The Man Who Fathered Me

The man who fathered me
often lacked diplomacy
and seldom showed he cared.

He worked long hours, not skipping a beat
but at day’s end would make his retreat
to a dimly lit bar, to imbibe and to share.

With his friends he’d cavort
but they weren’t the sort
he’d pal around with at any other time.

He’d head home when he was done.
Deal with a wife who felt shunned,
then would pass out in his chair before nine.

He wasn’t permissive, abusive or absent
and there were good times and special events,
like vacations and Christmas Day.

But though in body he’d be there,
his thoughts were often elsewhere
and though amongst us, he’d seem far away.

He and Mom split after I left home
finally having that life alone
that he seemed often to reflect upon

And yet when he died years later
I recall how I didn’t feel bitter.
‘Cause I am after all his Son

In happier times. Me in dad’s lap. Circa 1952

11 responses to “The Man Who Fathered Me

  1. Life’s story: wishing, a bit of regret, acceptance and forgiveness. We all want our parents to be who we want them to be and few reach our expectations . Nicely done LB!

    • Dad was neither good nor bad. He was, well … just Dad. He didn’t abandon us but you always felt that he was only there at the periphery. Not overly involved but just within reach at most given moments.

    • The lesson I learned from my Dad for the most part Hans was not to imitate him in his relationship with his kids. I can’t ever recall him expressing his love for us but then he seldom expressed emotion in most circumstances. My kids have frequently heard me tell them and their mother that I love them.

  2. The mark (or at least one mark) of a grown up person is accepting that their parents were highly flawed individuals who simply did the best they knew how, and had good intentions. I know this to be the case with both my parents. To accept, and hope to do better is, after all a good lesson in life. It is a bittersweet day in many respects, as is Mother’s day. Life is what you make of it, not what is made for you by others. I know oh so many “adults” who still blame their parents for their lousy lives. It does them no real disservice and certainly doesn’t move forward either. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Very nice, Larry. That’s a frank appraisal of your Dad – and a very even handed one. In our later years, we do find the ability to forgive and let go, don’t we?

    • Thanks Jean. Perhaps I should have written nothing since my relationship wasn’t like many who had a very close and personal one with their father’s. But then again, mine wasn’t the worst as it perhaps has been for many children who were abandoned or abused. There are those I think who can identify with a father like mine without thinking negatively about them.

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