Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Reversing the Timeline

Photo taken by me as an example of a stay at h...

Fatherhood is complicated. I don't if women find it that way, but as a man, I do. I'm sure this is partly because I think about it more than when I was younger. Back then, my father was living, I was busy with graduate school, and there didn't seem to be a reason or need to conceptualize it. I think I took it for granted in some ways. Maybe that stems from being young and having dad around to explain everything.

What I've come to realize is how difficult that must have been for him. Samuel Osherson has suggested it's possible to be feel more comfortable alienated from the father of one's childhood than making real peace with the father of one's adulthood. The reason being, making peace on this level involves becoming intimately acquainted and that doesn't happen without effort. We have to empathize with our fathers and recognize what we share with them is our humanity.

I suppose being inclined to reflect on what my own life is about, I find myself reflecting about my father's, and particularly his later years. In a lot of ways I think he grew into the father he wished he'd been when I was a child. I thought he did a good job, but he felt he could have been better, more sensitive, less preoccupied, more available, more the person he'd become as an older man. The things I didn't know.

I suppose we all grow into parenthood, though truthfully, I sometimes think reversing the timeline wouldn't be a bad idea so that parenting is something we do when we're old enough to be really good at it. I say that because it takes our own growing up to help someone else accomplish the same task. Then again, we're all in process and there's something to be said for that, too. In the meantime, I'll just drop my thoughts in the Cosmic Suggestion Box and we'll see what comes of them.

(GNU Free Distribution Licensed image via Wikipedia)
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