June 18, 2005

Nature and Nurture

So... tomorrow is Father's day. Sure, it's one of those trite "buy a card or a cheap ass tie" kinda holidays, but it gets me thinking about Fathers and Dads. As you may or may not know, I've been blessed with one each. One Father, One Dad.

My Father was my Mom's first husband. She had four kids with him (Three boy's, one girl) of which I am the youngest. I get a lot of my physical traits from him, all of us boys did. Unfortunately, I also got his propensity for alchohol. (At least I haven't gotten to the point where I have to have beer taps sticking out of refridgerators on my front porch. That's something I guess.) He was alway's a bit of a lagabout. Bumming around from one mechanic job to the next. I haven't spoken to him in probably four years, but I'm sure that he's still pretty much the same way. (He did quit drinking though.)

When I was four or five, my Mom got a divorce, and took back up with her highschool sweetheart (who had recently returned from a hitch in the Navy). They got married, and my Dad decided that he would adopt us kids. My eldest brother decided to stay with my Father, but the rest of us chose to go with Mom and Dad, so our last name changed, and we moved to Tennessee.

Dad is an Electronics Technician. He's worked for several of the largest companies in the field, and he's worked for Mom and Pop shops. He's the guy who's always there on time, does his job to the best of his ability, and will work overtime if the company is strapped to get things done. I got a lot of my work ethic from him. I get my stoicism from him as well. I remember one year when he sold his prized "Gold Spike Comemmoritive" Winchester .30.30 carbine, to a coworker in order for us kids to have a Christmas. It took him some time (six months to a year), but he got the scratch together and bought that rifle back. I didn't hear about that until after I was grown.

When my brother David turned sixteen or so (He's four years older than I am), he really turned into a hellion. Whenever Mom and Dad tried to discipline him on his behavior, he would throw the old "I'll just go live with my Father" at them. Mom and Dad put up with it for awhile, but after he landed himself in jail for boosting a car to go on a joyride with his buddies, they'd had enough so he got his wish. One Greyhound ticket to New York to live with our Father. You've got to dig pretty deep into my Dad's ground before you hit bedrock, but it's there. Such a great guy, I can't put it into words. He was (and still is) the best role-model I could have asked for.

Father's Day is a bit bittersweet for me though. If you didn't know, I have a son. He lives with his mother. She and I dated for about a year, and I wasn't happy with the relationship, so I broke it off and split. About a year after we broke up, she showed up on my doorstep with my boy. As you might guess, this rocked my entire world. I held him, played with him, and loved on him for about four hours that day. I studied on the situation for about a week, and then I made my decision. I haven't seen my son since that day. I've observed so many situations where kids are caught in the middle of parents who couldn't make it work, and I refuse(d) to put my son through that. Better to have him with his mother than bouncing back and forth between us.

He's ten now, and as much as I try to avoid it, he creeps into my thoughts at least once a day. My mind wanders to all the good things that could have come from our interaction. Macaroni pictures, music, art, baseball, or just a hug when he skinned his knee. I get a little wistful for these things that I've missed. I then have to remind myself that I made my choice for his sake, and it's one that you can't just back away from or it will have no meaning. I tell myself to picture the arguments over parenting styles that would inevitably happen. I see us using him as an emotional cudgel to bludgeon each other with. He doesn't deserve that.

But what I wouldn't give to get that cheezy #1 Dad ballcap. Just once.

Posted by Johnny - Oh at June 18, 2005 12:06 PM

*hands Johnny-Oh a beer*

Posted by: Harvey at June 18, 2005 02:31 PM

Thanks my friend. Many thanks indeed.

Posted by: Johnny - Oh at June 18, 2005 11:54 PM

**big hug**

Posted by: Tammi at June 19, 2005 02:06 PM

.. whoa...

Posted by: Eric at June 20, 2005 08:19 AM
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