: happy father’s day, mom :

Technically, I had a father. Sperm donor is a more accurate term, but it raises questions and requires explanation, so father it is.

My parents, you see, divorced when I was 13 and I hardly noticed. My dad was never a prominent figure in my day-to-day because he had other priorities. Big, important things like golf, work, business travel, women. The one memorable role he played was telling me my grandfather had died and I’ve still not forgiven him. It wasn’t my dad’s fault, he didn’t kill him or anything, but the news opened a hole that refuses to close.

I was at the pool, intent on surviving a ruthless game of Sharks and Minnows when I was paged to the phone. Even though the timing stunk, I hauled myself out of the water and sploshed to the telephone expecting my mother to say come home for dinner. Instead, it was my dad. Now, this was a clear breach of protocol. He’d no right bossing me around, he was an interloper, so I put up a fight.

I lost, yes, but I didn’t surrender — I took my own sweet time going. I sauntered; I dawdled; I frittered and loitered and lollygagged; I checked the woods for stray tennis balls.¹ Eventually, I gave up and pedaled my bike home the long way. When I got there, though, my father was the only one in the house and my sensors went on full alert. Something was terribly, horribly wrong.

It can’t be easy telling a kid their champion is gone. I’m sure he did his best and tried to cushion the blow, but my father was a stranger to me in many respects. What I wanted was my mother. Where was my mother? Panic mounted in my chest and I was having trouble containing it. My mom, he said, was with my grandmother. I demanded to be taken to her.

My grandparents’ house was filled with somber faces and hushed voices. Clusters of people were gathered in the livingroom, ladies bustled in the kitchen, food packed the dining room, and I searched for the only comfort I knew. When I at last clapped eyes on my mother, my heart broke apart. The sorrow and hurt exploded like a thunderstorm; my grandfather, a man who was my moon and stars, had died. On Father’s Day.

For me, this a weird day of complicated emotions. So rather than dwell, I celebrate my dear old mom. After all, she was both mother and father, as well as my greatest friend and a really good audience. She was also comically inept as a disciplinarian. Whenever she tried to issue a command or look menacing, it was nothing short of hilarious. I’d point and laugh and go my merry way. Those were good times.

So, happy Father’s Day, you big fiercy.

copyright © 2018 the whirly girl

¹ Loafed just like I did all last week, which left me no choice but to reblog a post from last year. Sorry. I’ll try to do better next time. Note I used the word try, which is no guarantee I’ll succeed. Just that, sure, I’ll try.

27 thoughts on “: happy father’s day, mom :

  1. This must have left a permanent pain of parting hence must be celebrated since mothers are gold even when her departure was on special day for fathers. Note that the father is also a major casualty.

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  2. Powerful and honest … I suppose many real relationships cut across conventional ones, perhaps transcend the stereotypes. Don’t know if that makes sense but your post got me thinking … :)

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  3. I am glad you loafed and reposted this as I didn’t follow you this time last year. Happy Father’s Day to your mom! It’s a odd day really for so many of us whether due to absence, death or in my case a sheer inability to have a close relationship. I like to focus on the relationships I do have too ❤

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  4. I love how you describe your Grandfather. He obviously was your “Father” figure as a youngster. There weren’t really any when I was a kid. No Grandfathers and I didn’t meet my sperm donor until I was 27. It’s wonderful he gave you “a man who was your moon and stars” to hold in your heart always.

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    1. He was one authority figure whose approval I tried to gain. I wanted him to be proud. The rest of them, teachers and bosses and the like, were just such boobs. I never met the other grandfather, but I doubt he would’ve measured up. We muddle through the best we can, right?

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    1. Hmm, well, depends. If you’re trying to start an honest conversation with him, sure. If you want to insult him, um, maybe not. But you do whatever works best for you 🙃


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