April 12, 2006
So I'm sitting here and I just notice the date. Actually, I've written the date dozens of times today and even said it out loud a few times but it wasn't until I just saw it that it hit me.
Today would have been my father's 78th birthday.
It is a birthday he shares with David Letterman and David Cassidy. Don't ask how I know that.
The last birthday I spent with him was in 1993, his 65th birthday. I went with two gifts. One was wrapped and one was the announcement that I was pregnant with my daughter. Before I got to give him either, he told me he had been to his doctor for some test results a few days before and that he had about 4 months to live. He made it 5 months. He died 2 days before my daughter was born.
I don't go and get depressed on his birthday, which probably explains why the day didn't strike me until now. Yeah, I miss something but I don't think I miss my actual father, the guy that was born on April 12th. What I do miss is the father he should have been.
I've spent much of my life mourning the fact that my father was not the father I needed but hey, we can't exactly choose our family now, can we? And then I look at my kids and how their father acts and I wonder at my choice for sperm-donor. It's hard to tell what kind of parent someone will be before they have kids, though. I never thought I would be a good parent, considering the parents I had. But once I held my son in my arms, I swore I would never do to him what had been done to me.
It sounds crazy but I'm a better father to my kids than my father was to me or their father is to them. Unfortunately, that doesn't really say much since they both really, REALLY suck as fathers. Oh, and I'm their Mom, too, so I can only do so much. Not that I think I can't do both jobs but there is only so much I can do some days.
For all my complaining, being a good parent is really easy. Just respect your kids, give them firm boundaries, be there when they need you, and realize that nothing you give them is as important as love. It's sad to me when parents aren't emotionally mature enough to even do those simple things, not even for the sake of their kids.
So I'm thinking about my dad tonight. Not with regret, not with remorse. Mostly with antipathy. I can't understand people that can not put others needs in front of their own, especially children that had no choice to be brought into this world.
Here a dusty bit that I dragged out, especially for the day. Happy f*cking birthday, Ken.
I see his silhouette first,
the sloped shoulders,
hips crooked with age,
bowlegged cowboy stance
always a puzzle
since he had never ridden
a horse before. He stands
backlit in a doorway, a gaping hole
that pours music, smoke,
drunken laughter around him.
He saunters toward me slowly,
his face still hidden, but I know
him. Even in death
From beneath his shirt,
a rustle of orange cellophane
emerges in his fingers.
As he approaches, it begins pulsing
in his hands, growing rounder, whispering
my name. Distance shrinks and
he's standing before me, my eyes
burning from the smoke. Acrid,
liquor drenched breath mixed with sulfur
against my cheek gags me.
The orb between his fingers peers up at me,
amorphous and breathing. I hear fluttering
wings coming closer as he
extends his arms, pressing the mass
against my stomach, pushing it through
the skin. Inside, I feel it becoming
part of me, growing, the fluttering
loudly filling me. I choke,
screaming, wings in my throat.
another lost night of sleep...
another gift from my father.
©SMO - 4/12/01
This dream returns every so often to haunt me. Just waiting for his gift of cancer to catch up with me again.