Friday, November 2, 2007


Just heard from my son. As I say, I'm a lucky man. But we make our own luck. He's got a meaningful career plan worked out, that exploits his interests and skills. He's saved a ton of money, and invests it. Makes about 20% average profit. Pretty good. He has a talent.

He mentioned he looked at my blog. That's a bit worrisome. I can get pretty dark here. I don't want him to worry about me. How'd you like to read these things about your own father? A little creepy.

In the first half of the '90s my own father was going through a divorce, and he thought it would be really good for me to read the court documents. His soon-to-be ex-wife and bitter enemy seemed to believe her interests would be served by spelling out to the judge details of their sex life. So now I have those images in my head. Yuck. Double yuck. Eternal and infinite yucks. You see? Even as adults, we want to keep a certain distance, a sense of propriety, within our family unit.

But I can't allow such considerations to inhibit me, here. I've been given cause to believe that a few of the fellas I roll with drop by to peruse these pages once in a while. I can't let that influence what I say. The rants that I sometimes seem to direct their way are not for them. Let's see -- for example I wrote "False Dawn" a few weeks ago. It has a structure and a point that I didn't make explicit, and an intent that wasn't about K or chi. I don't want to spell it out, but I actually did give more than a clue. "If I show you a jokey reflection of my peeves and ruminations, it is not so that you can judge me." I don't expect anyone to read these things carefully, so false impressions can be made. I'm sure K doesn't read FP. But even if he did, I cannot be apologizing for any of it. That would undo the private purpose I have here.

So with my son. I always tried to help him see me as a man, and not just as his father. It wasn't from some need that I had -- it was for him. Dads seem all-powerful. I didn't have a problem apologizing to him, even when he was very small, when I was wrong or unfair -- as we all must sometimes be. He was worth more to me than the ego-gratification of being admired. More than anything, just about, it mattered to me to show him what integrity is.

Now we come to a different level, a different relationship. He is a man, and I have no authority over him anymore. When I did, I took it as a most sacred duty. That duty is discharged, and faithfully. You can see my pride. I earned the right to it. But for all that he is grown and my equal, I am his father, and there is always authority in that. My own father still controls me, in a dark way. I would be light to my son. He knows, and has always known, my loyalty to him, and my moral strength, and my courage. If he glimpses now some of my weakness and folly, well, he knew it was there. Because he was raised with love and patience, he will be loving and patient with me. And as I encouraged him, and still do, he is my encouragement.

We do it from love. From my lifelong brokenness I managed to hold myself together enough to raise an excellent son. I love that about myself. It was just the common duty that every parent has, but it doesn't seem to be as universal as we'd hope. No matter. It's just something else we have to forgive about the world and the people in it. If we can't do that, well, I suppose we'll all have to start blogs in which we can vent our secret pain, all the while hoping no one we know finds out.


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