today my mom told me that when i was little, she used to run an informal daycare at home to make a little extra money. my dad worked for fisheries so he was away for about a month at a time but when he came home, he told her he didn’t want her doing the daycare thing because it was a nuisance to him. she told him to get stuffed, that the neighbours were already depending on her so even if she was going to stop doing it (which she wasn’t), she’d have to give them lots of notice. my dad’s response was to lock mom and all kids out of the house all day long.
i couldn’t believe it when i heard that story. i wondered if mom was exaggerating, and if the truth would be a little less damning to my father, but then i remembered that i personally witnessed him having enraged tantrums, ranting and raving like a wild man, and kicking chairs into walls. he clearly had some anger and control issues so maybe there is something to my mom’s story.
sort of similarly, tyrone told me that back when he was a kid, his dad bought a really nice big toy fire truck for ty or one of his siblings for christmas. ty’s dad wrapped the thing up but eventually decided it was too nice to give to his kids so he kept the toy in the christmas wrapping paper in his closet. and it’s still there in the wrapping paper today, 30 years later. that’s insane.
to me, those are both examples of extremely odd behaviour that both my dad and ty’s dad should be embarrassed of. ty said his dad just laughs it off whenever anyone brings the fire truck up and doesn’t actually address it. my dad totally denies ever losing his temper, even though there are still marks in his house where he put the chair through the drywall and had to repair it. my dad and ty’s dad should each be able to say, “yeah, that was weird/uncool of me. i can admit it now,” but they can’t. 30 years later, they’re still either ignorant of or in denial about certain aspects of themselves. that bothers me.
i want to be hyper self-aware. i try to constantly ask myself why i’m doing any of the stuff i’m doing. when i realize i’m doing something i’m not proud of, i try to acknowledge it and change my behaviour. of course, i’m not saying “my dad was a dickhead but i’m an amazing, great person. where’s my award?” but i do think i’m more self-aware than he is. and i wonder if that’s a generational thing, like if my generation is more focused on mental health and acknowledging feelings and root causes of our actions, or if this is the same thing that every kid thinks about their parents. i don’t know but i somehow feel pretty confident it’s a generational thing. i feel like the further back you go, the more people had a head-in-the-sand, “because i say so” approach to dealing with people and problems. so as much as i hate all the annoying touchy-feely bullshit that is ubiquitous these days, i have to admit there are benefits to being more in touch with feelings.
i want to ask my dad about locking mom and the daycare kids out of the house but am not sure i want to open that can of worms. i don’t want to make him feel bad for something dumb he may or may not have done 35 years ago.