In advance of Father’s Day this Sunday, a few members of the PostBourgie crew (also known as The Grape Drink Mafia) got together to discuss our relationships with our dads and how they’ve evolved (or not) over the years. As we chatted, a theme seemed to emerge: the older we get, the more objective we’ve become about our upbringings. Indeed, in cases where our relationships with our dads were fraught growing up, they’ve either improved or, at the very least, our hurt, disappointment or bewilderment has mellowed with age.
After becoming a parent myself, I certainly began to view my own parents in a different light. This seems to be a fairly common practice. I was 30 when my daughter was born. My father was 22 and my mother, 19 when they had me. Parenthood is hard enough when you’re into a career with a couple degrees under my belt. I’m fairly sure I wouldn’t have been great at it ten years earlier.
In some cases, it’s easier to read the shortcomings of our fathers with greater magnanimity when we’re old enough and removed enough to understand they were doing the best they could at whatever age and under whatever circumstances they started parenting.
Read our team’s reflections and post your own.
Justin Charity: A couple months back, for the first time in nearly four years, I called my dad. We talked. Eventually I consented to him showing up at my house three days later, on a Saturday afternoon. I cooked us lunch, and for four hours we chatted as if it were entirely unremarkable that we hadn’t seen each other for more than a thousand days–as if we’d simply forgotten to pick up the phone.
I spent an hour cooking that lunch: lamb with zataar, pita, some bum-ass feta I’d bought from a farmer’s market, complement sauces, etc etc. Why I felt the need to flex on some Bourdain steez was unclear to me then, but necessary. It was the most gracious thing I could think to do, and that I’ve likely ever done for dude, at least since 1998. Which maybe speaks to my maturity in that meantime more than I’d like to concede.
Then he left. We still text. When my sister’s dog died a few weeks ago, I informed my dad via text. He answered in two parts, the second text being, “Damn I never did like that dog.”
Brokey McPoverty: [Re: Father’s Day], I’m kind of indifferent about it. I definitely don’t hold it in the same vein of importance as I do Mother’s Day, which probably makes sense since I was raised by my mom, and my dad was only halfway in my life until I was around 22, 23. maybe 24, 25.
I have no ill will toward my dad, though we have a very formal father/daughter relationship, at least on my end. He’s a really, really sweet, proud, and loving father. He gets extra geeked when I show him any kind of lovey-dovey expression (He still brings up an e-card i sent him for his birthday like five years ago, lol). But for me, while I mean my expressions of love, they feel very deliberate and… awkward almost. It’s just a very structured relationship on my end. I feel bad for it. I love him very, very much, but when it comes to parental celebration days, I guess I feel like I have more to thank my mother for than I do my dad.
My dad and I turned a corner right before his second divorce. It actually started with my mom… not me. When things with his second wife started going south, the person he would call and vent to was my mom. How’s that for irony? Anyway, I started making a bigger effort to call and talk to him from that point. We spend more time together if my brother is also here, but we seem to have his an equilibrium in our relationship that we’re both comfy with for now.
Melissa (feministtexican): Father’s Day is a mixed bag at our house. I’ll sarcastically ask my siblings if they’ve called daddy yet, and they’ll come back with some equally sarcastic remark (yes, we’re bitter). He was always in our lives; my parents were married 33 or 34 years before they divorced, and by all outward appearances, he was the coolest dad ever. But he’s manipulative and emotionally abusive, and my brother and I have had nothing to do with him for about three years. My sister goes back and forth, but I think she’s also done with him now.
slb: When I moved to Michigan for four years, I lived in the same city as my father for the first time ever. I grew up a few hundred miles away from him and saw him during some summer and winter breaks. When I first moved to his town, I told him I wanted to get together and talk. We talked. I said I wanted to get to know him better. He said he was glad, but there wasn’t much more to know. I think he’d always felt like we were in a good place, that I knew him well enough and that we were close enough.
Does any of this sound familiar to you? Tell us about your own evolving relationships with your dads.