Sunday, June 10, 2007

Herr Mann

Even before I realized today was the Austrian Father's Day, I'd been thinking about my pops again. Yesterday I decided that I'm more like him than I'd care to admit, and less like him than I'd like to be. I mean, I inherited more of his faults than his strengths. At least, that's how it seemed yesterday.

I remind me of him when I lose my temper with Adinah, or when I pick her up and haul her back to her room for a time-out without losing my temper. He had no patience for whining, even though, if the light was right, he could feel pretty sorry for himself. And I'm the same way, only moreso.

I come from fine teacher stock--mom a speech therapist in the public schools, dad a social work professor at the University of Texas--and now that I'm teaching myself, and also doing a bit of social work, I'm experiencing another one of those creepy moments where I realize that no matter how close I feel to my mom, I'm really my father's son. I don't know why that strikes me as creepy, but it does, and it has for years. Guess I'm still a little pissed off at the guy.

I mean, I'm not driven by it (and yes, I double checked this with my wife for a second opinion.) I'm not like those rock singers, and there's a lot of them, who make a career out of being angry at their daddies (or mommies.) But my issues with him and what he did....come up.

Is it only your father that you can be proud of and disappointed in at the same time?

He was a good dad and a good man, I think, but he was just a man, and he made mistakes. That and everything else in this post might be a cliche, but it took me a long time to be able to think it, let alone write it down.

He died just after I met my daughter, and the timing was striking. You'd think that now that I'm a dad, I would understand my own better, but I'm not so sure.

Somehow, though, it is easy for me to imagine that Adinah will think of me as a regular man, with flaws. I just don't know if that's a good or a bad thing...


itelli said...

I have been having the same thoughts lately, but i came to realise on my own that they are humans and they make mistakes. But it could have happened differently.

Wouldn't it be better if u shared ur mistakes with her? That way, u'd be the one to tell her you're human, so that she knows when u make mistakes. And, of course, teach her through your mistakes - although, to what extent one learns from others' mistakes and to what extent they need to make their own to learn, is debatable.

Spidey said...

We all make mistakes in life. It is finding people who see the good in you that makes you better.

pat said...

Thank you and welcome, itelli and spidey. I guess what makes dealing with your parents hard is partly the fact that you don't choose them. You have to (try to) accept them and it takes a really long time for you to realize you even have a choice to accept them or not. It takes a long time to see them as regular people.