which father?

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[caveat: this is not a happy post, but it is a true one]
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I tend to fill empty spaces with fathers.

Before the empty spaces there was *Daddy*
scary. angry. funny. strict. beer breath. cigarette staleness. "i'll spank you if you ride your trike without a top on i don't care how hot it is." [to myself: "i will be perfect. i will never do anything wrong ever again. no one will ever spank me because they won't have a reason. i will be perfect."] mommy crying. mommy can't hear out of her ear anymore because he hit her too hard. "i am not a babysitter." "i love you darlin'."call me dr. kimball" [to myself: i am not good enough."] "here's a check for $1,000. you must use it carefully. please consider eloping." i know he loved me, yes, but he is gone now.

Then there was **Uncle Simon**
frenchman. martinique. red boat call *carribe*. fishing in the gulf of mexico. funny. teasing. laughter. easy. yummy steaks. cigarettes but not so stale. diplomatic license plates. park anywhere we want. red wine on ice. endive. salad after dinner. french and english and spanish at the dinner table. interesting guests from around the world. i sit with the grownups. loves me. likes me. kiddotheweimamaar with soft fur and gray eyes. drives me places. books. books. books. photography class together. buys me minolta slr. loves me. i am not afraid. i love him. [to myself: he is not like *Daddy*.] goes too soon.

And then, ***Father Moudry***
this is what all priests should be like. i meet him once and he always remembers my name. and my children's' names. "we are sorry for any bad things happened. you are welcome back." everyone is welcome here. every sermon is spellbinding. so humble. so wise. not scary. makes me think. loves me. helps me understand complicated things. please don't retire. [to myself: "what will i do now?"]

And then there is *****Ron*****
everything a father should be. funny. smart. kind. gentle. teacher. builds things with wood. gardens. goes on adventures. looks at me. listens. sees the good. really knows me. encourages me. believes in me. likes to go out to eat breakfast tacos. can speak in spanish. sees me as smart. likes me. likes my company. others love him. takes care of himself. "yes, i have considered your request and i will "adopt" you." my other father now. he is perfect. my heart swells. ilovelovelovelovelovehim.  cancer. [to myself: nononononono not him. he's the one.]

In between
atticus finch. mentors. teachers. imagination.

And now
empty again. position open until filled. [to myself: maybe am i too old now to fill the fatherspace?] do i still need one? i want one. at least i am not alone.
and i am good at hope.
i can hope
i hope.


Janie said…
Wonderful post, Kathleen. There are so many kind of fathers, and not all are good.
My father was a decent man, but distant in many ways. I don't think I ever knew him well. I love seeing my husband's relationship with our kids, which is so different and special. They're lucky to have him.
Erin Davis said…
Oh, Kathleen. Wonderful post. Brought tears to my eyes. I think we yearn for a father at any age, and I think another one will come your way in one form or another. Beautiful, real contemplation on the role (good and bad)fathers play in our lives and how the universe sends them in various shapes and forms and different times.
steven said…
kathleen this is such a brave, open, truthful, and yes difficult post to read - and perhaps for you to share. thankyou. steven
Hilary said…
very beautiful and brave of you to share this. Hugs to you.

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