I find lyrics to songs are so effective at summing up how I feel about so many things. So, naturally, when it comes to father's day, this song comes to mind:
The greatest man I never knew
Lived just down the hall
And everyday we said hello
But never touched at all
He was in his paper
I was in my room
How was I to know he thought I hung the moon
The greatest man I never knew
Came home late every night
He never had too much to say
Too much was on his mind
I never really knew him
And now it seems so sad
Everything he gave to us took all he had
Then the days turned into years
And the memories to black and white
He grew cold like an old winter wind
Blowing across my life
The greatest words I never heard
I guess I'll never hear
The man I thought would never die
S'been dead almost a year
He was good at business
But there was business left to do
He never said he loved me
Guess he thought I knew
It's a very touching song. It doesn't translate perfectly for me. For one, my dad tells me loves me all the time-he is very expressive. He also tells me everything wrong in my life (and my sister's life, and my brother's life, and pretty anyone else he can think of). He is also still very much alive-and incredibly healthy at 71.
The line about how he gave everything he had makes me sad. So many men are guilty of this. My husband is a perfect example. They are working so hard taking care of their families, and worrying about the big picture, that they forget to enjoy life's little treasures. It may take your children a lifetime to figure this out about you. It seems like such a waste.
The part about never really knowing him is true for me. He was very distant when I was growing up. In fact, we didn't really like each other very much. I suppose in part because we are a lot alike. As an adult, and a parent myself, I notice we have grown to be a little closer. In fact, every once in a while I get a glimpse of what he might have been like to have had as a friend instead of a father. It's one of the best things about getting to know your parents as an adult. You can see that side that you may never have noticed because they were busy raising you. My dad has a pretty good sense of humor. He is also a very talented cook-and not such a natural teacher. He has shown me how to cook lots of Iranian delights-none of which I have come close to mastering. So, I often call upon him for additional help to which he impatiently responds, "Sugar (Shoogah-with thick accent), when you gonna learn this stuff? I am not going to be around forever". You know how those old school cooks are-they never write anything down so I am constantly trying to get just the right amount of this and that figured out.
He is also a very emotional man. I notice he cries at the same movies I do (Slumdog, Kite Runner, etc). He also cries when he gets really angry-which I do as well. He is the reason I am hopelessly addicted to salt. I got his hair and awful feet. But he did bless us all with his dark coloring. He and I share a common dislike for garage sales, camping and setting foot in fabric stores. And just like me, he would rather be out doing something than watching TV or reading. We both love the gym and staying physically fit. I think of him when I eat pomegranates, pistachios and sour cherry jam; also bastani, poofac and noon -a-panir.
I always wanted to be accepted by him. I knew he loved me but it still felt like I let him down. I was a let down from the day I was born as he already had a daughter, and really wanted a son. I just kept up the trend most of my life. I think he is somewhat satisfied with the person I have become but I don't think it will ever be what he would have liked. I think he would have like me to have had a very impressive career of my own-and then married an extremely wealthy man whom spoiled me senselesly. He would like me to be an over privileged, over educated stay at home mommy who drives a fancy Mercedes and gets her hair done regularly. I am sure he would have liked it if I had kept up with my Iranian roots and still spoke Farsi.
On some levels, I can understand wanting these things for you kids. I would like my kids to grown up and have it great. I just wish he had made more of an effort to show some appreciate for what I did become.