Tag Archives: father

Fatherless, Childless

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I recently realized I am in a fairly unique position. There is no paternal bond left in my life. Both of my grandfathers are gone, my father is deceased, and I have no children. I’m sure this is not a wildly rare situation, but it’s one that lends itself to some introspective examination.

I wasn’t raised with a father, so I can’t speak to the notion of men needing other men to cultivate a fully-formed human. There wasn’t a bigger, harrier version of me handing over a playbook with keys to the testosteronic kingdom.

I’m sure I may have missed a few lessons along the way. I probably can’t throw a solid jab. There is no desire to attend strip clubs, kill animals for sport, or sit at a poker table, and I’d rather intentionally collapse my trachea than sleep outdoors in a tent.

But from a macroscopic level, there may be a fundamental disconnect when the bloodline comes untethered.

The long-lasting psychological implications germinating in a mind left alone to wander the world are above my pay grade, but there is certainly something absent. Finding a sense of peace as the calendar pages are torn becomes more of a priority than second-guessing specific decisions made along the journey. The “what ifs” are heartbreakers, but “what’s next” is fuel.

This stage will be tackled like all the rest, and I’ll find my footing on an icy staircase leading to some version of actualization, however faded that picture appears when I finally (hopefully) arrive.

We are driven by our core instincts and the only job we have is to listen. The answers come from the quiet voices in the shadowy recesses of our mind.

We simply need to remember that those whispers are screams.

Adolescence Interrupted

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Fatherless Figuring

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The only thing that I can even remotely relate to the notion of having a child is someone handing me a scalpel and asking me to perform a complex medical procedure. It’s wildly intimidating, I’m completely unqualified, and a human life is at risk.

For those of you with children, this concept probably seems absurd. You’d argue it’s the most natural, most biologically-hardwired thing in the world. You barely remember a single day before parenthood provided you with purpose, granting you a gift that made you feel alive and empowered. You were waiting, wandering without focus, until you were blessed with this tiny bundle of instant selflessness.

I get it. Well, I get the general drift. But, I just can’t seem to choke down all the Kool-Aid.

I imagine a number of factors are to blame. I’m an only child. I grew up without a father. I think the survival of the planet hinges on population reduction. Blah, blah, blah.

But, recently, I had a mini revelation. I’ve lived (for longer than I care to admit) with the general belief that serious life decisions and responsibilities are handled by adults. Grownups are experienced, knowledgable, and capable of tackling whatever unplanned catastrophes happen to surface. They can get married, buy houses, have children, organize barbecues, and generally have a damn fine time.

Well, now I’m considerably deep into this “adulthood” everyone keeps talking about, and I don’t feel I have even the simplest skill set required to navigate that world. So, since I live in a constant state of contemplation, I’ve arrived at a couple of conclusions.

1) It’s difficult to foster someone else’s childhood when you still want to revisit your own.

-Many thanks to Mom for this one. Ages 0-18 were a self-actualized dream come to life…full of wonder, hope, love, excitement, and security. Sure, there was one major bump on that perfectly-paved road, but that’s why George Hansburg made the pogo stick.

2) You can’t have a kid when you still ARE a kid.

-Obviously, this isn’t true. Every major city in America proves this thesis false on a daily basis. But, I’m referring to a state of mind. Undoubtedly, there are some who would argue I’m a 90-year-old man, living in the body of a weird, writing hermit. However, habitual handcuffs and erratic sleeping patterns aside, I watch the world with the same discerning eyes I had at 15. Maybe everyone feels like that. There’s a saying that we never realize we age until we catch a glimpse of ourselves in the mirror. Well, that may very well be the case. Regardless, these teenage peepers still see the news of impending fatherhood with the same, balanced mix of pity and terror. It’s not celebration. It’s sympathy.

But, I suppose there’s some future awakening or dormant life event waiting to flip those tables and make me one of the “normals.” Anything is possible.

For now, I’ll continue to stay in awe of these crazy youngsters and their fancy adult lives, living like an old man with a teenage heart.