Monday, July 2, 2007

Things I Miss


I seem to have been very critical of my Dad in a lot of the posts I’ve made on my blogs – his alcoholism, the fights have all been critical in coming to terms with who and what I am. But things weren’t all bad and I want to talk about some of them here now.

We would go for haircuts together once a fortnight, Dad would insist on the barber giving me what he called a “college cut” but which was really a crew cut. Afterwards we would always go for a chocolate milk shake in a small arcade in Box Hill and Dad and I would run, racing down the footpath, dodging through the other shoppers. This ritual stopped when he began to work on Saturdays and I guess when I started to grow my hair longer.

Dad’s barbecues were the best – burnt chops and sausages, with plenty of sliced potatoes cooked in dripping and smothered in salt and tomato sauce.

He part built and never finished a number of cubby houses and tree houses for me – but that didn’t matter. He did build a small pond where I could keep tadpoles and I was always disappointed when they would turn into frogs and disappear on me.

I always knew in later years when he had backed a winner because he’d always give me ten or twenty dollars for petrol.

Like most men, myself included, my Dad was flawed but I never ever doubted he loved me. Sure I wish things had been a little different, that I’d spent the time getting to know him better, that I hadn’t been so intolerant of his foul moods, his prejudices and his fears. I wish I had learned to love golf, like he did, so that we could have played together, and I wish he hadn’t suffered from agoraphobia so that he could have enjoyed his grandchildren more.

In recent weeks I’ve seen little of three of my kids. I’ve asked if I can take them places at times and been knocked back more often than not. I wonder if they think that they are bothering me by asking me to help them out. I hope not. It’s hard to maintain an active involvement when you no longer live in the same house, it’s even harder when they make other arrangements when I offer to help. Still, tomorrow night I am taking three of them to the movies. And I will continue to put myself forward to take them places or offer and ask to do things with them.

11 comments:

HollyGL said...

Its interesting how often we forget that our parents were/are human beings. It sounds like you and your dad shared some special times.

As for your own kids, Loz, they are probably just adjusting to the transition. It all takes time, but eventually relationships resume, they just take a different shape.

paisley said...

loz, i like the way you say,, the haircut outing stopped when dad started working more,, and you grew your hair... your involvement with your kids is as equally explainable.. and will be by them,,, when they are us...

i think this society in which we live has caused us to find fault more with our parents, to blame them for who we have become... but for the most part, i think owning who we have become and leaving the parents to own only what is really theirs, is a lot healthier...

Loz said...

Thanks Holly. I need to remind myself of those things sometimes because we do get caught up in the rush of years

Loz said...

You're right Paisley. I guess I don't want my kids to grow up with the unresolved issues I have found I had with my Dad

Goldy said...

Your dad suffered from agoraphobia? That is extremely tough... I am familiar.

Loz said...

Goldy - it was tough. For 10 years he was unable to visit my home becuase of it.

"Wolfgang" said...

I definitely understand how you feel. I went through the alcoholism with my dad, his working so much he never had time for us, but I always knew that, as a child of the Depression, he wanted us to be financially stable more than anything else, and that drove him to work so much. The stress of his job as a police officer drove him to drink more. Then, when my brother got sick, it brought out both the best and the worst in him.

I've only recently, in the last 5 years, come to terms with the dichotomies of our relationship and realized that some of the things I like best about myself are the things I admired in him; his ready laugh, his insistence that everything would work out, his willingness to help anyone in need, his fun and outgoing nature.

Your kids will find in themselves some of the things they love most about you. Holly is right. They're adjusting to the transition. I know I was guilty of pulling away from my dad for a while. Now, I'm trying to spend more time with him, but its hard since he is losing his ability to walk and we don't have a way to get his power chair on his car (which I usually drive since his mini-stroke behind the wheel). But, I've come to treasure our time together, even when his flaws are most apparent.

Cherish your memories and rest easy knowing that you've learned from him. As far as your children, don't worry, everything will work out for the best.

wornoutwoman said...

Kids will do their own thing for a long time...when we're older though we'll remember our dads trying to reach out. Just keep doing what you're doing LoZ....it comes around.

Random Magus said...

.. to a large degree our parents do affect our personalities but not our actions. Because to overcome something when you are older is a sign of growing up. But our insecurities and irrational fears do date back to when we were kids.
That said I agree with all of you, we can't blame our parents at some point in time we have to take responsibility for our actions coz only we are accountable for them...

... loz.. as long as they know that you are there for them even if you don't get to see them much...is the important thing

Bobby said...

I never was able to spend much time with my Dad. He was military soldier type even after retirement. He passed away with cancer several years ago, but the 3 months he was sick he realized a lot and fully expected me to say it's too late. Lucky for us both his fear and my absolute gratefulness for a little real father-son time was great. I felt no grudge at all because my mom taught me how to put things in perspective. 28 years of no dad, or 2 months with one. I took the 2 months and my Dad passed in peace:):):)

Loz said...

Thankyou all - I have never been the greatest communicator but I have made efforts recently to really talk to my kids as equals and to reassure them that I will answer any questions they have of me.