Looking for answers to life's questions

I had something else in mind for posting today but as I was going through my photos, this was the first to pop up. I think I’m being summoned.

That was his spot. Everything in his late life happened there.

That was his spot. Everything in his late life happened there.

My father has been gone 16 years now and Fathers’ Day was hard for us when he was alive. He wasn’t the warm cuddly kind of dad. He wasn’t “likable” to his children and we really didn’t get to know him. I learned much later in life that he was a voracious reader. So books became the thing to buy him. When I found out we were reading the same spiritual books, it finally gave us something to talk about. He was thinking about his end, I was working on my present.

My day always sat in that chair with a book or magazine in front of him. He wore only blue and mom had a hard time getting the clothes he wore to the washer. Now he showered every day, He just liked his clothes soft and lived in. They would be threadbare before she could sneak them away to toss. Because he’d worn a military uniform most of his working life, the blue shirts, pants and sweaters were his new uniform.

Sometimes warm and cuddly isn't what we need for life. We were well prepared.

Sometimes warm and cuddly isn’t what we need for life. We were well prepared.

Since I have no father living, my children have no father living and my son is not a father, what’s the point of even thinking about Fathers’ Day? I guess it’s to remember them and the gifts they gave us along the way. My dad always said the most dangerous thing in the world was a closed mind. I found that comment interesting coming from him.

My son said the thing he learned from his father was what kind of father he didn’t want to be and how much he wanted to handle frustrations in a better way. His dad thought it was his job to make the living and mine to do the rest. There was no balance. These dads didn’t know how to be daddies. I think there is a difference. There was no place for them to learn. They did their best as did we. Happy Father’s Day to all that are fathers.

He smiled a lot too. Can you see the smile? No, me either

He smiled a lot too. Can you see the smile? No, me either

My sister sent a text this morning to wish me a happy summer solstice. Now that my dad has had his say, I’ll go back to celebrating the solstice in my garden before they turn the oven back up later this week.

Do you find reasons to celebrate dads’ day?

“Fathers never have exactly the daughters they want because they invent a notion of them that the daughters have to conform to.”
Simone de Beauvoir, The Woman Destroyed

From my heart to yours,
Marlene Herself

Comments on: "In Search of Dads’ Day" (38)

  1. I don’t celebrate Father’s Day. When my dad was alive we did, but I’ve been away from home so many years that I just never celebrated it. The last few years of my dad’s life we weren’t talking. I think he wanted to, but he had to live with my mother and she said no. I don’t blame him. I have always loved him. Like you said, they did the best that they knew how.
    Have a great Summer Solstice my friend! ❤

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  2. It’s good to see an honest post on this subject Marlene. Honest and non-blaming – I like that! We have Fathers Day here on the first Sunday in September. It often falls on my birthday which is highly ironic to me. I was fathered by a person who should never have been allowed near children. He damaged severely each of his five kids before dying at a mercifully young age. Fathers Day is not a commemoration I have ever had the opportunity to celebrate. I say the same thing about my mother that your son says about his father. I celebrate the over-coming 🙂

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    • Well put Pauline. I had the same kind of mother. Loved them both but they were ill equipped as was I. I have asked for my children’s forgiveness and it has been granted. We are all doing our best. I think they are still with us in a way. I had no intention of writing about him this morning. I appreciate what was good and let the rest go. He had his own problems. So did my mother. I think sometimes I was very lucky when I look around.

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  3. My father is also gone, as are both grandfathers, and I’ve never been a mother. So no, no reason to celebrate today at all. I put a picture of my mom, dad, and I up on FB and I’m debating writing a post. For the most part, it’s just Sunday and his highness is grumpy. Happy Summer Solstice to you, I hope you enjoy your time in the garden as much I enjoyed my time in mine. ❤

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    • Thanks Erin. I did. I planted lots of plants today and will do more tonight. The big heat is coming and I’m trying to work fast. My son would have made a wonderful father. Just married a woman who didn’t want kids. 😦

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  4. Yes, I do celebrate Father’s Day, Marlene. I’m one of the fortunate ones who has a wonderful father. He’s been my rock through out my life and he treats my mother as though they were just married…after 54 years. My father lost his own mother at the age of two and grew up with an alcoholic, womanizing father. He made the decision early in life that he’d never be like his father.

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    • Thanks for reading Jill. I think it’s true that as my son said, he learned what he didn’t want to be like from his dad. His dad was a good provider but distant and somewhat critical. He thinks dads should teach their sons how to be good men in the world. Of course we are all affected by our circumstances. The way your dad treated your mother was how you would chose a partner. I’d bet you have a wonderful husband. l learned to have a great deal of sympathy for my parents and their parents. Live was hard so they held on to their emotions tightly. Too bad because they missed so much. As often happens, things get better later in life when they can relax a little

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  5. Hi Marlene. We don’t celebrate too much here at our house. Both of our father’s are gone quite a while now, and our son always lets Rich know he’s appreciated, so there are no gifts on this day. And for a change, we have no rain today, so I’ll wish you a happy Summer Solstice, too! 🙂

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    • Thanks Maddie. Meant to tell you I finished the second book of yours I read. Think it was first in the series and it was in New York. Enjoyed it immensely. I’ve been gardening and planting today. Seems appropriate. 😉 I’d love to send you some of our son and the heat that is on it’s heals.

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      • Marlene, you are such a sweetheart to read my books. I’m so glad you enjoyed the New York book. I based a lot of Susan’s travels on my own experiences when I went to New York twice by myself and walked all over town. I even went to dinner with two strangers I met at a Broadway show and they took me dancing afterward! I was a brave soul all those many years ago. 🙂

        It’s so nice to hear you are gardening and planting. I love a nice garden, but don’t have a green thumb.

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  6. I, too, celebrated the summer solstice and light. And summer. And the garden. I have a couple of the cards I made my dad when I was little. I don’t remember if they were for birthdays or father’s days, or both. He kept them hidden. He had to, or my mother would have thrown them out. She kept her memories in her heart and swept the house clutter clear. Dad kept his memories in his sock drawer. Happy Summer Solstice!

    Loved the post — especially the blue clothes part. Very endearing.

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    • Thanks for reading Jean. I wasn’t going to do anything about fathers day but he insisted. Funny how eccentricities stay with you. 🙂 My dad kept nothing nor did mom.
      We went plant shopping yesterday and today. Need to get them planted before it hits 103 by the weekend again. And it’s only June. 😦

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      • I’m glad he told you what he wanted. I tell my kids what I want for my celebrations. No sense wishing and sulking when no one reads your mind.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Your father and my grandfather were cut from the same cloth. Presents were hard to buy for him because he wore clothes and used anything he had until it could no longer be repaired. He loved his kids and grand kids but never felt free to show it. He once said that the man’s role was to earn the money, maintain the house in good working order and take care of the outside chores The woman ran the household and decided how to raise the children. It wasn’t until his great grandchildren came along that he finally threw out the rules and let himself enjoy them. He was quite the character in his later years and I’m glad i saw it. My grandfather was first generation born here with his family coming from Germany so maybe it’s a German thing? Or maybe just a generational thing. I don’t know but I’m glad to see father’s today feeling the freedom to join in the raising and enjoyment of their children.

    I hope you had a lovely day for the solstice. We had rain early and late but in between it was just gorgeous.

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    • Hi Lois. I think it was a generational thing and men today are learning how to be better fathers. My brother was to his children. My dad was all military but I know he wanted to do right by us. He sacrificed a great deal for us but we could never seem to please him. Oh well. He wanted his picture up on fathers day so I obliged him.

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  8. Well, there’s no question you were being summoned. I wonder if he feels he said what he wanted to say? Reading your post, it sounds like he was a man who always did what he thought was right, without the flexibility to see that there are other ways to do things.

    I hope you had a lovely solstice. You did your part. You listened.

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  9. Father’s Day and my daughters 42nd birthday fell on the same day this year. Also the 1st day of summer. I am belssed to have many things to celebrate. Although my father is gone also (and loved blue!) I do have such wonderful memories. I know all fathers do not leave such a positive legacy but one thing we can be greatful for- without them we wouldn’t be here!!! Some fathers just should not have been fathers or perhaps were the product of their own poor examples. Hugs to you!!

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    • Thanks for stopping by Jan. A lot of fathers don’t know how to be fathers and that holds true for many mothers. But it wasn’t all bad. He sacrificed a lot for his family. He just wasn’t affectionate. I think it’s something men have to be taught. I know of much worse examples of parents and mine prepared me well for the hard times. You can’t help but love them for trying. 🙂 My daughter is 42 as well. 🙂 I am so delighted with my children and they know it. Hugs back to you.

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      • Your kids are so fortunate to have you as their mom, Marlene! It was a different world when our parents were growing up and expressed feelings were not always encouraged, I am certain. Parenting is a very difficult journey at best!

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  10. Such a good honest post about your dad.

    I have nominated you for the encouraging thunder award, because I think you are wonderful blogger!

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  11. I like this post about your dad! I am constantly evolving my relationship with my father and while he’s not the type open to personal growth, per say, our mode of connecting seems to change with time, like you talking about finding something to talk about with your dad. Honestly, I Celebrate the matriarch and motherhood more than fathers, but I do think that dad’s for the most part deserve respect for doing their part in the ways that they can.

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    • Thanks for stopping by and reading. I’m glad it resonated. I didn’t spend much time with my dad so getting to know him was a tough one. He worked hard to provide our physical needs and to show we were cared for. He was also a man that could not be pleased. Our fathers are who we base all of our later relationships with men around. i picked two more that I couldn’t please. Never did it quite right. Maybe it’s a man thing. But we do need them in our lives. It takes a lot of effort sometimes to bridge that generational gap. You still have time apparently so keep at it. It’s worth it.

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  12. A very poignant and thoughtful post. So many people do not have a good father in their lives, yet we can respect the relationship that should be…and hopefully, find someone who can fill the void. Lovely, really.

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  13. A very thoughtful post Marlene. Both my parents struggled with their demons, but whereas my Dad was a hard man I always knew he loved us even if he had trouble showing it, I couldn’t say the same for my Mum. They were just who they were. I always did have trouble on Mother’s and Father’s days to feel some sort of attachment or emotion towards them but now they are gone I wish things had been different. It’s hard to be raised in such a family and to come out with a healthy identity of your own….I often wonder if any do. xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for reading and your heartfelt comment. Yes, they had their demons didn’t they. It’s part of why I held no grudges even from the early years. When you find out what they have been through in their lives, you count your blessings and try to do better in your own life. I know of many who had parents far worse than mine. They taught me what I needed to know in to survive. I know what you mean about lack of attachment or emotion. Hallmark doesn’t make cards for those kind of parents. I think there is a market out there needing to be filled. 🙂 It’s taken my well into old age to even get an identity of my own, much less a healthy one. I think that’s part of the search. You were fortunate to know that at least one parent loved you. I’m sure you did things much differently with your life in so many ways.

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      • I almost commented that I would always find it very difficult trying to choose cards….nothing ever seemed appropriate. My Dad and I argued alot and he was a difficult man, reminded me alot of Archie Bunker and then some! But in my early adulthood I realised it was him that had stayed up until we got home as teenagers, him that rung once a week to chat, him that would visit me in hospital every day – he cared in his ways. And yes, I know what you mean about the search for identity, a lifelong journey you really wish you hadn’t needed to start let alone undertake over decades!

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      • Yup, you get it. 🙂

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  14. This is a beautiful post. I have recently re-visited the thought that my Pa is doing the best he can. When I can keep that in mind, I am able to appreciate the things about him that make me smile. So funny about the worn-out clothes, and my Pa is the SAME way. Doing laundry, I could actually see through some of his shirts, but he wouldn’t let us throw them out. He loves learning, and mostly loves learning about science and nature. That is the biggest gift he gave to me, an example of a parent very excited about trees, and fish, and insects.

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    • In spite of their hard natures, we always come away with a gift, don’t we? There were more things I wanted to say but didn’t. We are still working out our relationship. It’s never done. Even from different sides of the veil. 🙂 Our relationships with father are how we chose relationships with partners. That;s why I’ve given it up.

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  15. Great piece, Marlene, and as Pauline says, refreshingly honest. My dad died when I was 9, leaving a gaping hole in our lives. He was a kind man, a lover of children and animals, good to our mother and to us girls. I inherited my green thumb from him.

    As I read your words and that of others, I appreciate all the more how lucky I was to have him. It was so hard to lose him when I was young.

    I’m glad you’ve made your piece with your children and with your father. We all try to do our best. What else *can* we do? Hugs around you.

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    • Peace is the operative word. Expecting someone to be something that isn’t in them is crazy making. I can’t imagine losing a parent so young and especially one that is kind and loving. My kid dad died when my daughter was 17. She is still trying to resolve their difficulty. He was very much like my own father. Quite distant and not warm and cuddly. I had no clue from looking at his family. Expected a much different experience. I have never been one to hold resentments. You just love people as they are. I miss what could have been. Maybe he does too and that’s why he popped in on Father’s Day. 🙂

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      • I’m sad for your daughter, too, as our dad’s are so critical to our sense of self as young girls. They are our first ‘love’ and can influence our relationships for a lifetime. My heart goes out to all of you. I’m so glad they have you. xox

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      • Thank you. I think it was destined that way but I had hoped it would be different. I think that’s why my kids are staying single though not by choice.

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      • It’s hard finding a person to love and like. We’re sold a bill of goods through silly romance novels, romantic comedies, TV and the like. In reality, it’s hard find that perfect someone that you’re compatible with. I didn’t meet Mike till I was 34.

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  16. Catching up here Marlene, and read your Father’s Day post with great interest. How refreshing to read such an open, honest and real post about the difficulties some of us have in our relationships with our fathers, yet without a hint of bitterness or blame. You have read about my alcholic, jail-bird dad, who I love unconditionally but no longer expect anything from. Sadly, my daughter wants nothing to do with her father. She has no respect for him and infact despises him. I always vowed never to turn my children away from their dad, they are adults able to make their own decisions in life and she has made hers over which I have no control. I remember saying when I was quite young that ‘the buck stops here’. In other words, thinking just the same as your son as to how he decided to live his life in a better way. And so we move on and love and live and laugh and learn. I’m glad that at the end of your dad’s life, you at least had a small measure of something to talk about. A touching, poignant and beautifully written post Marlene, thank you for sharing from your heart. You were summoned indeed. Hugs ❤

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    • Thanks so much, Sherri. I’m delighted you had time to stop by here. I’m as far behind as you and see no sign of ever catching up. 😦 I loved my dad and really wanted a close relationship with him but instead, I just appreciated who he was. I think many of us have that kind of relationship with people in our lives. My kids dad died before my daughter could get some closure on theirs. Your daughter probably is doing what is best for her right now. Who knows. I also made it a point never to say anything bad about their dad to them. They knew the truth without me saying a word. It hurt my kids hearts when he said mean things about me. Not worth it. Hugs back.

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