When I speak to my father it’s much like ‘going through the motions’ of what society expects us both to do. As a father he’s supposed to keep in touch with me and know what I’m doing.
As a thirty-something child, I’m supposed to have ‘gotten over’ childhood hurts and adulthood hurts, matured and accepted my father for what he is.
Were I in possession of the right genitalia, I would’ve been the perfect son, hell, I was the perfect son:
I excelled in highschool varsity sports, helped with renovations, brought home nice girls and got a job and started paying my way when I was 15 years old. I went to university, kept in reasonable touch with the home front and drove my brother to hockey practices.
This difference between who I am and social constructs created a divide of epic proportions between my father and me.
It didn’t have to be if he wasn’t, in his words, “old-fashioned”. This is supposed to be the words that make me accept that he is uncomfortable when I hold my wife’s hand or shave my head or talk about ‘male’ things that I like.
Over the years, since his secret understanding that this is who I am, he has stopped asking about my life and has limited our conversations to the weather and his household projects.
I have to say that this is fine now because I’m sick and tired of “don’t talk about your personal life” or the sudden and not so subtle subject change signalling his clear discomfort.
This is just a part of life, I can wear myself out and fight him every step of the way, every ignorant comment and every awkward silence. Or I can attempt the Buddhist practice of acceptance and compassion of this man.
Again, cultivating patience is always my downfall.
Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. ~Kahlil Gibran