King Rat (gkr) wrote,
King Rat

Mixed feelings

I don't celebrate holidays, especially made up Hallmark holidays like Father's Day. If a father is worth celebrating, he should be celebrated throughout the year. Of course, I have to admit my antipathy to holidays is related to the fact that at any celebration or party, I start to feel edgy and irritable within minutes of arriving.

Nevertheless, I am going to write something about my fathers here, and about my family in general.

MY name is Philip Andrew Weiss. My mother is married to Andrew Bender. My biological father was George Weiss. I wasn't abandoned (intentionally) or the victim of a neglectful father or divorce. George Weiss died December 4th 1972. I was two, and my brother Dan wouldn't be born until the next month.

Mom remarried, and 3 more kids followed. I never was adopted or took his name because my mother wanted to keep the family name alive, perhaps under pressure from the Weiss side of the family. I'm somewhat glad, although I have no great love for the name Weiss and having this branch of Weiss die wouldn't really bother me. My father didn't treat me all that well. He was resentful. Maybe because I wasn't his. Maybe because I didn't have to work on the farm like he did. Maybe because I was smarter than he. Maybe because I wasn't grateful for all his hard work.

I had no expressions of love from him. I grew up scared of him. Frequently angry, and even sometimes physically abusive toward me in his discipline. I was paddled hard. I was made to kneel on gravel or asphalt bare-kneed. I was grounded. Etc. etc. I wasn't a particularly rebellious kid, but in my parents world, obey was the operative word. Kids will be kids. That frustrated my mother mostly, and made my dad angry.

As a side note, I have no general philosophical objection to paddling by parents. However, I will never paddle a child. To be brought to that point will indicate to me my failure. Perhaps in another entry I'll write about my thoughts on parenting methods I would want to use.

I don't blame my father for how he treated me. He is a product of his upbringing and isn't the type to change himself. Being raised in rural North Dakota, with little money and lots of work, his father was distant and primarily the disciplinarian in the child rearing. Children were seen and not heard. They did their chores. They worked. They didn't sass.

I love my father. One of my greatest moments was when he allowed me to borrow his truck after I sobered up. It indicated to me that I was a worthwhile human being in his eyes. I certainly would have been one whether or not he agreed, but it's nice to know that. He knows how to relate to adults. He knows how to relate to little children that aren't his. Older children and those belonging to him, no clue. Actually raising children puts him in unfamiliar territory. I think he is relieved that I became an adult. It took the onus from him, and in addition he can treat me in a way he understands.

Given my druthers I'd want to have been raised very differently. But I've never been given them, so I've put my upbringing in the past as far as blame goes. I have a large capacity for forgiveness. And anyway, who knows how a different upbringing would have affected me? I am a product of it, and one thing I've come to believe is that spilt milk is best cleaned up.


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