As a child I was amazed by him, but as an adolescent “Father” became quite annoying.
He’d say, “Why are you never home so I can see you?”
And I’d think “Why are you always working and not home?”
But I wouldn’t dare speak my thoughts; I’m not sure if it was fear, respect, or I internalized my feelings; we girls did not “talk back.”
For many years I was certain my birth was bad timing in his life. I heard stories of how he adored and played with Terri and Linda. By the time I came along he was just a serious workaholic (in my view).
Then cute little Patty was born 7 years after me, the joy of my parent’s “old age” (they were all of 39). It was always “Pad and Dad”.
I was a classic middle child as described in Wikipedia (so it must be true; but no disrespect to Wikipedia, who provides a great service):
“Middle child syndrome is the feeling of exclusion by middle children. This effect occurs because the first child is more prone to receiving privileges and responsibilities (by virtue of being the oldest), while the youngest in the family is more likely to receive indulgences. The second child (or middle child) no longer has their status as the baby and is left with no clear role in the family, or a feeling of being ‘left out’. ”
Yup, that was me.
As an adolescent, he and I were aliens. Where he was outgoing, I was shy. I liked my room messy, he threatened to take the door off and fill pillow cases with my stuff. (Funny, years later, I was more organized, and his office was in chaos, maybe due to Lewy?)
I liked to sleep in; he wired a speaker into my bedroom and blasted “Chicken Fat” into my tired ears on Saturday mornings. Chicken Fat!
Even though he was the son of a strong mother, the brother of four amazing sisters and father of four daughters, he was as sexist as the next man in his generation. “Those women-libbers” he would say.
I, on the other hand, embraced women’s rights at an early age. My favorite song was: “I am Woman [hear me roar]” by Helen Reddy. I am Woman
He discovered my Helen Reddy cassette that also contained “I don’t Know How to Love Him” from “Jesus Christ Superstar”. Jesus Christ Superstar was sac-religious in his world view. So he threw out my tape – that made me super-mad!
Sex education – oh no – that was off-limits. He danced around the topic with this statement: “I know how men think!” (Said when he didn’t approve of a blouse or skirt I wore.)
Of course, he never told me how men think.
I have been married 37 years and have two adult sons. I have a clue how men think – at least about THAT topic. But really, Dad, it would have been helpful to have a little more detail! (Hint to you dads out there.)
Did we EVER come to terms with each other? Yes and no as you’ll see in my next blogs.