Maybe it’s just because I have a drink in me, but I’m thinking I’ve been entirely too negative lately. I mean yeah, I’d rather be at the lake with friends for the weekend, but spending the weekend with my mom isn’t like I’m being waterboarded at Abu Graib, though there may or may not be times where it feels sorta like it.
But I’ve gotta stop being such a whiney bitch, there’s plenty of people out there who have lost their parents or loved ones that would kill to have a chance to spend time with them again…and my mom has always been there for me and does a lot for me.
I don’t think I’ve ever really talked about my dad on here, other than to say he’s an asshole, but that’s mostly because I honestly don’t think about him that much. And even the saying my dad is an asshole thing is kinda lame, it’s not like he knocked up a teenager and abandoned his kid, or put cigarettes out on me, or any number of horrible things some parents do to unlucky kids.
For those that don’t know, my parents got divorced when I was 8 or 9 or so..my mom and I moved back down to Georgia where they were both from and he stayed up north for his job. He was actually not that bad a dad when they were still married, and even afterwards he made an effort, which is more than many can say. I’d go up to see him a couple times a year…he got remarried not that long after my mom and him split up..never had any kids with his new wife and she didn’t have any of her own.
So he paid his child support, and made the at least token effort to see me, and we talked once a week or so throughout my teens I’d guess. I guess part of our first problems were that he had agreed to pay for my college in the divorce and instead of going to Georgia where I could have gotten instate tuition and all that shit, I went to a rather pricey private school. And I wasn’t always exactly focused on grades and school at that time, and I had to ask him for money a few times when I got into various kinds of trouble that college kids get into.
So, sad as it sounds, our relationship started to degrade over something as stupid as money..and he’s by no means hurting for it. I think he probably resented the fact that I was fat and happy on his dime at college while he had to go to college on an ROTC scholarship and his parents never gave him shit. Which I can understand..but aren’t you supposed to want your kids to have it easier than you did?
It wasn’t just the money thing though I guess, and I should take some of the blame for how things have turned out. When I went off to college I wanted to have my own life but not work for it, I didn’t really even talk to my mom THAT much, not like some kids…I was high on the independence…among other things.
So after we argued about money and started talking less and less, I really didn’t give a shit, and when it continued after college I was always of the opinion that I’m his only kid and he’s the adult so he should be the one making an effort, not me…which frankly I think is kinda true, but doesn’t totally let me off the hook for my own part in our estrangement..I could have made an effort too.
So yeah, now I’m 35 years old and for the last at least 10 years, I rarely if ever think about my own father. He calls me on christmas every year, and actually still sends me a fairly nice check which I appreciate much more than the call. The call is always uncomfortable as fuck, I’m sure for both of us, because we basically don’t know each other or have shit in common anymore.
But all this being said, I don’t think my dad is a bad guy…compared to all the bad guys that are out there in the world. He’s just got his own life now and apparently his only kid isn’t really part of it, in somewhat the same way that I have my own life and my dad isn’t a part of it…who’s to say which one of us is worse I guess, though I’ll still always think that it’s the parent’s job to at least make the slightest effort.
And he’s at least consistent, I’ll give him that. I’m not the only part of his old life that he’s cut out. The last phone call I got from him that wasn’t on xmas was last summer when he called to tell me that his mom had died. It wasn’t a surprise, she had suffered from alzheimer’s for some years, and I myself feel guilty for not going to see her much towards the end…but he pretty much seems to have pretended she was already dead. My aunt, who has a lot less means than he does, is the one that took care of her and paid for the nurse, and dealt with all the really bad shit that this disease entails towards the end. To my knowledge, my dad never helped even financially.
As I said, I feel guilty that I didn’t see her more often or offer to help in some way, but the really fucked up thing is that my dad didn’t even come down for her funeral. He called me, said his mother died, said he wasn’t coming down, and to call my aunt if I wanted to go to the funeral but that I shouldn’t feel obligated to go if i didn’t want to. And sadly, maybe because I’m his kid, I actually considered that for a few seconds. But then I called my mom and she told me how sorry she was and that she’d call her sister so I’d have somewhere to stay in Augusta the night before…and of course I went, and I’m glad I did.
I’m not honestly sure why I’ve been writing this much about a guy that I rarely think about..this is the most I’ve thought about him in years. I guess it’s just to realize that I really should appreciate my mom a hell of a lot more than I do, and realize that even if she’s neurotic and drives me crazy a lot of the time, she’s always been there for me and that’s a fuck of a lot more than my dad can ever say.
So next time you see me bitching about having to do something with my mom…tell me to shut the fuck up. And if you have a parent that is there for you, realize how much better off you are than a hell of a lot of people…and realize they won’t always be there.
And hey, to end on another positive note, I hope I’ll be a better father if I ever have kids because I know what not to do.