I knew in my heart I'd read Tasmania, but it always sounds so crazy from this side of the world. I should have trusted my memory on that one..
My father was a bastard child conceived when his mother's husband was off in the armed services..so one might easily imagine that out of the nine children, he wasn't treated the best. I won't get into all of that because some of it is
pretty horrific, but I will say that he was rather a f**ked up person because of it. He had some of the most bizarre notions about what a man was supposed to be. He married young. Had five children of his own..one after another, became a bad alcoholic, and then proceeded to spend the remaining time they were together getting drunk and beating my mother. Oh, he had a good steady job and hid it all very well most of the time, so it wasn't exactly what one might think of in terms of the typical scenario in that way, but it made for a difficult and painful childhood for us all none-the-less..at least with regard to that. It's something we all tried to hide..
I wanted so much to be close to him, but he simply wasn't capable of that. If I went to hug him, I could feel his entire body tighten and seize up before he pulled away. He was a strange person when it came to affection..
I remember one Christmas morning dad coming downstairs early with us (which he never did) and proceeded to "help" us open our presents. My older brother got upset and said. "What are you doing that for? They're our
presents! Let us
open them!" I distinctly remember my dad's demeanor at that moment..though I was only around nine or ten..He looked so disappointed. I said, "You can open mine if you want, daddy." He looked at me with his big, beautiful, forlorn eyes and simply got up and walked away. I didn't really realize at the moment that there would have been nothing I could do to console him. I wasn't yet all that aware of his disappointment in me.. and his firstborn, favorite (and namesakes) had already rejected him and skulked away, too..I didn't quite understand any of the moment, but I think it was the last time I really felt anything like love for him..His alcoholism and violence escalated from there. I loved my mother so much, it got to the point where I could never forgive him for some of the things he did to her.. My parents finally separated a couple of years later, but I don't think they actually got divorced for another five or so.
I rarely even saw him after they separated.
I wish I could have understood my dad's life like I do now. Who he was and why. I may have been able to help him. Only trouble is, how could I ever do that until I grew up and sorted myself out first? I couldn't.
Whenever I see Sam saying, "You guys label me a tough guy, but I'm really a sensitive soul.." I think of my dad..because he really was
a sensitive soul..and that was the problem.. At that time and at that place..He wasn't allowed
to be a sensitive soul. It was considered unmanly and a sign of weakness in his blue collar "Paul Bunyan" world. Somehow one couldn't be both there..
So, do I miss my dad on this Father's Day?...nine years after his passing? Yes. Emphatically I do. I wish I had some real time with him now. Now that I know who I am. Now that I know I can be a sensitive soul and exactly who I am, but perfectly able to bust anybody's chops (verbally or otherwise if need be) who thinks they want to tell me what and who I should and shouldn't be..
Has the world changed or have I? Hard to say. Most probably a little of both, but I DO very much miss my dad. I miss what we could have had..
The last line in the article confuses me. It reads like Sam's dad is dead. He isn't.
You have some constraints, of course, Sam, but you don't have to miss your dad the way I have to miss mine. Not yet. Remember that.
P.S. They are both going to make terrific Santas!
I still watch "Santa Clause is Coming to Town" every year and I swear Sam looks like the young (ginger haired and bearded) Kris Kringle in that old stop motion holiday kid's show..