Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day 2010

The postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies or opinions.

Warning: Self-pity May Ensue

Now, there's a sub-heading to make anyone want to run from this blog, including me. I am sad. Lonely for my father. Nearly a decade ago, I found a book that helped a bit, but I just miss him.

Can't recall my father's voice anymore, not really. Am grateful still to have my mother. How marvelous that she could make it with her walker down the dock at 23rd Street in NYC yesterday and onto the boat for the "Rocks Off Concert Cruise;" how hilarious to watch her wildly-amused reaction to the teenage heavy metal band that preceded our nephews' under-12 rock band during a 3.5-hour boat-ride, and then her delight at her twin grandsons, playing electric guitar and drums to "Come Together" by the Beatles and more.

What would have been my dad's reaction? I think he'd have smiled non-stop. The boys -- especially Sam, the drummer -- are reminiscent of him...gorgeous blue eyes, tall, with big feet and big ears; genes are amazing. Today, their 17-year-old sister Zoe and they are celebrating Father's Day with my brother-in-law and sister Deb while our nephew Zach celebrates with my other brother-in-law and other sister. I'm not celebrating.

If only I'd married a man. If only we had been able to have children. If both if-only's had happened, I'd be serving or buying brunch somewhere and all of us would be presenting suitable gifts. Instead, I'm blogging. I know I'm not the only one who wonders what if about any number of life-scenarios, and I also know that everything happens for a reason. And I don't want to disrespect the extraordinarily great relationship that Pat and I have, but some days, like today, I ask myself why I had to have an uncommon sexual orientation.

Yes, I know, too: I could have married a man and still had no children. Or he could have died, or a million other variations. And now, as if on cue -- though I know cats are not supposed to be empathetic like dogs -- one of our two cat-children Phoebe appears for pets and purring.

What would have been my dad's future if he had lived beyond 56? That's just 11 years from now for me, God willing, and I can't imagine being cut off that soon.

Would he have had one more great invention in him? Would he have adapted his game-designing skills to creating online games? Would his health have declined in some other way or would he have heeded some wake-up call and become fit? Would we have roller-bladed together, since he was a skilled roller-skater from childhood? Would he have kept singing Adir Hu his way at the Passover Seder every year? Would he have fallen asleep, telling bed-time stories to his grandchildren, like he did with his children? Would we have become estranged over my sexual orientation or would he have risen to the occasion ultimately like my mother?

I have such a sense of regret in both directions this Father's Day. Though I knew of my lesbianism by age 11, I was afraid to enable an authentic relationship with my father before his death six years later by sharing my knowledge with him. And then the other regret at this moment is that I did not have any children. Yesterday, while we were on the boat for the boys' concert, I overheard my sister Kayla, reminding my mother of the view of the ships in the river she had while giving birth. "When I gave birth," she said....I was so wistful and envious at once, as I heard her speak. I am lacking that life-experience, plus what comes after of raising a child.

On most days, I'm confirmed that I'd rather not have the full experience of having and raising children than have it -- and at this point, it would be a matter of adoption, rather than an organic birth -- but on days like today, I am sad.

Also, we had dinner and swimming with a couple of friends last night and I watched their affection with the kids with some longing. And enjoyed the affection the kids generously lent to Pat and me, but it was still just a loan....

And then I also recall, hearing that they all woke up at 4:30 that morning, since one of the twins had had a nightmare, and I said to myself, Thank God I don't have all of that responsibility. Feeding the cats daily at 6 am is enough.

My celebration of Father's Day died with my dad (z"l) >27 years ago....Don't say I didn't warn you that this blog-entry would be self-pitying.

Just a final thought: Most of the time, I don't indulge in blogging in this tone, and I keep myself busy enough that I don't spend much time on this sadness in my mind either, but today, as a fatherless daughter on Father's Day, with no children to celebrate the day either, it actually feels refreshing simply to yield to my ambivalent grief.


rucsb said...

Chin up kid ! It is " ok " to feel this way !

The world is a narrow bridge and the main thing is to have no fear,
( probably ) no regrets either.

We are mere puppets in God's hand !

Marniferous said...

Rarly, thank you for sharing your feelings. I don't hear self-pity. I hear deep, genuine authenticity, which i appreciate so much.

I think actually feeling all these feelings and sharing them is not indulgent, but courageous, and i think it honors your dad to speak your truth about your feelings.

It is sad that sometimes we go a long time before we're ready to share something important with someone we're close to. Maybe it takes us a long time to even know, or to admit to ourselves, or to feel strong enough to risk their reaction, or maybe to just plain be ready. And sometimes when we do feel ready they're not there to hear. Occasionally i have an internal conversation with my mom and you are making me think i could stand to do more of that.



Sarah Siegel said...

Ruchi and Marni, thanks for your kind comments, and Marni, for telling me that you could relate to missing the corporeal version of one of each of our parents.