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I am my father…an awaking of self awareness

January 15, 2014

walletThe morning light was intense on that spring day, as I made my way down from the loft to partake of my morning caffeine fix and awaken my foggy brain. The water boiling away I couldn’t find my coffee cup and for a s carry few seconds had a brain fart and didn’t know where I left it the night before. Definitely not earth shaking news because I have found as one gets older one tends to forget more things…like where I left the dang cup!! However by the second cup my body was at ease and my brain was rapidly cutting through the mental fog. I had what some may call an epiphany of sorts when I realized that I had replayed this very same scene decades before only it was my father who was missing his coffee cup.

Hindsight, if we allow it, affords us the opportunity to review our life within harsh light of an adult mind. I say harsh light because now as adults if we are mature enough we have become aware of the realities that we chose to ignore while we were growing up. A couple months before the passing of my parents I moved in to their home to care for them. It was shortly after my mother had died when making breakfast for my dad that when he came into the kitchen he became upset because his coffee cup and spoon were missing. I had put out a cup and silverware but apparently he wanted ‘his’ and theses would not do.

I hadn’t thought of this for many years until that morning in my cabin when I couldn’t find ‘my’ cup. It seems that now at 67 I am indeed my father. I remembered another time I brought a computer for him to use and he just looked at me an said what’s this for? At the time he had an extensive stamp collection and records of every stamp were kept on 3×5 index cards, so I said dad you can have all that information at your fingertips….again he looked up and with two fingers lifted one of the cards and said, but son I already do!

Change I have found does not work well for me as I get older.  I have found that change is like a new pair of shoes that never feel as comfortable as your old ones. I instead revel in having a routine….the knowing of what is happening next is as comfortable as a warm blanket in the Alaskan winter. That said here I am years later and now I understand why my father got so frustrated with the computer or my mistake of different silverware and cups. I have learned that he like I am now was just more comfortable with what he was used to.

I have a wallet held together with duck tape

it just feels just right whenever I use it.

I have become my father

and I realize that is not a bad thing.

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. john w8wej permalink
    January 15, 2014 6:17 pm

    at 72 , I find that indeed and in fact, we do become our fathers son,, though I am a long sight short of his mark, but really proud to carry the name and trust–but on the other hand have forged for better or worse another path, for some one else to follow–To some I may have been a success, but to my way of thinking, way short of “pop” I leave no blood, but I hope and prayer a legion of those that I have helped in some small way in the bond
    john w8wej

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  2. January 15, 2014 6:46 pm

    Hey Pete, this is one of those ‘oh so true’ observations. I’m fighting against my proclivity to shun change by forcing myself to ‘stretch the envelope’. I started this soon after retiring; the first such stretch was volunteering at an assisted living facility in the dementia neighborhood. I learned the joy of giving and found out I worked very well with elderly dementia victims. Then I made the move to rural Talkeetna after living my entire life in the urban lower 48; I’m still learning about rural Alaskan life and loving every minute! Then I started volunteering at KTNA; reading the local news, weather, announcements and classifieds on-air in real time was a helluva stretch especially for someone who as a child was a stutterer and underwent years of speech therapy for the condition. Now I’m looking to get that technician level ham certification and get involved with ARRL and SkyWarn. Who knows what my next ‘stretch’ will be; for some reason I’m finding the more I stretch the more I like it even though given my druthers I’d just as soon have everything be the same – neat and orderly. I do know I’m definitely not a fan of being surprised but then I’ve always leaned in that direction; its just become a whole lot more obvious now that I’m sixty!

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    • Jon permalink
      January 18, 2014 4:55 am

      Hi Newbie,
      Interesting comment in that I also was ( and still am occasionally) a stutterer & also had years of therapy in grade, high & for awhile at the university I attended in Mn. Your decision to go on-air at the radio station was fantastic! I “tuned in” for the updates on Lonnie Duprie’s attempted winter ascent of Denali a few years back.

      Jon

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  3. January 15, 2014 10:26 pm

    Beautifully written. Your love for your father shines through, as does your independence and comfort of who you are right now. Thanks for sharing.

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  4. Larry permalink
    January 16, 2014 11:58 pm

    Thanks Pete. Keep up the good work. You never know when someone might need your words of wisdom. 73s

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  5. Jon permalink
    January 18, 2014 5:00 am

    Hi Pete,

    I, too, have my own coffee cup, favorite spoon & favorite jacket to wear outdoors when blowing snow or in the garage.
    I’ve been using the same gym bag for about 30 years & was pissed when I left it at work last Mon.; having to redo it with another one for a day. My wallet is about 8 years old while my wife just bought another new purse the other day; don’t know why she has to have 35 of them!
    Enjoy your visit in Tex.

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  6. January 18, 2014 10:03 am

    For what it’s worth, I’m going to try to keep this brief. This is not something I talk about often, and I’m surprised that I feel comfortable letting it out here. Someday, I’ll probably write it out on one of my own blogs:

    My father’s been married 3 times, and he has 5 children between all three wives. I am his first born son (my mother being his first wife), and I have always felt that he was never meant to be a husband or a father.

    He cheated on my mother until my older sister caught him, at the age of 10, in bed with a woman my mother worked with. I was 5. He told my sister to mind her own business but she told on him anyway — damn right!

    Mum always knew he was cheating on her but this was the proof. She took my sister and I and left my father. Mum raised us by herself while educating herself and holding down a career. She had to be strong.

    Dad never paid child support, not even when ordered to by the court. The laws were different back then, too. Even when court ordered, a father was never forced to take care of his child financially or in any way. This suited my father fine, and he stayed away.

    Mum lived the rest of her life single and extremely resentful and distrustful of men after that. I couldn’t begin to count how many times I was accused of doing something sly, and hearing how I’m a congenital liar just like my father, and how I look like him, talk like him, walk like him and will wind up just like him because of genetics.

    My older sister has pretty much been the same since catching dad in bed with that other woman (whom he never married). If our dad was given the power to decide which gender of kids to have, I’m sure that he would select only boys (my second sister if from his second marriage). He has no respect for females whatsoever; although I’m sure that he’d use that fact that he’s the marrying type and screws willing women to argue against my opinion. That fact that my sister reported my father’s sexual indiscretion and brazen attempt to intimidate her into helping him cover it up certainly made my father hate her even more. Deep down, my older sister has always known this. I’ve watched her hurt for her whole life because of him. Despite having children, she has never been able to hold a decent relationship with a man and typically pursued selfish, abusive macho men as potential husband and father material.

    When I was 9, mum moved my sister and I from Southern Ontario to North Central British Columbia 4,100km (2,548mi) away. For a while money was better there, and mum had to plan how to better support our little family well into the future. At some point, her children were going to need othodontics, medical care in emergencies and post-secondary education. Further on, she would need to retire and remain independent well into old age. She needed to make money that she could save. So off we went.

    By the time I was seventeen, after a few years of careful consideration, I decided that although I love children, I don’t love them enough to ever want any of my own. The responsibility is too great, requiring personal sacrifices that I don’t want to make. Similar to my father, I’m too career-oriented (but not as stingy), and there is no way in hell that I would be so careless to bring one more child into this world and not be there for it as truly required.

    At 18, I returned to Southern Ontario, where my father was, for college and had to endure relying on him until I could get my own place and fend for myself. Within forty-eight hours of getting off the train, he informed me that he told all of his friends and colleagues over the course of 9 years that he didn’t have any other children other than those he had with his second wife whom he was still married to at the time. His wife had a son from a previous relationship and my dad told everyone that this boy, who is a few years younger than me, is his oldest son.

    He told me that he was embarrassed to tell people that he had children from a previous marriage that he really didn’t have anything to do with so he boldly lied about the true scale of his family.

    The only reason why he told me what he had done was because the real estate firm he worked for had a baseball team and, being athletic, he wanted to pass me off as a young new agent on the team. He had to; therefore, introduce me to his coworkers. Given that I was raised by my mother, who instilled in me to never accept bullshit in my life, I’m sure that he could tell that there would be no point in trying to persuade me to not let it out that I am his first born son. Now he had explaining to do to everyone he knew and lied to for so many years.

    In case you missed it, his revelation to me means that he denied the existence of his own flesh and blood, his first born children, just to make himself look good to his real estate associates and a few friends who didn’t already know the truth. I don’t know if you could ever deny the existence of any of your children that way but I know that I certainly could not.

    Additionally, it means that he was counting on his first two kids to stay way out in western Canada or anywhere for the rest of our lives, and never set foot in the same city he was in again. We were a hindrance that he was so happy to be rid of until I decided to come back to Ontario to go to school.

    Here’s the twist to it all, although I’ve never known my father for anything other than his bad traits, I always imagined that he would disown me to further himself. So, it really came as no surprise when he did, and I forgave him for it quickly. Forgave but never forgot. I still have deep seated trust issues, especially where he’s concerned, and I can honestly say that although I don’t hate him, I also do not love him. He is a stranger to me.

    I eventually found a woman to share every aspect of my life with, and made sure that before we got too deeply involved with each other, she would be satisfied with never having children. We courted for seven and-a-half years before marrying, and we’ve been married for the past 14. I am now 43, never cheated on her and have never regretted not having children. I am extremely proud that I haven’t repeated the habits and mistakes of my father.

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  7. January 19, 2014 2:08 am

    I’ve being told that older people don’t like to change, especially they don’t like changing houses moving from one place to another. I have a friend told me about few years ago she bought a new apartment and asked her mom to move in. Her mom didn’t like the new house, instead of moving in a newer and bigger place, she chose to stay in a tiny and old house that she really felt comfortable. My friend didn’t understand that few years ago, and felt upset about her mom mom decision. Years have passed, she talked about that with her mom and realized that her mom considers the tiny old house is her life. All the memories are there, so she didn’t want to leave that place and move to a new place.

    Sometimes, the things that we like and need aren’t what our dearest one enjoys to have and needs. I learn to respect that. :D

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