Thursday, January 13, 2011

Not Readily a Parent

I have always loved being a dad, despite the egregious lack of credentials and absence of any semblance of requisite skills. Thanks to modern technology, Sigrid and I knew enormous amounts about our children long before either of them were born (so far in advance, I, of the short attention span, sometimes lose track of their actual dates of birth). They were our children well before either of them was a person. As adults now in their own right, they have to struggle with a father who 'knows' they are grown-ups, but who has decided that is true in another world, though not his.

True to form, I was much more comfortable when our children were younger. I had a tough time winning over either Patrick or Michelle when they were infants, since it was hard to successfully show them how smart I seemed, possibly because I wasn't. Since at their age, they had no basis for comparison, it should have been really easy and when it wasn't, I should have drawn some conclusions. Except I've always been bad at art, as well as Paul. It was attractive being one of the two grown-ups in the house with all the answers, even though in my case I married a grown-up with all the answers instead of being one.

There were the days of learning to tie shoes, learning to ride bikes and learning to drive cars. The medical emergencies of pinched fingers, sprained ankles and skinned knees. I was never good at matters of the heart--those have always seemed to be the easiest to break and the hardest to heal. For a guy who talks a lot, I've never known what to say especially when the mantra of 'everything will be alright' is revealed so often to be a shining lie.

I used to suggest to our children when the hurt got worse and the heart got harder that there was a reason why things had worked out the way they had(n't). But we all saw that as a tall tale from a short man. I'm in that neighborhood again now-knowing nothing I can say will repair, replace or revive what once was but is now no more. I can hope and I can hover but I can't fix and that's what needed. "Laughing in the open air, have yourself another dream...only the young can break away." Or feel the pain when all the laughter turns to tears.
-bill kenny

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