Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Being A Dad

If I could go back and change anything in my life, it would be the way I acted as a father. I must confess that, while I tried my best, I often think my kids could have done a lot better in the Dad department. This doesn't mean I think I was a bad father, or that my kids were hard done by. I just know that my relationship with them, to this day, is tainted by things I did when they were young and struggles we had when they were teenagers.

The strange thing is that throughout my life I have, first and foremost, defined myself as a Dad. Even to this day, if you ask me what my life has been about, it has been about my kids, doing right by them, helping them, being there for them when they needed me. I wanted to be the kind of Dad that my kids would call when they were in trouble, no matter what that trouble was. I wanted to be the kind of Dad who my kids could come to for advice, guidance, counsel. I wanted to be the kind of Dad my kids trusted.

There is no doubt in my mind that my children love me. I know that they care for me, and about me. I am honoured by they way the have helped me so much in dealing with what life has given me lately. I am also saddened that I was not as much of a Dad to them as they wanted, as much as I wanted to be.

Ultimately my goal as a Dad was to provide a home where they were safe, a home with plenty to eat and warms beds to sleep in, a home where they were happy to invite their friends over, a home where the could grow up knowing that if they screwed up, there was always another chance. I failed to reach all of these goals all of the time, but I like to think, even perhaps lie to myself, that I reached them most of the time.

I miss my children these days, a lot. Kate is here in Calgary and I simply cannot get enough time with her. She is a busy career woman with a life of her own. She tries to see me at least twice a week. I plan my weekly schedule with her in mind, wanting to be sure that I can be there when she is. Ricky, Meaghan, and Mary all live down on the coast. They are quick to remind me that I am the one who moved to Calgary; they're right, I did.

I wish I could be in both places at once, but these days I have to stop thinking like a Dad and start thinking like a man who needs medical and community care. Calgary is the best place in the country to live if you have ALS, and I have no doubt that my longer life has a lot to do with that. But I will never stop being a Dad, thinking like a Dad. I will always want to live up to those standards which I set for myself and yet failed to reach. I love my kids.


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    1. Good thing you moved. It sounds like you love your apartment and neighborhood. It's also convenient.

      Your kids would make the same choice. Maybe they can't see it now, saying you made the decision to move. But if it was them, they would have chose Calgary, too.

      Plus, I think once the kids get old enough, as they are now, it's time to try to make compromises for the parents.

      Yes, because you raised them.

  2. Lucille, our family has generations in BC on both sides of the family. We have our OWN children and support networks now. We can understand and acknowledge why Dad moved (divorce, friends, good medical network) while simultaneously knowing that the same move is not right for our families, spouses or careers. One does not negate the other.

    1. So true, Mary, and thank you for saying that. I, in no way, am looking for you kids to give your lives up for mine. I hope my blog post didn't imply that. I was trying to say that being here is now the right thing for me, even though I wish I could still be there with you. And I am tremendously grateful that Kate is here. I love you, and Meaghan, and Kate, and Ricky.

    2. I know it's the right thing for you too :) I can't imagine the level of support being the same if you were in BC, in spite of a few of us being closer.

      I didn't get the message that you wanted us to uproot ourselves. My take away was just more factual. We can't see each other more simply because of the distance. It is what it is.

      As I said though, seeing you will be much more feasable when we move back to the mainland next year <3