Today is Father's Day. Confessedly it is not my favorite holiday. I do not have the best relationship with my father. It has been strained for my whole life, and currently he is not even speaking to me. He is one of those men who never really seems to get it or have any propensity for growing up. I have visited several counselors who have told me to talk to him about those things that make our relationship not the best. I have tried this in the past to no avail. I have tried speaking and writing and ignoring. He is a man who lives in his own world and own reality. He is unable and unwilling to see my point of view and wants only forgiveness without reservation or without reliving or talking through the issues at hand. I have come to the point in my life where this is the best I can do. I can live my life looking forward and having no regrets. I have tried to say my peace in the past and it has only fallen on deaf ears. I will never be able to measure up to the unknown measuring stick he holds for me. I will never be the pride of his life or receive the unconditional love of which he is incapable. In short, I am done with that relationship.
As you can imagine that type of relationship has most definitely affected the rest of my relationships with men. Even though I tried very hard to choose a mate that was different from my father, I ended up choosing exactly the same. Even after my divorce, I seem to keep choosing the same and that is probably why I feel done with even trying to date anyone at this time. A friend of mine compares it to eating something you don't like but continuing to do it over and over anyway. She says if eating Corn Flakes makes you nauseated then stop eating Corn Flakes; in essence choose a different cereal! I joke now when I encounter the same type of man as just another box of Corn Flakes!
My ex-husband now even lives out of the country so I find myself being both mother and father to my two beautiful children. I feel ok about this with my daughter, but it has been a source of angst for me in raising my son. I want him to grow up to be a responsible, caring man full of integrity. I recently read a book, Boys Should be Boys by Dr. Meg Meeker, that has put it into the correct perspective for me. I will review this book in another post, but it has given me the courage and the plan and the sense that I can really do this in the raising of my son.
You might think that with not always having the best relationships with men that I might not like them or put them all into the category of "men suck." However, that really isn't the case for me. A college roommate of mine once told me that everyone is an individual whether male or female and we should approach each person as such. She was right and while I think I knew that deep down inside, her saying it out loud really solidified it for me. I do try to look at each person based on their own merits or lack thereof!
I have this little list of men that are not Corn Flakes. Unfortunately for my relationship life, they are men who are either related to me or are married to some of my best friends. My love for them is purely platonic!
I lived with my maternal grandparents for the first year of my life while my mom finished nursing school. It has been told to me that my grandfather was kind of a hard man with his own five children. Yet, when I arrived on the scene, he melted in a way that only a grandfather seems to be able to do. Sadly, he passed away when I was a little girl. I am certain that he is my guardian angel and looks out for me regularly. I feel his presence in my life everyday. I am reading a book about World War II in the Pacific right now. He served as a corporal in the Pacific, and I have found myself wanting to ask him so many questions. I also wish I could ask him other questions about his life and his life with my grandma. I suppose I am just going to have to wait to get to heaven to be able to have all of those questions answered!
My uncle Allan, my mom's only brother, is another of those wonderful men. He is a father to his own daughter's, but I consider myself an honorary daughter. He was still living at home the year I lived with my grandparents. He also lived with my family for a while when I was in junior high. He is the sweetest of souls. He is the one that does so much of the housework in his own home now. He was the only boy in a house full of four sisters. The sisters now said they purposely made sure that he was domesticated and knew how to treat women properly. I think they did a right, fine job with that.
My sister ended up marrying a man on the list. My aunts used to tease her about being the dismisser when she was dating. She had a knack for being able to see the red flags in a relationship fairly early and sending a would-be suitor on his way. In the end it served her quite well as she was able to choose the right man for herself and now their son. He is a kind, caring, sweet man who has some of the best integrity I have ever seen in a man. Even on his wedding day to my sister, he mentioned that I looked pretty, knowing that I would be self-concious about it since I had just given birth to my son two and a half weeks earlier and my husband was leaving me at the time. He has always been willing to give advice and counsel about things in my life if I ask. He never acts like I am stupid or imposing.
Of course, my mom is the parent whom I choose to celebrate on this holiday every year! My parents didn't even marry until I was two and a half and then were divorced by the time I was eight. She was a single mom even when she was married. She did it all for us and raised us to be strong, independent women. People tease about not wanting to turn out like their mothers. I always take it as a compliment when someone says I am just like my mother. If I had to pick someone to be like in this world, I really can't think of anyone better!
So here's a Happy Father's Day to my grandfather, my uncle, my brother-in-law, and MY MOM! And to those others on my short-list of men who know how to be good partners and best friends to their wives and wonderful, caring, supportive dads to their children.