In Which I Examine My Parenting…
You know when people who are your age look at you and then say something like “Oh, you remember what we were like when we were that age.”?
See, I don’t.
I really have no concrete memories of anything that happened in my life from about July of 1995 until the Very Bad happened a few years later. That isn’t to say I remember nothing, I mean, I got married three times, had a son, got divorced three times, somehow managed to not fail out of high school and became a gigantic fish in the tiny, tiny pool I swam in. So yes, I remember things from those years, I just don’t remember things.
I don’t remember the subtleties of what it is to be a teenager, because I never lived the normal experience enough to tell you anything about it.
I can tell you what it is like to sit on the shoulders of a seven-foot-tall Ugandan giant named Umaki who I watched die in my arms, but I cannot for the life of me tell you what it was like going through hormonal changes in relation to the attitude and actions of the said teenager.
I can tell you the exact moment I knew that my life was going to end in horror, but I cannot tell you what it is like to get ready for prom, even though I apparently went to four of them.
I can tell you how to swear in Farsi when you see people you owe a lot of money too and you know there is nothing you can do to get away from them and the bad they are bringing, but I don’t know what it is like to ask dad to borrow the car keys.
I am not asking for pity, understanding, or even advice, I am merely stating facts that occurred to me on my yearly guaranteed sleepless night. I sat there encased in a wall of sage and patchouli smoke, my eyes wide open in the darkness while I said and did the things that needed doing to honor so many things.
As I drifted away from the Now, I remembered not just the Then, but the Never Was. I tried to look at it like I was reading a book, and reading it I discovered I had entire chapters missing that most people simply take for granted as everyone has.
The biggest example I suppose is my father.
My father was diagnosed with Colo-Rectal cancer in the summer of 1997 and was dead before my birthday the next March. My mother and I were the only ones who knew the details of everything because my sister was at school and my brother was, we mistakenly thought, too young to handle the information as we would have presented it. So while my mother and I were not surprised that mate February morning, everyone else was. They were so mad at the two of us for withholding all the information we did, and I know now how selfish it was for us to do it the way we did. However, at the time, it was the Now.
The Never Was of it all was having the family gather at his bedside as he passed, tears being shed, love outpouring from every one of us to strengthen the rest of us.
None of us really wept the day my father died. I will pass that as shock, but he has been gone twenty-two years now and I still have yet to shed a single tear over it because, well, he wasn’t a nice and good and awesome dad like we made sure everyone thought he was. Even after his death, my siblings keep up the charade of the Father Of The year, I refuse to expend energy on a lie that vast.
I’ve derailed here, haven’t I?
Oh yeah, Bro…
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