Today I'd like to talk about fathers, a subject that is being celebrated today, here in the USA. Fathers help to shape who we are, good or bad, as do mothers. They do this by being there, or being absent. They do this by loving us, or by ignoring us. By being wonderful, or by being jerks.
So why bring this up, here in my Fingerling blog? In many ways, Fingerling is a story about fathers and fathering. The two main protagonists, Col and Dorial, both have been shaped by who their fathers were, and by their tragic deaths. High King Caran and Lord Cory Ring were honorable men and took care to be present for their children. Col and Dorial's characters reflect that. The villains, for the most part, had broken childhoods and never recovered.
Presently I am in the middle of writing some dark and depressing passages for Fingerling. I take no joy in it, but I felt that the characters (protagonists and antagonists) were leading me this way. Not everyone has a happy ending (although people will decide not to have a horrible one). Father's take a part in that. In the end, the characters will grow and move past their difficulties, becoming different people. There is even hope for redemption for some of our unsavory participants.
My life as a son was not terrible. My father did not abandon me or try to kill me, but he wasn't exactly a stellar dad. He had a tendency towards heavy handed sarcasm and had a nasty sense of humor sometimes. He could be selfish, mean spirited and abusive (physically and verbally). Yet he was a better father than my grandfather, who left his young wife, son and daughter to move back to the Cayman Islands. He could be thoughtful, but I don't ever recall him saying that he loved me. in the end, before the cancer and Alzheimers claimed him, he did try to make amends. I can't speak for my siblings as I think I at least got a little closure, but it was a little too little and a little too late. There's a final door we all go through here on Earth and it's better, in my opinion, not too wait too long to make amends with those that you've hurt.
I tend to be reflective on Father's Day. I really don't spend too much time thinking about how well my father did as a dad. Instead I try and reflect and how I'm doing. Am I truly meeting the measure I think I should be? Am I matching the standard I feel my Creator has set for me? Have I apologized for the times I've fallen short? And... I feel grateful for my wife and children. For they, as imperfect as I am, are wonderful. We decided a long time ago to be a team and for the most part, selfish and petty as we all can be at times, we are still in the end a team.
So I thank you Lord, for putting me in this team. Hopefully I will set a standard so that my sons will be good men and great fathers and my daughter will not settle for someone who is not the same.