Father’s Day

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Hopefully, you’ve already made your Father’s day plans as you read this and you have had an amazing day. Father’s Day is not as much celebrated as Mother’s Day. Motherhood is rather glorified in our culture. Lots of fathers don’t know their kids or see much of them, and people just shrug that off. Even more fathers have strained relationships with their offspring.

My kids’ dad Jerry was raised by his grandfather who he called Pappy, and who was a great dad to him, but gone by the time I came along. Mark’s father, oddly, was born within a decade of Jerry’s Pappy, and like him, was an older father, fifty when Mark was born. He was, by all the stories I hear from his kids, not a particularly pleasant fellow. His older two children have never told a single story about the man that makes him sound like any fun. But, to Mark, his youngest, (the accident?) he seems to have had some fond feelings because Mark was well behaved as a child. Mark’s oldest brother, was not perfectly behaved and must have been a strain on his father.

Dads often have an easier time with kids who are well behaved. Which is why it’s probably best that my father never got to know me. It’s too bad though that he never met my kids or got to know them. The story of my father is very simple. In the early Sixties he was married and had two small children. He met a woman named Basya who convinced him to leave the wife and kids and go to Vegas with her to get a divorce. He never saw those kids again and his wife, my mother didn’t want us either so we ended up living at High View Church Farm School where we could be beaten and sleep on the floor. My father completed Cornell at my maternal grandfather’s expense (I’ve never understood that part of the story.) And went on to live a perfect and happy life.

Thirty years later, my father had a second chance. He met me and my two children who were about the age my sister and I had been when he took off. My two children were adorable and I was going through a divorce. Basya Gale was concerned that I might be needy, (Me? Needy. I’ve never been needy.) and convinced him to never see the kids again, and he never has. So he missed out on that part of fatherhood twice.

He’s focused on being a dad to the two children he had with Basya.

So picking good fathers for my children was of paramount importance to me, and I picked two. Both Jerry and Mark have been amazing dads and they even get along, so my kids ended up very lucky. I hope they realize how lucky they are. We don’t all get good fathers or mothers either.

Unfortunately for mothers in our culture, much more is expected of us. If we leave our kids, they are righteously angry. Mothers aren’t supposed to leave unless it’s for a one week vacation. Being abandoned by a father feels like, “Well, that’s gotta suck.” Being abandoned by a mother feels like years of therapy.

Went out walking today in the light rain. Ireland’s weather is changeable no doubt. Raining several hours, sunny two minutes, then raining again. We’re here for another few days, then down to Cork for the writing workshop.

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Published in: on June 16, 2013 at 11:47 am  Leave a Comment  
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