Some of us were lucky enough to have fathers that we revere. Others of us had fathers that did the best they could, but it really wasn’t enough. And then others of us had fathers who tortured us, or raped us, or abandoned us, either physically or metaphorically.
For me, Father's Day is about remembering things I wish I could forget, and feeling the sadness of childhood wishes for being loved.
Parenting is not easy, and there is no such thing as a perfect parent. The pain of both childhood and parenthood rest hard on any soul, while the joys pull us up and lighten us like leavened bread. Some of us cannot forget, while others cannot remember.
Today I am seeing post after post of people remembering their father, and I wish I knew my own; he was there for 22 years, and then gone. I did not know him as a person, but rather as a figure, someone who was only a reflection of a prism made from a child’s view. Would I have liked him if I had known him when I was an adult? Would he have liked me? I won’t ever know.
For me, Father’s Day is about remembering things I wish I could forget, and feeling the sadness of childhood wishes for being loved. I remember picking up dandelions and wishing as the white fronds scattered. Please give me a father that loves me. Please make him go away. Please find my real parents. I remember being chased through the house, terrified. I remember the fork thrown at me. I remember his face red with rage. I remember hiding under my bed when he came up the stairs like a bull. I remember learning to never show anger. I remember learning to never have anger. And I remember his big hugs. I remember his patience while he tried to teach me to solder. I remember his love of jalapeños, eating one after the other after the other, even as tears ran down his cheeks into his jowls. I remember. I remember.
This day holds no sentiment for me, other than wanting to forget, and longing to remember more. I scramble time so that I could have more years with him, so I could know what to remember and what to forget, to know what was him, and what was a small person’s memory of a person that seemed large but who might have been as small as my memory has made him.