Friday, September 7, 2012

Just a slob like one of us

There was a time in my life when I was pretty religious.  I went to catholic boarding school in my early childhood.  It was really unpleasant and the whole experience left me with an ugly fear complex for a long time which I think is basically their point.  I still functioned at a pretty high level but I had a lot of hang-ups and false confidence that prevented me from taking directions in life I probably should have.  But anyway,  I remember when I heard this song for the first time.  It was right around the time my son Stephen was born and, coincidentally, at a time I was also beginning to break the grip of all that early dogma and formulating my own brighter, inclusive concepts around life, our existence here and all that kind of stuff.

I remember holding Stephen in the hospital, so hopeful...humbled, tearful that I would be a great dad and that he wouldn't grow up with same limiters that had been embedded into me, that he would be better than me in every possible way.

My hope was to love and guide him to turn his dreams into reality and build a platform and the position to be able to provide him with all the avenues toward options, options to find his own passion(s) in life and pursue them.

All of this was with desperate good intent but there was a problem. I had no real way of knowing how to do that.  The only parenting I knew how to do was through emulation. It wasn't from experiential background.  I didn't ignore what I knew, I just didn't know.  No one had ever taught it to me.  I was taught other things from priests around menacing fear based ideology like insufficient deeds, corporal punishment, exacting mean faith and eternal abandonment.  Not healthy stuff.

So while my intent and heart were completely all in and present for Stephen I wasn't (at that time) equipped to do what I genuinely wanted for him emotionally and for the relationship between he and I.  As much as it pains me to say, I didn't have the skill or the learned finesse that is necessary to have pulled that off.  And like a lot of other parent's' I messed up pretty bad on a lot of things.  But not on purpose and not for lack of going to the mat trying.

 (on the left)
A tumultuous divorce and brutal custody battle ripped bullet holes through the deep ties between us.  That was was a long time ago but it was tragic.  It didn't have to be that way but in divorce everyone is capable of being a massive dumb ass and I wasn't perfect.  I know it is cliche to say but if I knew then what I know now things would have been much different.

Some time ago Stephen told me, in so many words that he wanted space and separation from me which I totally understand.  I wish things were different, I miss seeing him horribly but it's his call.

I came across this picture taken this summer at Fenway Park (Red Sox) in Boston and was floored.  My eyes see a confident, cool, relaxed guy in a nice place having fun and that makes me effusively happy for him.  But my heart is flooded with textured imagery of teaching him to ride a bike and swim, reading Thomas the Tank Engine, putting him on the school bus, dinners together, games of charades and of course Harey Carey imitations "HEY...Does anybody want a hot dog, I DO." much there.  So much yet to do. 

Where there's life, there is hope.

Peace & roll strong

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