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I remember running to the back of the Greyhound bus to look out the window and watch my Father drive away from me and my life. My parents were divorced,and I made no secret that
I wanted to live with my Dad. My Mother sent me to him,I thought it would be until I grew up.
I was with him one week. He said "kid,I have a new wife now,we have two sons, YOU have to
go back and treat your Step-Father as your Dad." My throat had a lump in it the size of a football,crying,I said you don't want to be my Dad anymore!" he muttered something,and left,I was nine years old.

My Step-father was 17 years older than my Mother and did not do well with kids, I never could bring friends home,or do anything sons usually do with Dads. He did take care of us
and when I was 13 years old, he let me spend summers at his beach house on the Oregon coast working at a restaurant. I was given total freedom.

I was 30 before my son was born. I had watched "Leave it to beaver",and "Father knows
Best".. I had it ALL figured out how to be a dad!

The first ten years of my Sons lives were good,we had money,took trips,my wife was a
stay at home Mom, and all was right with the world. I would deliver my sons papers for him
so he could sleep,when he got a paper route.

Reality catches up with everybody in life as much  as I wish it were otherwise.
my drinking could be measured in a number of bottles of wine I drank every night,not glasses. I found myself sitting alone in a dark room haunted by faces from the war and
realizing I really loved a lady in Vietnam.

When my sons were both around 12,they began their journey down a road of despair they have yet to recover from. I was warned to pay more attention to them and I told
my wife that was her job. I made the money, Finally I had a call from the school my sons were both attending. They both were SELLING drugs. So much for my plans!

I learned to be a Father is NOT winning a popularity contest. A father knows WHO his child's friends are,their parents,and where they live. Curfews  should be followed. A family
should sit down for dinner and discuss what is happening in everyone"s life. You can be strict without hurting your child. Many times my friends said I was too nice to be a Dad.

I made peace  with my step-father before he died. I apologized for putting him in a race with myFather. He admitted he let my sister and myself raise each other with the help
of my Grandmother.

Thousands of men came home from Vietnam and are great Dads.Their kids turned out
great. I congratulate all of you.  I have no idea what all of you do for a living.The most
important job you have is being a Father.

I should have read a book or studied first.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (13+ / 0-)

    Social activist, nutrition and exercise advice,long distance runner, Writer.

    by Vet63 on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 07:36:10 AM PST

  •  Try to live with the pain, endured or given to (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Vet63, wader, unfangus, kurt

    others, accept it, put it behind you and forget it. Go on, forgive yourself and all the ones, who hurt you. I don't see any other way to deal with it than to let the memories die and start to go forward, trying to do something good that keeps you away from thinking of the past.

    It's very difficult to be a father. It's also not easy to be a mother. It's the biggest job you have in life. I agree. And whatever happens, once the kid is born, you do the job and live with it. Millions of bad dads, millions of kids not understanding their dads, it takes a lifetime to figure out to understand each other. One day you let it go and accept it. There is no other way.

    Hugs.

    •  mimi (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wader, ladybug53, mimi, unfangus, kurt

      thanks! You can tell I am not having my best week with my two sons. I have accepted the past. Some weeks are tougher,however,and I feel if my story can keep someone else
      from making a mistake I made that would be great.
      Thanks for writing.
      Mike

      Social activist, nutrition and exercise advice,long distance runner, Writer.

      by Vet63 on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 08:29:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It definitely helps when you write (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Vet63

        and I know the tougher days, weeks are always coming back and pop up causing pain. And because I have at least some feelings about how that coming back is hurting, I am so desperately trying to say to people to let it go. May be I shouldn't have said anything.

        I was very unsure of writing the comment and I hope you didn't feel like someone smacked you with their crap talk. The way of getting rid of crap talk and thoughts for me is to sleep it out and wait til it's gone. Somehow it happens too and I can go on.

        •  mimi (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mimi

          I guess I talk too much about my two sons. I am trying to pass along lessons learned. I am fortunate to have had help in dealing with P.T.S.D.. You learn to turn around and face the past,own your past,stop giving it so much power. I live for the moment. I could die tonight, I am very close to my sons, too close. They need to do things on their own.
          Mike

          Social activist, nutrition and exercise advice,long distance runner, Writer.

          by Vet63 on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 09:24:51 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  no, there is no "too much talking", it's (0+ / 0-)

            just so difficult to have it done online and for us to react to it and say something that means anything or gives some little moment of feeling good about a response.

            I could die tonight, I am very close to my sons, too close.
            Same here.
            You learn to turn around and face the past, own your past, stop giving it so much power.
            Who doesn't try to do that and how often do we fail in it ? It would have been nice my son had had that help. I couldn't give it.

            Pass along lessons learned ... there are no shortcuts in being able to learn from lessons handed down by someone else, especially not from your parents. Though parents do believe and hope it to be the case - a matter of love to your children. In the end you learn all the lessons by yourself and I think it has to be that way. And the children learn that their parents way of handing down lessons learned was done out of love. Hopefully, one day before they die.

            I accepted that as being true, at least in my life I have not seen that one really can pass experiences along. Fatalistic? Yes. But that's what I came to observe and believe.

            •  mimi (0+ / 0-)

              I have read your thoughts several times. I let a lady I know read your powerful message, She, and I think you are spot on.
              I am a "bull in a china shop" type and my one son is shy, and the other is Mentally ill. They have to follow their own path,their way.
              thanks
              Mike

              Social activist, nutrition and exercise advice,long distance runner, Writer.

              by Vet63 on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 12:40:00 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  (((vet63))) I have to tell you, it's not in a book (7+ / 0-)

    As my Grandmother told me when I asked for advice when I had my first child, the books are all wrong, and they contradict themselves and what they all say one year is changed to sell books next year.
    We do what we can, when we can. We apologize when we screw up (and we will screw up) and help where, when we can.
    Some parents are to carefree, some are too harsh.
    You are learning as you go the same way everyone else who has kids does.
    See, every child is different, every parent is different.
    It IS the biggest job you will ever have and funny, when they turn that magical 18, they still need their Mom and Dad. Try and forgive yourself, as you are forgiving your parents. I am glad to hear you made peace with your step father, so many do not have the chance.
    Peace and Blessings!
    PS  Can't wait to get together after the new year, there is a new Seattle Area Kossack group you should check into, I think we will be meeting after the new year.

    United we the people stand, divided we the people fall.

    by Penny GC on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 08:33:36 AM PST

    •  Penny GC (0+ / 0-)

      Thanks for your kind words. I would love to meet other folks
      from this area who write here.
      Take care,
      mike from Redmond

      Social activist, nutrition and exercise advice,long distance runner, Writer.

      by Vet63 on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 08:54:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  parenting is so difficult (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    thomask, kurt

    that it is a wonder anyone has more than one child!  whatever you have done, it is past now and the future lies in front of you to do the best you can.  i  read your diary about visiting your son in jail for christmas.  my brother spent many holidays as a guest of most of the many fine institutions of correction in california.  my mother despaired of him many times but we always brought him home after he was released and started anew.  she and my stepfather were not bad parents, they did they best the knew how to do.  as parents, we are not responsible for the path our children are born to follow.  we are not in control of the lessons they need to learn to continue their journeys, and we have to stop beating ourselves up when those paths are bumpy for them.  we too are on our roads and have reasons for the things we do, even if those reasons are not apparent.  be kinder to yourself, we are all traveling together.

  •  I'm not a parent but (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Vet63, kurt

    I have learned that one of the hardest but more worthwhile things you can do is to learn to forgive yourself and to release the past.  Lots of great people that I've known have raised horrible children and some others who seemed like they were doing it all wrong ended up with some wonderful progeny.  
    I had a terrible relationship with my mother and it wasn't until a few years ago that I was ble to let it go and release the anger.  I felt a lot lighter when I did.
    It sounds like you're doing everything that you can now, so just keep on doing that and take care of yourself as well.  

    sometimes the dragon wins

    by kathy in ga on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 09:01:55 AM PST

    •  Kathy in ga (0+ / 0-)

      Thanks again for your kind words. Sometimes I write true stories about my past thinking someone will see a mistake
      I made and not make it themselves. I am trying to pass along
      a bit of life from an old fart who has made every mistake
      you can think of in life,and still laughs.
      Take care of your wonderful self,
      Mike

      Social activist, nutrition and exercise advice,long distance runner, Writer.

      by Vet63 on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 09:31:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  It's a journey. We're all still on it. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    art ah zen, kurt

    And none of us really knows where we're going.

    My kids are now 23 and 21. They have their strengths and their struggles. I had something to do with both, but I am also struck by how much they have always stuck with their own internal guidance, beyond my poor power to add or detract.

    I suspect your sons are the same.

    You can't control your sons. You can't determine how their lives will turn out. But you can love them. Do that, and it will be more than enough.

    Best to you and your family, in 2014 and always.

    "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

    by HeyMikey on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 09:04:20 AM PST

    •  HeyMikey (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      HeyMikey

      Thanks. . for your nice words. My sons now need to do more on their own.I enable them too much,and have paid too many
      bills for them. I have no idea why I was doing that. I am a hard guy to say no.
      Thanks for writing
      Mike

      Social activist, nutrition and exercise advice,long distance runner, Writer.

      by Vet63 on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 09:37:09 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  One of the hardest tasks for a parent (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AJayne, kurt

        is allowing children to get hit with the consequences of their own choices -- whether it's flunking a test because you didn't do the homework/reading, or getting the car keys taken away because of reckless driving, or getting into debt and having to take on some dirty grunt-job to earn enough to pay it off.

        There are times to step in and soften the edges of the consequences, but mostly it's best to say "Well, that's too bad, and I'm sure you can figure this out and handle it."

        I once represented a nice young man who was pleading guilty to shoplifting a cheap radio. He had the sense (or the good advice) to put on a nice button-down shirt and khakis for the hearing. The judge wanted to know, "Are you paying the fine yourself, or are your parents paying it for you?" Mom was sitting in the front row for support. But son looked straight at the judge and said, "Oh, no, sir, they would never do that. I have to pay it myself, every dime, from what I earn at my part-time job." It was the right answer, and the judge ordered a somewhat smaller fine than the prosecutor had requested, and gave him time to pay it off at $25 a week. He must have showed up faithfully every Friday with the $25 because I never heard anything more about the case.

        •  rugbymom (0+ / 0-)

          My mother made me earn everything after age 12. She had lots of money but wanted me to be tough. Why in heck I didn't follow her example raising my sons,is a big regret.
          Thanks for writing
          Mike

          Social activist, nutrition and exercise advice,long distance runner, Writer.

          by Vet63 on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 12:45:10 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Nah, don't regret that (0+ / 0-)

            My mom was like yours.  I worked from 12 and never had the time to do great schoolwork. My brother got into all kinds of trouble.  We both felt unwanted, like burdens.  And we've both been generous to a fault with our own kids.  Not rich, either of us, but what we can, we give them. Yes, they sometimes took that for granted, but they are good people, confident and responsible -- and older than your guys, so, well, believe.  In them and in yourself.

            •  Foothills of Oblivion (0+ / 0-)

              What a great message!  I keep hoping.
              Be well,
              Mike

              Social activist, nutrition and exercise advice,long distance runner, Writer.

              by Vet63 on Fri Dec 27, 2013 at 05:47:32 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

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