Sunday, June 20, 2010

when you were small

happy father's day

when i was little
i was fierce.
i was stubborn.
boy oh boy
i was bossy.

i often got into
i was punished
a lot.
the phrase
wait until
your father get's home!

was often uttered.
it struck
a chord of deep fear
in the pit
of my stomach.

as i get older
i often wonder
what kind
of parent
i would be.
should i be
a parent at all?
i am
still much
like that little girl
that got into
so much

the young entomologist

parents make
so many mistakes
their children
hold it against
them for
a long long time.
for their whole lives.

that terrifies me.

there was
a duality in my home.
my mother was
the nurturer.
the giver.
she always said yes.
my father was
the punisher.
the enforcer.
he often said no.

needless to say
it was far
more difficult
to get along
with my father
than my mother.

i wonder,
who will i be?
like my mother
like my father?

the older
i get,
the better
i understand
my father's perspective.
as a teacher
i find myself
in the role
of the enforcer,
trying desperately
to prepare
my students
for what's ahead
of them...
so much of it
comes out
of what
i have learned
my own mistakes

and this is why
my father
was so tough on me.

my father
has often said

Fathers try to express their love
by concealing their shyness with gruffness,
as in Kenneth Fearing's
Any Man's Advice to His Son,
written during WWII,
which ends:

I tell you this because I remember you when you were small,
And because I remember all your monstrous infant boasts and lies,
And the way you smiled, and how you ran and climbed, as no one else quite did, and how you fell and were bruised,
And because there is no other person, anywhere on earth, who remembers these things as clearly as I do now.

i often
wish i had
listened better.
that aside, i can
at the very least say
thank you.

happy father's day.

borrowing a tv


kristina - no penny for them said...

i wonder about these exact things often. only i couldn't have put them into words quite as well as you.

emily said...

i worry often about what will be held against me for a long long time. i try. but i know i don't always get it right. not by a longshot.

Isabelle said...

This is interesting. My parents definitely had similar roles ... although I was totally a goody-goody and rarely got into trouble. I like what you say about how you will be as a parent. I am hoping to be a parent soon and I think about it a lot! I guess all we can do is try to take the best of what our parents did and do the same for our kids.

Louis Duke Photography said...

this is beautifully written
and beyond amazing
I love it
and I adore your blog
just keep writing

lisa solomon said...

i think you'll make an amazing parent. because you are so thoughtful.

and yes... we can always say thank you ! isn't it funny how as we get older we really do understand our parents more and more?

Serena said...

It is amazing that you share your thought so beautifully.
It is also amazing that we don't have much difference in this kind of things between different cultures.
I'm Japanese and sometimes I felt almost the same way as you.
Now I'm a mother of 3 boys. I often wonder if I spoiled their willingness or their hope by being bossy to them.
I cannot blame my father although sometimes he was so hard on me.
Love is something beyond our perception.
Thank you so much to share this post. I've been your follower and this is the first time I posted a comment.Your blog is so lovely.

Denise | Chez Danisse said...

Such an interesting contemplation. I still recall those 'wait until
your father get's home!' moments. I recall them clearly. When it comes to parents and their mistakes, I see more forgiveness than resentment. Sometimes I wish my parents had made different choices, but as and adult, I recall all of the good times we've had together most clearly. The mistakes fade into the background.