La La How The Life Goes On

Father Knows Best

Posted on: February 21, 2015

stifleit
So today marks 9 years since my Dad has been gone. NINE YEARS! I generally try not make a big deal out of it on the principle that my Dad’s life was about so much more than the day he died, so to make a giant anniversary out of it kind of misses the point of who he was and what he created in his too-short time on this earth. It also misses the point of what this day means to me, which is: not much. I love to have a drink for him on his birthday, on Father’s Day, on Burns Night, definitely on Hogmanay. I think it is good and right to note the day he passed because doing so acknowledges that he existed and is now no more, but I prefer to make celebratory days more of a focus simply because that’s what he would have wanted and because they better characterize the wee man with the big personality. He is likely bummed that we mark this day at all, it not having turned out to be a good one for him. šŸ˜‰ But mark it we must, since thems that lives gets to makes the rules.

So what can I say about JP except that I miss him and that when I’m sad about him being gone it’s because I’m sad that my kids don’t get the experience of knowing him. I’m not sure where I land on issues of theology these days, but I do believe that no one is ever completely gone. That they live on, whether in energy or spirit or simply in the memories of the people they influenced while they were alive. Judaism has a phrase, “May his memory be for a blessing.” It expresses the hope that the memory of the person will inspire you to be a blessing to others. That those still living remember what good things that person would want us to do, and then go do them. So I try to do that.

One of the key ways I try to honor my dad is to make sure my kids do whatever they want to with their grandparents and their great-grandmother. My Dad always did whatever the hell he wanted to vis a vis his grandchildren. He didn’t baptize any of them (like Archie Bunker did against The MeatHead’s and Gloria’s wishes in an episode my Dad called ‘one of Archie’s best’), but you know, he just basically told us to go away if we were bugging him and his good time with his grands. I remember him taking Bambina outside to walk around and collect leaves when she was about 1 year old. I was fussing about how cold it was and she should wrap up more and shouldn’t they limit their time outside, blah blah. And he just waved his hand toward his apartment building and told me to “away wi’ yer shite!” If I was cold I should go in but he and “the wean” were doing just fine and I was ruining their fun. So inside I went. But not without monitoring events from the window like any first-time mother does. To see them having a fantastic time without me. I realized then–and reminded myself over the years–that I owe it to my kids to let them have their own relationships with their grandparents. I can manage babysitters. I can manage their friend relationships while they are young. But I need to let them have their own dealings with their grandparents. As long as I know that the GPs aren’t drinking and driving or posting pics of the kids on the open internet, or calling them fatties or whatever, it all just has to be good. Memories of my grandmother trying to spank us with her shoe or my other grandmother sending us to the store to buy her cigarettes would have been impossible had my parents gotten as involved as parents do today. My father believed fervently that having stories of grandparental malfeasance is your child’s birthright. So get out of their way and let them get on with it.

So that’s my plan for this anniversaire. Reminding myself that if my mom wants to keep them up till 10pm; whatever. If their Gram and Pop want to feed them cookies at 10am, whatever. It’s all good. It’s what both God and Nature intended for the grands relationship: that they do whatever the hell they want to and then send them home exhausted and punch drunk (and the kids are a mess too). Ha!

May we all live long and healthily enough to be granted that privilege.1314268442289_joeystivic3._SX455_SY455_

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