I'm not looking for sympathy in doing this. I'm just trying to sort out the major parts of my life as I move into my 65th year of life and beyond. Maybe somebody can learn from reading my story and use it to understand themselves, their kids or somebody they know. I am a firm believer that we can learn from each other.
That's why I'm trying to write a book about being abandoned by my father when I was 18 months old. In 1948, he just walked out on my mother and me and never came back. He vanished and never wrote, called or sent word.
The experience shaped my childhood and left an indelible imprint on who I am today. I have some big scars and that's not a bad thing. They can protect from wounds that never healed completely.
One wound from my background got a new dressing this past week when a half-nephew I never knew I had emailed me and asked me to call him. His mom was a half-sister who I never met. He seemed really happy to learn more about his grandfather, my dad.
How is this all valuable for someone today?
- Parents today, especially dads, have checked out all over the place. They are no-shows in their children's lives. What are the consequences?
- Baby-boomers who span generations born from 1946 to 1964 have had all kinds of spotty experiences with parents, but, especially dads who have checked out of parenthood and are coping with attitudes and emotions that they don't understand and don't want to talk about.
- Single-moms dot our landscape and are dealing alone with responsibilities meant for two fully-engaged parents. They need to understand better how to deal with this.
- Churches, at least in my experience, have stumbled in helping the fatherless and they need some understanding and direction.
It's time for me to write about my story and what I've learned. Can my experiences and the lessons from them help somebody else? If they can then there would be a positive result from being thrown to the curb figuratively by my father.
How am I going to do this?
I need to develop a "Table of Contents" for my book and to do this, I'll use this blog for a brain dump. I'll throw down thoughts, lessons learned and happenings from my personal history with the goal being to share something useful to others.
It may seem disorganized and fragmentary. But my goal is to pull it all together.
I invite comments throughout this effort. Can anybody relate to this need? Anybody have a rugged father experience?
Stay tuned. More to come.