Thursday, June 17, 2010

Fathers' Day? Sort of...


With no mind towards saying anything poignant about Fatherhood or Father's Day, and having more to do with a sort of spiritual quest I've embarked on of late, I've been spending some long nights toiling through insomnia taking a personal inventory of my successes and failures as a father. Always prone to self-flagellation, and trying to be as brutally honest as possible, my personal, parental checking account seems to have come up in the red.

I will try to keep this in mind should my sons characteristically forget what this coming Sunday entails.

This is not a testimonial. There will be no confessions of misdeeds, moral lapses or neglect. There are appropriate venues for such things. The internet is not one of them. The people that matter know anyway. I'm just saying that I've been spending a lot of time thinking about what I would have done differently, and searching deep within myself to do better. They are nearly grown, but somehow not, and in many ways more in need than when they were infants. Funny how that works. I pray that I am up to the task.

It was a hellish, long, sleepless night and I hadn't even thought about the alarm or the morning coffee let alone read this thoughtful piece:

click here, damn it

...yet at 4 this morning, stricken yet again with insomnia, and weighing my accounts, but by coincidence was thinking similarly, about how odd it was that rather than the fat little screamers I once knew had grown to be young men. Of course they did, but how dare they! I wasn't ready.

There were many first-times and last-times, as mentioned in the article, that I wasn't present for. There were times but I was present, but not, preoccupied by one thing or another. There were times when you couldn't have told me that I wasn't paying attention, but apparently I wasn't, if only because I was so nostalgic for an age just passed, that I couldn't appreciate the magic of the new stage. I just wish I had slowed it down.

The heavy, pre-dawn rain added to the melancholy. Or call it melodrama. I've always been capable of being the one-man show. One man. One act. On huge ego. Even alone in my bed I embarrass myself sometimes. The third night of insomnia amplified every emotion, compounding my inability to shut it all down. So there I lay, mulling it all over. Pushing 50 with the 18 year old out for the night.... and I've learned to be okay with that... and the younger one faithfully on the other side of the wall snoring. Not long for that either.

And then there was one.

I'm hoping, by that point, to have worked through some of these notions that trouble my sleep now. Perhaps there will be new waking nightmares. Creatures, some real and some imaginary, scratching at my windows and spurring the instinct to pull in my limbs so that nothing is hanging over the edge of the bed.

I need to slow it down. That's it. I need to slow it down.