him and yes, I was Daddy’s girl. Yet I am not sure we were really close. At least not in the sense that I would define closeness today. There were a great many things that were never talked about in our family, problems that were swept under the rug. As such, my Dad wasn’t even all that present. His work had him seeing clients all over his region during the week, with the odd office day thrown in. On Saturdays, he would do ‘manly’ stuff around the house and garden… mow the lawn, wash the car, that sort of thing. Get busy, basically.

Sundays were supposedly family time. Joint meals, frequent day trips. A lot of time spent in the car driving places. Not a lot of talking. The thing is, we just never really talked in our family. I mean, really talked. About stuff that was important, about how we felt. Guess that’s a solid German upbringing for you.

So that’s kinda what’s been on my mind lately. Part of me wants to go back and ponder it all. The things that I loved about my Dad and the things that he taught me. But also the things that were never said, never challenged.

But I’ve done all that already in various guises. And at this point, I just don’t see how that’s gonna serve me, other than to lead me down a slippery melancholy slope. What seems more important is to know that while he was alive, my Dad did the best he could with what he knew at the time too.

I’ve obviously spent some time writing about my experience as a Mum. A lot of stuff, good and bad, gets written about motherhood. I don’t see quite so much written about what’s going on for Dads. On some level, that makes sense… with guys generally feeling less compelled to share every iota of their emotional selves. Or else being driven to live up so some new label of the modern Dad, with whatever specifics that entails.

So my curious self has suggested that Rob do a guest post on his experience as a Dad so far. I have absolutely no idea what he might write about, so I’m curious indeed.

Watch this space!

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