Mothers have it good because unless they really screw up, their kids will adore them beyond gold. And even when they really screw up, their kids will still adore them beyond gold. Good or bad, mothers are goddesses of their children’s hearts – just look at all the case examples of terribly abused children that still pine for their mothers; mothers that beat them, burn them with cigarettes and irons, and practically starve them to death.
And society has taught us that mothers are Queen Mothers to be revered, never forgotten – don’t you DARE! forget your mother on Mother’s Day – and held as the ultimate source of love and wisdom because NO ONE will love you more.
And where does that leave Father? – the silent parent continually spoofed as the village idiot bumbling through parenting because he just wants kids to carry on the family name but doesn’t really love them. I mean really, really love them like Mother.
This perception is so sad, and that is why I am sooooo glad that I am not a father. (Sorry to offend anyone but it’s true.)
I didn’t have a loving father figure growing up to protect me and give my mother some relief from the struggles of raising kids so I prayed that when my kids came along that they will have a father around to do all the mythical things like play with them, toss them around, shelter them, and give them someone to look up to – the things that I didn’t have.
And I have seen enough of fathers being dogged by their children’s mothers that it makes me wonder how are children suppose to find a hero at home?
There was a time when Hex was the invisible parent. Back then, the kids would run to me for everything, even when I was inconviently a long distance away while Hex was just within arm’s reach of help. I won at the popularity contest then, but it was so aggravating to see my kids lose out on having a dad – they didn’t see him as a possible source of comfort.
Contrary to what some would regard as failure, the pain and lost of the past year and a half are not without gain. Free from work obligations and the dictates of the clock, Hex was able to spend time observing his children. He saw them all day and night, and saw them for the vunerable spirits that needed his love, care and protection – and especially at times from a stressed out mother.
He evolved into a parent – someone who taught his son how to play chess and beat him. The walks that he spent with his boy and girls, and the two dogs were time encapsuled just for them. Mother wasn’t running the show and her worries weren’t their problems. Their lives were his responsibility.
Then he got creative and began taking them on bike rides and trips without asking Mother for permission. He became the equal parent who just needs to say, “Alexis, the kids and I are going on the railtrail this weekend”, or “I want to take the kids on a roadtrip one day”. He made plans, and decided things for himself and time with his kids. And slowly his children learned that Mother doesn’t hold the universe and Father is not a servant of her dictates. And this is especially important for Basil to see because one day he will might be husband and father, and by then he would have, hopefully, learned that a father cares for his children and not just provides for his children. And a father is entitled to his children’s affections, respect, and time – equal to Mother.
And I don’t know if Hex has been feeling the rewards that’s his to reap. The kids have learned to depend on him and now even expect things of him. Basil gets grouchy and touchy when his dad fails to walk or drive him to school – he’s jealous of this special time and tradition. Violet is rather fond of combing and brushing her dad’s locks of hair – I hope Hex never decides to stop letting his hair grow and cut it short. And Ginger is growing up and out of the baby/ little girl stage. She is exerting independence and right now really needs the good and loving influence of a father – a father that she can respect and see a model of manhood in. The last thing that daughters need is a mother to help them trash the father that will build their image of what a husband/father should be. Hex is a good man and the kids are seeing that.
The biggest test of a parent’s successful bond with his child comes when there’s pain. Basil fell off the diningroom bench this afternoon and really hurt his upper arm. Basil was in deep pain and his cry was alarming. I was only a small distance away, but he chose to run the longer distance into the livingroom to the arms of his dad for comfort. Hex was sitting on the brown coach typing away at the computer when Basil just bounced himself in the crook of his dad’s arm and nestled in. I had followed Basil with concern, but I needn’t be.
The small pang of rejection that I felt was meaningless compared to the significance of what a father means to his son.