Father’s Day Family Myths and Mysteries

English: A grandfather teaching his little gra...

Simmering, Vienna, Austria, June 2006. Photo by KF. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My daughters’ paternal family has a very interesting story.  On one side their great-great grandfather shared a name with a South American dictator.  The strange thing about the story however is that he just disappeared one day and was never heard of again, when his son was a child.  He had either one or two children, I’m not completely sure.  Of course he may have had more than that by another woman.

On the other side their great-great grandfather didn’t come into his daughter’s life until after her step-dad died.  At which point he got together with her mother again and they married in their 80′s. He only had one daughter.  They were all Germans who continued to speak the language and grew up on farms.  Unfortunately for this father/grandfather no one is really very fond of him.  He missed out on a lot of his daughter’s life and yet she is in charge of taking care of him now.   She plainly shares that she doesn’t feel very close to him.

On my maternal side Grandaddy…my great-grandfather, was almost a mythical creature to me.  He had 14(or so) children and he died when I was two.  Those who knew him better talk about him with reverence and mystery.  He was beloved.

All of his male children were also great, responsible fathers.  One of his sons was even a foster parent who adopted many of the children he fostered.  Another of his sons (one named after him) had as many (or more) children, except by different women.

My grandfathers are two guys that I’ve only seen a handful of times.   My maternal grandfather was in the hospital a few years ago and called upon my grandmother, who works in the hospital.   Why is he calling now?  Was the question she asked.  He was married with several children from several women and really couldn’t be bothered to keep up with his children or grandchildren, even in adulthood.

My dad is a lot better.  He has tried to keep in touch with me, and he’s seen my daughters several times.  We have had our rough patches, but it was mostly in building closeness in my younger years, and now there is a great sense of comfort.  I spent many summers with him as a child and then in middle school I stayed a year and a half.  That ended badly and I didn’t see him for awhile but I spent a year and half in high school as well.

If there ever comes a time when my dad needs me, I don’t think I’ll have a problem helping him out.  Even if just to lend him an ear or some comfort.  He is honest with me and he listens and reaches out and that is all that matters.  He has also helped me out with money and plane tickets at times, but what really creates a strong relationship is the emotional response that we share.

Now that I am not with my daughters’ father anymore I think about this a lot.  What will it mean to them and what will it mean to him?  The biological men in his family have all abandoned their children, (though a few came back later) and he doesn’t feel very close to his step-dad.

I think about a lot of fathers out there who don’t even know what their kids look like and what they’re really missing out on, by avoiding their role as a father.  All you really need to do is try and you will build a relationship with your children, no matter what you do.  As long as you keep putting in the work to connect emotionally to your children, be honest, be supportive, it will pay off in the long run.  Being a dad is not about paying child support, or giving your children gifts.  Some parents are there with their children everyday and they are still emotionally abandoned.  Don’t do that.

Reach out to your kids with honesty or you’ll become another family myth or mystery.

Hope Renewed, Picking Up The Pieces After Loss, GIVEAWAY ENDS MAY 25TH

hope renewed

Hope Renewed by Christy Lowry  Christy Lowry is a mom who lost her eighth grade daughter in 1983.  She wrote her first book titled PAM after her daughter.  She has a BA in History from Cal State at Long Beach … Continue reading

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Changing Our Everyday

Welcome to the March Mindful Mama Carnival: Mindful Mama Challenge

This post was written for inclusion in the Mindful Mama Carnival hosted by Becoming Crunchy and TouchstoneZ. This month our participants have challenges they’ve set for themselves toward becoming more mindful. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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I am challenging myself this month to become more mindful of my environment and the way I live day to day. I know my kids and I have made a big adjustment moving to the other side of the country recently and I want to be sure there is a feeling of comfort and that we are living efficiently enough to achieve our goals. Mainly things are out of place in our lives right now. There is no continuity in anything. I’m probably exaggerating there, but I really want there to be more of a routine, more for my kids(and myself) to depend on.

Right now, we don’t really know any other kids. There are some kids in the neighborhood, but when we go outside they’re going inside or they’re just too old for my kids to play with. It would be nice to have playdates or attend some kind of play-oriented class or program at the library.
We’re also struggling with space in my mom’s house. Our closet is filled up with my mom’s things. I tried to store our thing in containers, but there’s nowhere to put them that the kids can’t reach, and when they reach them they make a mess of everything. I’m constantly changing where our things go and it is because I haven’t come up with a sustainable system.

On that same topic, we don’t really have any clothes for warm weather. My mom has a ton of clothes she is holding onto that she can’t wear and I think it would be great to try to recycle her clothing rather than buy new clothes for myself and my daughters. I have a great little sewing machine that I left here years ago, and maybe it would do me some good to express to my mom my ideas about minimalism and non-consumerist values, which are coming into play between her and my oldest daughter.

Which brings me to my next goal; entertainment for my kids really needs to change. My mom and aunt recently bought my 4 year old Barbie dolls. They come with these little sheets of paper that have pictures of several other dolls in that series and my daughter whines non-stop about the other dolls she wants.

I know that despite my goals of showing her what is really important in life and that she doesn’t need these things, her environment will have a big effect on how she really feels about it. I need to engage her in new, creative and adventurous things. I don’t want her to fasten onto the idea of buying stuff, I want her to learn to create and appreciate what she has.

I think that keeping a schedule of activities to do regularly, field trips and surprise activities, and free play will help a lot. I also think I need to organize their toys better and put them into sections. I need to limit her to playing with a few things at a time, and take toys away when they become a problem, bringing them out later after the novelty has died down.

Lastly I really want to make the most of my time. This is a temporary situation, living with my mom again. I want to get memorable and transformational moments out of this. I don’t want to be passive aggressive and upset that things aren’t going my way and my parenting philosophies aren’t being accepted. I need to set an example.

Instead of being upset that the TV is on all the time, I need to set up a fun activity, engage my mom with the things we have in common, like scrapbooking, and get us all in a space to create, support and get to know each other better. I need to allow my kids to feel comfort in their surroundings and I need to feel like this is my home too, however temporary it may be, I need to allow myself to enjoy it, I need to grow while I am here and not feel stunted due to the change in household.

I have already started on this challenge by talking to my mom and my daughter about having a more active, creative lifestyle and I’m currently setting several alarms a day to make sure we stay on track, meet our goals and have planned activities. I think I’m on a path to really transforming as a parent, not just in this situation, but for the long-term. The perceived limitations I face here are making me stronger, more appreciative and more organized.

 

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The Astrology Reading That Changed Me…

mynum

I’ve been very close to losing my faith in humanity.  Not all of humanity, just most… In general, I’m not really that kind of person, I’m usually positive, loving and see the good in everyone or almost everyone.  And it’s … Continue reading

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