Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Daddy Dear

My father is about to have a significant birthday, andI will be present at his party. I will walk through the door, walk over to him and hug him. Trouble is, the way I feel right now, I think once he's in my arms I may not be able to let him go.

My dad was not a hands on father, he didn't take me to sport matches, watch me compete, or take an interest in the small concerns of my life. He never asked me how I felt about anything, or even told me how he felt. He set the bar very high for me educationally, and showed disappointment when I didn't acheive his objectives. He had high standards morally too, for both my brother and I, which we often failed to meet. I think he wanted me to be a cross between Ellen MacArthur, Mary Archer and Princess Diana, and quite frankly short of getting a PhD in Nuclear Physics from Harvard, Sailing around the world single handed, and being a virgin on the day of my marriage to the Prince of Wales, I could never meet his expectations. But it never stopped me from trying.

I grew up, left home, married, did quite well and somewhere along the way his expectations and my acheivements came uneasily into line. He retired, became more relaxed, and I was able to see that he does have a sense of humour. Now I can't think of a sweeter calmer person to sit in silence with in the garden over a beer, or a cup of tea. The same high moral standards he sets for others, he always lived up to himself. He is kind, fair, gentle, generous, funny, works hard, plays hard, eats well, keeps himself fit and contributes to society. He has weaknesses, his compulsion to "speak as he finds" often gets him into trouble. He is uncommunciative, when he does speak he often makes off colour remarks, he is eccentric to the point of being antisocial.

I fear I have tried to replicate elements of my father in my relationships. First Simon, fit, moral, energetic, emotionally unavailable, then Neil, highly intelligent, eccentric, but with these elements have come a plethora of undesirable traits I was never prepared for: frailty, inprovidence, anger, violence, slobbishness, abuse, infidelity, disrespect. None of these could ever describe my father, and unlike the little girls whose daddies leave them none of it can be blamed on my father who, I am rapidly coming to realise is the only man I have ever truly loved.


Mary P Jones (MPJ) said...

Happy birthday to your father! My father had similarly high expectations for me, but didn't keep them himself -- and I came to resent them. No matter what our relationship with our fathers, they do set a certain model for our relationships with other men, don't they?

Vic's Still Standing said...

Oh, what a beautiful tribute to your father. Sometimes it takes a lifetime of living before one can appreciate what's been right in front of you all along.

You are right: Your father was probably harder on himself than on your and others. Children don't see that. They simply feel.

It's so important to nurture that hurt child inside of us. Thank you for sharing this post.

woman.anonymous7 said...

Fiona, you've been memed!