ERIN, YOU ARE SO FORTUNATE TO HAVE BEEN GIVEN THE DAD YOU HAD! BEAUTIFUL. WHY I WRITE THIS, MANY KIDS DID NOT HAVE WHAT YOU HAD, AND I HAD, TOO. HAVING A WONDERFUL DAD.
And you must be proud and you should be. This relationship — of father and child and father and son (or daughter — parent — child) is the fodder of stories and tragedies and comedies throughout mankind. Do you remember the Cat Stevens song, “Father and Son”, or Eric Clapton whose dad abandoned him. Both on youtube. Clapton’s song — “My Father’s Eye’s” and the boy wonders what did I do wrong, my dad did not show up today to see me (if a divorced dad). The young boy or girl, loves their dad and the pain, my hero doesn’t love me — my dad failed me. I know what he means, my son was put in that position.
” Where do I find the words to say? How do I teach him? What do we play? Bit by bit, I’ve realized. That’s when I need him, Then the jagged edge appears. Through the distant clouds of tears. I’m like a bridge that was washed away; My foundations were made of clay. As my soul slides down to die. How could I lose him?
Both songs can make a grown man cry — it awakes that pain he may have had, not feeling loved by his dad. It may be a a 50 year old man, usually that hurt feeling is oppressed or buried, but the song or some movie brings back the hurt feelings and the grown man’s dad is deceased, yet the mid-aged man deep down still has that hurt. Adding to that, maybe his own inadequacies with his son and/or daughter and I have seen this, a mid-aged man in tears over his hurt from being abandoned by his dad — and dad is dead. No closure. Add to the feelings of deep sadness and the regrets, the 50 year old man has become a dad and has become that which he despised in his dad — and the cycle repeated. He has perpetuated — the same pain in his son. This happens and it’s tragic.
Eric Clapton is one of my all time heroes. He was abandoned by his dad, and decades later, the tragic death of his infant son and the abject terror and deep guilt he describes in an interview, he was only sober a short while. Today he is of service to others in the substance abuse recovery field. He is a saint. He has helped so many people in his profession to get cleaned up and sometimes those individuals and families are restored. Today, stories abound how great of a dad he is to his three young daughters, so much he recently retired from the music business so he can be a full time dad, a miracle.
Some psychologists theorize that trauma is the core issue here — that this lack of a loving dad or a dad -due to an early death from cancer or heart attack — look at Steve Jobs, many kids have experienced this tragedy- the death of a parent when the child is young, say a 11 year old, his dad is ripped away from him, or the dad has a career that takes him overseas, or the dad is an alcoholic and/or drug addict and is gone for some period, the young person is heartbroken, has a deep need for that connection. Traumatized.
Current wisdom in the psych field, trauma is the number source of psychological damage. The wounding sometimes permanent and without therapy and/or some mentor. The child becomes an adult and maybe becomes a dad and good chance, he still has unresolved daddy issues. Or a girl carries that trauma into adulthood, unresolved daddy issues. The adult son (or daughter) — may choose to self medicate and stuffs those feelings and leads to alcoholism or other compulsive and destructive behaviors and now the son is a dad and another dysfunctional generation perpetuated. Poor bastard is going to have to deal with this and going into adulthood and doesn’t even see he is now his dad, say at 35 or 40 years, becomes what he hated in his dad.
BUT TIME OUT, there are some amazing stories against odds. A few men and women walk through their trauma and become stronger characters, for sure lots of other unrelated factors contributes to that which makes up our personality. Maybe I am missing something and one could say the adult child is only seemingly functional? Maybe not. At the same time, several US Presidents’ each had major dad issues — their dads were drunks, to start with, look at Reagan and Clinton and other recent Presidents’ dads were drunks (Bush is another story for another day). However, they achieved great heights — The President of the United States.
So, Erin, your story is wonderful. And I was fortunate to have a great dad, too. My dad was a giant and loved by many , not all us are so fortunate. I miss my dad and love him and I regret the times i pushed him away and I love my son and daughter. However, regrettably, I was not the dad to my kids that I wish I could and should have been. Today, I can only be the best person I can be — kind, tolerant and compassionate and attempt to be of service to others. The universe was kind to you.