I Could Be a Better Father Than You
A lady once told me she could be aÂ betterÂ father than I could. I nodded my head and told her that might be true but I would always be a better motherfucker.
She rolled her eyes at me and said men spend too much time thinking with the wrong parts of our body so I told her that might be true but I’d rather be accused of thinking than not.
I have to give her credit for recognizing I had just insulted her. It proved my initial judgement was wrong, she wasn’t as dumb as a rock but she was still uglier than a llama.
Don’t Think, Just Write
I don’t blog for a single reason. I do it because I have 982,383,322 stories fighting to be told and there is no better way to do it than with words.
I hang out at this joint because it is part of how I clear my head and how I keep a running history of life. It is where I visit when I want to see what my kids said or did at certain points in time and how sometimes I measure my own progress.
Two and a half years ago I wrote a post called I Could Be a Better Father and then promptly fell asleep because it wasn’t as much fun as How To Use 5000 Pounds of Bananas To Terrorize Noisy Neighbors.
Or maybe it is more accurate to say the headline wasn’t as much fun but the post itself was filled with more raw, bloggy goodness than the banana terrorist one.
That is because I took a hard look at my life and tried not to scream because I felt like I had failed to measure up to the standard I had set for myself.
I didn’t know it then but I was at the tail end of a tougher period of life. I had been forced to sell my house and make some very difficult choices that rankled my hide in the worst way.
Even now it is sometimes hard to look back and not want to scream in frustration and anger. I still feel like I was violated and the hardest part for me to accept was feeling like I had failed to take care of my children the way a father should.
Most of what happened wasn’t my fault. I don’t say that for your benefit because your opinion isn’t what matters here, mine does.
That is because this is old luggage that I haven’t quite let go of. I am closer to doing so than I was, but those big ugly steamer trunks are still with me.
During the last election my pal Clint Eastwood had an awkward moment with a chair that made some people question whether he had lost a step or not.
One of my friends told me it made him lose respect for him but I didn’t feel that way. Maybe it is because I don’t listen to Clint for political advice. I just like his movies and I especially like his “It is halftime” Superbowl commercial.
I watched that commercial over and over because I needed something to help motivate me. I needed a reminder that I wasn’t always the guy I felt like and that any time I got kicked in the teeth I stood back up and moved forward.
Today I look back and I see the progress I have made. I had to move mountains and make water flow in the desert to get this far and I still haven’t done what I set out to do but I am close enough to picture it.
Saturday night one of my father’s oldest friends told me I should be proud of my accomplishmentsÂ and that I set unreasonable goals for myself. He has known me my entire life and I have great respect for him so I took his words to heart.
When I went to bed I made a point review all of my recent accomplishments and things I should be grateful for. I don’t do that very often because it feels awkward but it did help me go to sleep with a smile on my face.
And then Sunday morning hit.
The Sins Of The Father Are Visited Upon The Son
Steiner the minor and I sat down to watch some football and talk about life and he said things that made me cringe. It wasn’t because Â I was embarrassed because I wasn’t.
He was very critical of some things that had happened, especially regarding his role and I wanted to shake us both.
Because he sounded like me and this is not a trait I want him to take on. To be honest I am not sure when I became so self critical, but apparently I have managed to pass some of that on to him and I don’t like it.
I told him to remember it is ok to make mistakes and that what happens in 8th grade isn’t going to be the thing that determines whether he is successful or a failure in life.
He asked me how to do it and then I asked him if I could be a better father.
He told me it is a silly question because he thinks I am great. I thanked him and told him I think I can do better and that I want to.
That made him shake his head and he told me that I don’t see myself the way he and his sister do and I laughed.
“See, sometimes we are too close to things to have perspective. I know I am a good father, but I like pushing myself so I try to find ways to be better. The trick is trying to find the place where you find peace of mind.”
He nodded his head and told me it made sense. We took a little more time together and then he headed off to do homework and I returned to my chores.
I Could Be a Better Father Than You
I don’t compete with other fathers but I sometimesÂ measure myself against my dad and grandfathers. I try not to because they wouldn’t like it and there is nothing to be gained by it.
Remember when I told you I write because it helps clear my head?
Well I think I just rid myself of most of the spiritual clutter and put myself in a frame of mind to make Monday wish I had never woken up because I am going to own this day.
Larry October 6, 2014 at 6:48 pm
I like that first conversation.
A complement from someone we respect can be priceless.
I measure myself against myself and always expect more. It’s not good.
The JackB October 6, 2014 at 11:43 pm
@Lardavbern:disqus After the fast that remark was even better. I would have been pleased to receive it any time, but the timing was perfect.
It is hard not to measure ourselves against what and who we think we should be.