Growing up, I had a Dad that was gone a lot because of his job. He was the disciplinarian. When he was home, the rules changed. Not drastically, but enough that I noticed. I guess I was just closer to my Mom, maybe because she was always there.
Dad and I went through some rough times. Times were we barely spoke to each other. Times were we hung out a lot. I think I got close to my Dad about the time I became a Father. I don’t know if was because I was a Father and gained an understanding, or if he gave me more respect.
Our relationship is still strong to this day. He has seen my go through some rough times in my life. Divorce, legal issues, jobless, bankruptcy, problems with my children. He has stood there every step of the way. Always with an opinion, a piece of advice, a shoulder, an ear, a helping hand.
I am my father’s son. He gives his opinion unprovoked. It’s up to you to take it or leave it. He’ll tell you how he sees it, then leaves you alone. Never mad if you don’t take, but he puts it in front of you. Much like myself.
Now, I’ve been on this rollercoaster of fatherhood for nearly 19 years, give or take.
As a young man, I swore I would never have legitimate children. (can’t account for those that I had no relationship. Juvenile humor). The idea of little ones never interested me.
Then life decided it other ideas for me, and I became Father. A chubby, head full of hair, helpless little child. And like so many others before me, I immediately fell in love. I was wrapped around the finger of that little bundle of joy. All of my life decisions were based on that speechless, dependent, baby. About the time the first one was walking, and talking, and showing some independence, along came the second bundle of joy. The same feelings arose. I immediately fell in love. And there wasn’t anything I wouldn’t do for the two of them.
Work took me from home a lot in the beginning. I wasn’t there for some of the little things. Always tried to call every night and speak to each one. I was young enough that I didn’t really realize the importance of those little things.
I got divorced, I knew that I would be one of two fathers. The weekend Dad, the good time Dad, that saw his kids when it fit in my schedule. Or the involved Dad, the one who did his best to make every girl scout, boy scout meeting, school function, and sporting event. I became the latter.
For the eldest, they had that privilege (or burden) for 16 years. For the youngest, they had it for about 13. The youngest has always been closer to mom. I always had a harder time finding that bond. Different interests I guess. Not that I didn’t try.
Coached both of their teams, heck I even ran the whole program for a few years. Just to make sure the program survived.
The youngest learned early how to manipulate the divorced parents. Nothing against them. Much like the father in some ways I suppose. I’m a firm believer that I can change your mind, if nothing else by pure persistence! Which is basically the definition of manipulation. I don’t look at in the negative connotation that some do.
So now we are here. Both of them at the verge of young adulthood. They are both pushing away from me for various reasons, much of which is speculation. They don’t like Dad’s rules, Dad’s to strict, Dad’s too nosey, etc.
The sad part is, I don’t think that they see it for what it is. I raised both to be strongly independent, or at least tried. I see it as both of them stretching their wings, learning to fly on their own. Preparing to leave the nest if you will. I get it, but question whether they do.
In the process of stretching, they have created this animosity toward me, that I am unsure they will be able to overcome. Perhaps in time.
I think the youngest gets it, seems like they have chosen the past of least resistance.
The eldest, not so sure. They have become dependent on others for happiness and are unaware of this. And have created this nest of reasons to find anger with me, whether legitimate or not.
So, I sit back, I watch, and I wait.