When Mothers Make Up For Father Flaws
“It is not until much later, that children understand; their stories and all their accomplishments, sit atop the stories of their mothers and fathers, stones upon stones, beneath the water of their lives.”
― Paulo Coelho
June 1st is my Dad’s birthday. He’s 82. The above photo was taken a few days ago in Linden, Alberta, at the nursing home where he now lives.
My Dad has dementia, so his short term memory – and much of his long term memory – is pretty much shot. But there are plenty of lucid moments in which, when prompted, he’ll break into an old song or recite a poem…or even speak in Old English. His astounding vocabulary and eloquent manner of speech is still in tact, much to the delight of all of us.
My Dad was a brilliant man and had many excellent qualities. But he was a drinker and my parents divorced when I was 6. After that, I only saw him a couple of hours a week.
Thankfully, I had a Mom who more than made up for what my Dad couldn’t provide as a parent. I suspect I’m not alone.
But the older I get, the more I realize that all that my Dad was able to give me – including the lessons learned from his flaws – is paying off in spades.
If you’d like to read the blog I wrote about my Dad for Father’s Day last year, here’s the link: When the Engine Light is Red.
Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening and the playwright of Saviour. She is the CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and the Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive Maryanne’s Weekly Words of Wisdom blog, please sign up here.
Next week’s Mothering Matters blog, I Went From Wanting Children to Living Happily Childless, is by Nina Steele, founder of nonparents.com. Nina writes candidly about her experience of not being able to conceive due to her husband’s infertility – and the tremendous cultural pressure they faced due to their African heritage.
If you are just joining the Mothering Matters blog series, these were the first 3 blogs:
Getting to the Heart of the Matter: To Be or Not To Be…a Mom?
Parenting Pets; Why We Fuss Over Our Furry Friends
Baby on Board – Career Path Detour Ahead
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4 thoughts on “Mothering Matters #4 – Father Flaws”
Maryanne, this resonated a bit with me because my mother was both mother and father to her four children since I was two and a half. She had no choice. My father smoked two packs of cigarettes a day and was an abusive drinker! I have no memory of him. What I do have memories of is a mother who made sure we had everything we needed, and for her I never regretted having a father in the home. My mom is as strong as any man and also nurturing, diplomatic and knows how to set goals. She shared his life with her children though, in the form of stories. My vivid imagination is no match for her vivid memory (which I hope she never loses) and she can recall the day each of her children were born and what the first garments she put on us were. And yes, my father’s flaws (she has told me) has shaped my perspective. Happy Birthday to your Dad!
Wow…you really CAN relate to this blog about how mothers can make up for the father’s flaws! Thank you so much, Sherelle, for sharing. Your Mom sounds amazing 🙂
Maryanne, so great reading about you and your feelings about your dad and that you can understand who he was. I am sitting in my Dads room, while I am reading and writing to you. I find this a very hard and tiring road. But I sure love seeing his smile. Sending hugs and good wishes.
Yes, watching an aging parent go through the homestretch is a very tiring road…and far more tiring when you are helping with the caregiving as much as you are with your Dad, Joyce. Big hugs back at you,