Saturday, June 18, 2011

I have a picture of my dad. It's from his high school yearbook.  He's 18, smiling, with the whole world ahead of him.  You can see clearly where I get my eyes and my smile. And my cheekbones.

And that's it.  That's all I will physically know of my dad.  I know a few other things- that he was a logger, went to high school in Port Townsend, Washington, and that his sister introduced my mom to him. He chewed gum and could sing and play trombone.  And he drank. He had four beautiful, talented and wonderful daughters.  And he never knew about me.

He was killed and it was a drunk driving accident.  My family lived in Discovery Bay and my dad worked as a logger in Forks.  Yes, Forks, Washington.  Twilight, Stephanie Myer, vampires and all that bullshit. Two weeks out and back again. The other driver swerved across the line. Hit his white car with a red interior and killed him instantly.  I don't think it was raining, though in October it's entirely possible.  My mom was going to tell him she was pregnant that night.

So we grew up without a dad.  I had a nice Grandpa on my mom's side, and my Uncle and great Uncles were all very kind.  Some of our 5 Step-dads were nice too, especially one of them, who taught me to drive when I was 14, and how to work hard and stay out of trouble.  Not all were nice, that's the best I can say.

Father's day has always been ambivalent for me.  I assume that if my dad were alive that he'd still be a good man.  That when I got married he would have walked me down the aisle.  That he would support us financially and make sure we had a roof over our heads.  But life for me about the luck of the draw and as sad as it sounds, my life could suck a whole lot worse.

Many of my friends on Facebook changed their profile photos to pictures of them and their dads.  Others, like me, either do not have that luxury or choose not to for other reasons, such as life being less than storybook perfect and difficult relationships with our parents.  I content myself with knowing some really incredible dads.  Dads who are deploying for yet another tour in Iraq (be safe, Josh!), single dads who bust their asses to provide, Step-dads doing the best they can, uncles, cousins and family friends who stand in the stead of that important role and give that support to help a little kid grow up to be able to trust the men around them, and to be able to trust themselves and be happy and secure. At least to give them that chance.

There are things I do not wonder about.  I know my dad would have been happy at my birth and he would be proud of me today.  I know he would have been there for me the way he was for my sisters in the time they had with him.  I know that some lovely spirit lived inside of him.  I know that me, the person I am today, has been forged from my life experiences beginning with that first traumatic one.  But I do wonder sometimes, what he would look like today.  Would his hands be rough and would he wear glasses? Would his grandchildren all become aspects of him the way my siblings and cousins have become aspects of our grandparents?

Happy Father's Day, wherever you are.

1 comment:

  1. I love your writing - you always find a way to connect with my own life experience and hopes and even my spirituality. Btw, the father in my FB pic is my 2nd dad. My first is a story closer to yours... and your post tugs at my heart strings. Thanks for sharing!