FATHERS, ENOUGH EDITION
I am glad to carry some of my father’s traits, but more glad to have left some behind in the gene pool. He was an interesting person, sometimes interesting to me, but usually just another someone to avoid being alone with. By the time of my arrival into his world, the best parts of him had been left behind somewhere in his own mind.
Head trauma and alcoholism and drug abuse will to do that to you.
After spending my life trying to understand why he did the things he did, not just the bad but the version of good-crazy I hear about when his old friends wander into my world, I’ve given up. Completely. I do not know that person, I just have his hair and I walk like his sister and I have a good sense of direction and not much fear of being lost when it’s actually a bad sense of direction. I don’t get that from my mother’s side, for sure.
I’ve given up grieving “the old Jerry”, the man I was born too late to meet. The only Jerry I knew was a mess, and made me sad, and made me afraid sometimes for my safety and sometimes for his. The giving up, this time, feels less like a defeat. This time, I understand that what had never been mine can’t have been lost. I knew this at eight, but forgot it at eighteen.
Eight-year-olds are damned smart sometimes.
I know good fathers now. I didn’t have one, but I had a good family, and I have a good family now. My small person has my father’s smile, and his hair and his sense of direction, and that’s enough.