Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Father's Day - The Emotional Roller-coaster Ride of Manhood

Go over to the Spin Cycle. Topic is Father's Day.  Enjoy all the great reads.

Father's Day was a hoot. I know of five arguments that broke out that day. Some serious, some not so serious, but it made for a really weird weekend. It emphasized how stressed out everyone is, especially the men in the family.

I feel sorry for guys sometimes. I was brought up in the "knight in shining armor" era, a fantasy held by many young women of my age. While my man was courting me, I fell in love with him because he was funny, brilliant, and talented. He did so many things well. Maybe that's why I thought he could fix anything and everything. Geez, wasn't he a husband and dad, a man ready to take on all problems and solve them.

Men come home to the news that a pipe busted, the refrigerator stopped working, the car broke down, or the sewer backed up. Then all eyes in his loving family look to him to fix it.

"What do you mean you don't know what you are doing? You're A Man."

And if you don't have the extra cash to pay for large repairs, men will get down and dirty and learn by doing, bitching and swearing all the way, coming up for air, red-faced, venting about the hour they just spent trying to dislodge a part that just won't budge.

We learn that they are as vulnerable and as fallible as we are. When reality pushed my fantasy aside, I realized we were in it together.  Together sounded good, fair and even empowering. How fair was it for me to think he could fix everything that went wrong in my life, just because he was the lead man in the family?

I realized that most men are really just the boys their mamas and daddys raised. Men need their women just as much as women need their men. In the beginning, we are all just inexperienced grown up kids before we become wise old farts.

Father's Day is usually a very nice day with events celebrating all the dads in our family. This weekend was an exception. It was a very weird weekend.

My brother-in-law picked a fight with my sister because, well, it was Father's Day.

My other brother-in-law picked a fight with my other sister, because, it was Father's Day.

My mother-in-law and her son, my husband, exchanged a few heated words. It was about to become a full emotional blow out but luckily cooler heads prevailed when the subject was changed. They let it go.

I thought I was going to have an argument with my hubby, when I told him he should apologize to his mum. But he would have nothing to do with it. He refused to budge on his position and I really couldn't argue with him, because he was basically right. Argument averted. Yeah.

My brother-in-law tried again and decided to pick a fight with the rest of his extended family via email accusing us of not doing enough in the care of our elders. We did not take the bait.

As my generation gets older, new responsibilities begin to emerge. As our parents age or pass away, sons everywhere are endowed with the title of Head of the Family. It's is a hard one to resolve sometimes, I suspect. I also suspect that the enormity of that bring men in any family down.

For some, this is the first year without their dads.

Several with mothers with latter stages of depression, Alzheimer's, and lung disease. Without adequate funds and no females family members, it's sometimes hard to cope emotionally with the highly personal task of caregiver and all that the job entails. They are stuck and want to escape, but can't.

So Father's Day, a day celebrating men and fatherhood. This particular Father's Day was a day full of problems with the women in their lives. They don't want the title of being patriarch of the family, that belonged to their dear departed fathers. There is a lot of guilt, stress and melancholy when dealing with their moms. They have to step in and take over the roles of their fathers, becoming their mothers' advocates, care-giver, financial advisor, and sometimes, her companion.

Stressed out fathers? Yes.
Feel like celebrating Father's Day today.  No.


Julie from Momspective said...

Behind every powerful man is a woman telling him how bad they're screwing up :)

Jim Styro said...

Is it wrong for me to feel a lot better about my (completely uneventful) Father's Day after reading your post? Sorry there was/is so much drama for the men in your life. This too shall pass. I will keep a good thought in mind for your family (as always).

Jim Styro said...

PS: Your Father's Day sounds like the Mother's Day I went through this year...

Sprite's Keeper said...

Wow, that's a lot of drama in one day! (Kind of perfect for the next Spin, huh? :-)
I have taken that stance that if something goes wrong in the home, John should fix it, but last night, he needed my help with the water system, I stepped up, and together, we got it done without arguing about it. I felt so damn proud of us after. I think I will stick my hand in more often on this kind of thing so he doesn't feel like it all falls on him.
You're linked!

Captain Dumbass said...

I think Father's Day should just be skipped, it's far too stressful.

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