DCBlogs and the Old Man
After hanging my head for Saturday and Sunday, I woke today to find that DC Blogs had linked my “Perpetual What-Ifs” post. “Fucking excellent…of all the days, and all the posts” I thought. Normally, this would be taken as a tremendous compliment (and thanks to LMNtal for the nod) and cause me to smile because it would mean more readers making more comments that Fiance and I could share when we looked back on this blog from our honeymoon. (And yes, as of this morning, she is still Fiance)
Today, it meant cruel irony.
But a funny thing happened on my way to self pity and head hanging. I actually re-read that post, which I hadn’t done since spell checking it and hitting “Publish” and thought “aren’t you a hypocritical bastard.” Apparently, if I get freaked out and I think about packing my things in the night and running for it…it’s a post. If Fiance does it, it’s the end of the world.
Funny how that works.
Now granted, there is a huge, glaring, differentiator; I needed a prod, she is thinking about getting out. Which leads me to my old man.
My dad was a drunk who skipped town on my mom when I was 7 and Kid Brother was 2. He hightailed it back to Maine to drink and chip away at the good name my family had made for itself over the last 100 years or so. We wouldn’t see all that much of him, except for the times that we would go to Maine to visit our grandparents OR the occasional, unannounced visits to the suburb of Boston I went to HS in, where he would show up drunk and beligerent at one of my games. (Think that scene in Hoosiers…it was ridiculously similar)
Enough of the bad…
Old Man’s done a remarkable 180 years later. He still drinks but it’s nothing like he used to, and we reached out to each other and have a very close bond now. He’s the fuck up dad turned amazing grandfather, I’m the big city bachelor son, and somehow it works. Ironically enough, when I need advice, it’s him I call. It’s a “do as I say, not as I do” sort of thing, and he’s got a gift for reminding me of things that I have a gift for forgetting. Sometimes it’s homespun redneck wisdom (“You aren’t bulletproof no matter what you drive, where you live, or what your W2 says, so don’t be an asshole”) sometimes it’s general (“Son, no one is as hard on you as you are on yourself”) and sometimes it’s bad (“Keep a slush fund”.)
But he’s always willing to share his thoughts with me and because of our past he’s never, EVER presumptuous enough to think that just because he’s selling, I’m buying.
Old Man has met several of the girlfriends I’ve had in my life, and he disliked them all. He’s been known to say when talking about Kid Brother and I; “My youngest son lived like his old man and should’ve been in jail, but saw the error of his ways and changed…now he’s a good man, a fine husband, and a great father. My oldest son is smarter than I was ever smart enough to even comprehend and I’m proud of him too, but he can’t figure out women to save his life. You put the two of ’em together and they’d run the fuckin’ world”
He called which ones were going to be problems and which ones would wind up hurting me the most…who would drive me crazy and who I should never bring home to my mother. And he’s been right every time. Every. Damn. Time.
However…he LOVES Fiance. Loved her within 10 minutes of meeting her and loved us together. He said it has everything to do with how I am with her and how she is with me, my family and my friends. That she’s respectful without being stuffy is a part of it…and that she makes me happier than “I think I’ve ever seen you” is another.
I called him Sunday and told him the whole story. He said that he was “real, real sorry” and then he laughed.
“Son, you can’t blame a 24 year old woman for being a 24 year old woman. Especially not one like Fiance who’s just as smart as you and has the whole world in front of her. I mean, hell…if I’d put you right where she is when you were 24, do you think you’d have skated right up to the alter?”
Old Man has a point, and it’s a really good one that I can’t believe I didn’t think of. AT ALL. I’ve got 10 years of relationships on her. How can I expect our doubts to be handled in the same way? What I see as a bump in the road TODAY, 10 years ago would have been a tidal wave. Score one for pop.
“And son, if you lose her AND I DON’T THINK YOU WILL..but if you do, you are so much better off than you were before she came along. You take better care of yourself and you’re happier in your own life. Everyone can see that, and you should see it, too. It ain’t all bad”
And that’s another great point for Old Man that I just wasn’t really ready to see. And maybe I WOULDN’T see because of a bruised ego. Worst case scenario is that this doesn’t work out…but I’ve had 3 years of this woman making me in to a better man. I only lose that if I CHOOSE to let it go. To take all of the ways my life (not OUR LIFE, but MY LIFE) has improved since Fiance has come in to it and throw it away because I’m hurt would be insane.
That doesn’t mean I’m throwing in the towel. It just gives me a better picture of what I’m fighting for and where I stand if it doesn’t work.
(Old Man and Kid Brother on KB’s wedding day…)