Just like my my father and his father, I share the human trait of imperfection in the job. I have regrets of deeds and words that my children will either forgive or not. I’ve read the best way to love your children is to love their mother. Unfortunately, that feeling left me a decade ago. Is that an unforgivable sin? Should it be? Maybe it will pass with time, but in 2005 it still manifests as a weight holding a child under water from the air of success.
Back then things finally came to a head with my father and me. We’d been in some conflict over pretty silly things that resulted in me writing “the letter” that unloaded some 30 years of grievances. It was harsh and cruel. I hope I never receive one like it. Maybe I was angry that the day came when I stopped hearing, “Daddy’s home.” The next few years were filled with silence for us. Finally, in the summer of 2003 the ice began to melt for good. We took Kyle to a Sox game. Three generations. The way it should be.
Baseball and the Red Sox was always the common ground we had. When we could talk about nothing else, we could still talk about the Sox. He took me to my first Sox game and also scored us tickets to see Vida Blue and high-school phenom David Clyde back in ’75. We suffered through the World Series that year, then the ’78 debacle, followed by the ’86 meltdown. Any relationship that could survive those was going to last… On October 27th of last year, I took a shuttle out to Dad’s place at “The Villages.” A work conference had ended that day in Orlando. We went out to dinner with my step-mom Caroline, then watched the Sox in game 4 of the World Series under a blood-moon. It was a good night.
Music is a tenuous strand that holds my daughter and I together. She loves Sloan and some of the other music I listen to. I like some of what she listens to, but not that stuff of “nigga’s, hoe’s and bitches.” I don’t get that. At times it seems the gap between us spans galaxies. The anger is raw and vocal, but what doesn’t need to be said is, “Dad, please help me.” At times, I feel I’ve failed her completely, but I won’t quit on her. She has limitless potential. She’s smart, has a wonderful personality (when her head isn’t spinning “Exorcist style”), and is so beautiful. All of these qualities she shares with her sister.
As for the relationship with my own son, it’s a work in progress. I got some feedback recently that I baby him too much and am not preparing him for the “real world.” There’s some truth to that, but the protective instinct is a strong one. He’s a happy child and says, “I love you Daddy” alot. I’ll work on the “real world” stuff.
There are times I wish I could wash it all away… The mistakes, the regrets… but that wouldn’t be real. It wouldn’t be life. My reality on this Father’s Day is that the shattered dreams of a child can become a very strong force for the dark side of hate. I can’t change the past, but I will continue to use love and patience and respect to positively influence the future.