Sunday, June 15, 2008

Father's Day

Today's a tough day for T. He really wants nothing more than to be a father, and his own relationship with his father was a difficult one. He loved his father deeply, but T's childhood was difficult due to his father's drinking. T doesn't talk in depth about his father, but when he does speak of him I mostly hear the love. Having never been touched by alcoholism I find it difficult to understand how T and his mother process their rocky relationships with T's dad. My MIL never has a bad word to say about him even though I know there were times when he was anything but a good person.

With the passing of Tim Russert, a lot has been said this Father's Day weekend about being a proud father and a proud son as Tim was. This moves T deeply, and I know he has many ambivalent feelings about all of these things. I know he strives to be the type of father that his dad never was -- he has said so. He wants to embrace the positive qualities of his dad, and because he doesn't have problems with alcohol he can take those good qualities that his dad had, some of which he sees in himself, and be a wonderful father. T is an adoring husband and an adoring cat owner. I know he will be an adoring father, too.

His father died reasonably young (from a brain tumor not unlike the one Ted Kennedy has, though his father's was inoperable) and T's biggest fear is that he will never see his children as adults. Because we are getting older and will be close to 40 when becoming parents for the first time, this fear gets stronger and stronger as every anniversary passes. We have T's birthday, the anniversary of his father's death, his father's birthday and Father's Day all as reminders of time passing. I a expecting another round of these anniversaries to pass before we become parents.

Today, Father's Day, we are very close to finishing up our initial adoption application. It has been difficult to get him to write about his own childhood due to the difficult issues he has faced. Aside from a few snapshots, T's autobiography is the only part of our application that we need to complete. I know he thinks about it every day and he promises that it will be done before we leave on our trip Friday morning, but he keeps pushing it further and further away. He does not like to talk about his childhood or to face his feelings when it comes to his father. It is especially difficult for him to do this on Father's Day of all days.

As we were watching the tribute to Tim Russert, we saw Tim wish his viewers a happy father's day. He wished a happy father's day to his dad and told his son, Luke, that he was proud to be Luke's dad. This triggered something in T. I'm not sure if T's dad ever told him he was proud of him, even though T knows that he was. It was only as T took care of him while he was dying that he got to see the softer side of his father. Moments like these move T to tears.

I wish there were some way I could ease the pain of fatherhood in general for T. I know that when we finally have children of our own some of that pain will be reduced. I'm not sure if he will ever fully come to terms with his relationship with his dad, but I think by being a dad himself, and the kind of dad his dad never could be due to his alcoholism, I think he will be able to let some of that pain go. A day like today is so difficult for me because I know there is absolutely nothing I can do to help T. He is a sensitive man, which is one of the reasons I love him so much, but it really hurts to see him hurt.

I hope that one day he will be a father soon because I know that few men will appreciate fatherhood the way that T will one day when he gets to be a father, no matter how that happens.


niobe said...

What a sad and poignant day for T, in so many different ways. Thinking of both of you.

Beck said...

Just linked over from Stirrup Queens where I read your comment on the "infertility/cancer" post. I hope you don't mind me commenting, but before I read your comment, I'd just posted what I've learned from infertility on my blog. I am 19 months into motherhood of our adopted little girl, and while the pain of what we've gone through with infertility never really goes away, when you are finally able to step away (whether through becoming a parent or choosing to be childfree), you are able to let go of a lot (definitely not ALL) of the frustration and pain. Keep your chin up!

Freyja said...

This post brought tears to my eyes.