Spent the afternoon with Mom. She decided she just needed to get “out of there” for awhile. What she meant was that she needed to get away from all the reminders about how slowly things are progressing out on the lot. She goes out there everyday to pick up the mail and to check on the garage (make sure things haven’t been broken into). She sees on a daily basis just how much progress (meaning none) is being made. But there is nothing she, or anyone else, can do until the ground dries out more. I’m hoping that by early summer she will be back living in her own home.
We spent some time talking about Dad and how the boys (at least two of them) don’t really think that Dad helped to raise us kids. I see their point to a certain extent. But I also cut him some slack because of how and where he was raised. His adoptive father was not the best role model for fatherhood, and the area where he was raised was of a culture where the men were MEN and didn’t show their emotions. The men showed their love for their families by taking care of them, and that often meant long days in the fields away from the kids. And when the kids got old enough they helped out in the fields. The women were the ones who stayed with the little ones and got them off to school. The women were the ones who kissed the scraped knees and wiped away the tears. Life where he grew up was hard, and having the father he had was even harder.
Dad didn’t really know anything else until he became a part of my mom’s family when they were married. Then he looked to his father-in-law (my grandpa) as an example. But that only lasted until my grandpa died when I was about twelve. After that he had to rely on what he remembered. And by that time his own father had moved in with us and the memories of how he had been treated as a child were much closer to the surface and sometimes hard to ignore. I can remember him acting out on them a couple of times.
Anyway, I think he was scared of being a father, of repeating the behavior he had instinctively known was not love when he was a child. I think he was especially scared by me, his only daughter, what a novelty I was! He had a hard time figuring out how to raise boys, what was he supposed to do with a girl?
I’ve come to these realizations slowly over the years. I’ve wished many times over the past few months that I had come to them sooner, when there was more time to build a better relationship with him. But at least I came to them before this. My brothers have all this anger (at least I think it’s anger) and disappointment. I pray that they are able to someday see that Dad did the best he could with what he had (both materially and emotionally) to give.