Fathers vs Dads

Boy, today was a long day.  My boys are going to camp this summer for the first time ever.  There’s a program called Operation Purple that offers free camps for children of military families, with special consideration for those with a parent who is deployed, and both boys were accepted into separate camps.  I’m a little scared about them being all alone away from ME for a week each, but looking forward to not having to pull them off of each other to keep them from fighting for at least two weeks of the summer.  Because there is a focus on athletics with these camps, they had to have a physical to make sure they’re healthy enough.  Soooo that meant a drive to Rochester, which is about an hour drive.  Long story, but their doctor is located there instead of in our town.

It isn’t a bad drive, Rochester’s a nice town, and there are some “regular” places we like to go when we are there.  There’s a diner almost across the street from the clinic, and the boys always ask to go.  So we ate lunch there, cracking each other up the whole time.  I swear, my youngest son has great comedic timing, and my oldest son can just be goofy as all get out.  There’s also a little boutique-type shop called “Flirt” that I like to look around in (the boys stayed in the car and listened to Disturbed.  I found a couple of little things, including something for My Fireman (shhhhhhhhhh, it’s a secert) and some tissues with nuns on them that say “bless you.”  D’OH, I should’ve gotten some for ETW! 

Little J was tired by the time we got back in the car to go home.  He’d spent the night with one of his friends, and hadn’t gone to bed at his normal time.  I was hoping he’d nap in the car, but he only fell asleep for about five minutes, so by the time we got home he was super cranky.  I had to go to the post office, so I suggested maybe they write a letter to send their dad.  They haven’t sent him anything since he’s been overseas, and I have a huge envelope full of pictures for him, but I’ve been waiting to send them till they had something from THEM to add.  Here was the conversation we had:

Me:  Why don’t you write Dad a letter so I can mail those pictures to him when I go?

Him:  I don’t have anything to say.

Me:  You can’t think of ANYTHING to say to your dad???

Him:  No.

Me:  Little J, you know you’re dad is overseas and I think he’d appreciate a letter from you.

Him:  But I just sent him an email!

Me:  It’s different!  You haven’t seen him in a long time, and it’d be nice if you’d do this.

Him:  (under his breath) Yeah, I haven’t seen him in a long time because of you.

Me:  I told you to never say that to me again, go to your room right now!


So…he was in his room for a little while, and in the meantime I went to the post office to mail what I had to mail, minus the envelope for Douche. 

Part of me wants to MAKE them write a letter, part of me thinks that I shouldn’t.  Douche hasn’t been a “dad” to them since he left two years ago, and I get angry just thinking about how he feels entitled to their attention.  Buuut, I also know that he must be having a rough time over there, so of course, I feel like I should do something.  Goddammit!  I know that I don’t owe him anything, so why am I feeling guilty?!?!

When I was out and about today, I saw something that said, “anyone can be a father, but it takes a special man to be a dad.”  I’ve heard it before, and always knew it was true, if a little trite.  When I laid down to take a little nap after getting home, I couldn’t get this phrase out of my head.  It seems so unfair that my boys don’t have a dad.  They had a dad for 11 and 7 years, respectively, and then they just didn’t.  I don’t often dwell on this, because to be honest, I did most of the heavy lifting with the kids, even when I was married.  However, he was there to do sports with them and rough-house, and do boy things with. 

I know that they’ll be able to look up to my Fireman as a role model, and that makes me feel good (and lucky).  Last night, I took Big J to the station where FM was working on his new truck.  Big J said he wanted to work on the truck, too, but we had to leave.  At that moment, I had  visions of my boys having someone to teach them all the things a man should know, and I couldn’t think of a better person.  He’s the best dad I’ve ever known, including my own, which is saying a lot.

11 Responses to “Fathers vs Dads”

  1. 1 Karen May 16, 2009 at 8:44 pm

    You are a good person. No matter how much of douche he is, he is still deployed and does deserve mail. I am not sure I would be as considerate as you.

  2. 2 Ron May 17, 2009 at 4:01 am

    It’s nice that you try to do things for Douche to keep the boys in touch with their father. I believe that nobody just “deserves” anything due to a job. Sure you can respect what a soldior, policeman or firefighter does in general, but does that entitle them to love? A person should be a good person to be worthy of love not entitled to it because they chose a dangerous profession. I have problems with people that chose a line of work and then feel that since they are in that line of work that they deserve things they haven’t really earned.

  3. 3 Penelope May 17, 2009 at 5:33 am

    Ugh I really feel for you on this one. All I know is that by always trying to do the right thing (get the boys to write to their Father) then you can’t go too far wrong.
    The boys won’t appreciate most of this stuff for years yet, but one day they will be grown ups, Dad’s themselves and so much will come clear.
    *hugs to you*

  4. 4 Evil Twin's Wife May 17, 2009 at 1:36 pm

    These days, kids consider email the same thing, so don’t feel too guilty over the no letter thing. Hang in there! You are doing the right thing – even if it’s hard right now.

  5. 5 gingermagnolia May 18, 2009 at 6:07 am

    Karen – I’m not so sure I’d be as considerate if I had to deal with him regularly like some other women/men have to deal with their exes. I just have this need to treat others the way I’d like to be treated. Ugh.

    Ron – I’ve had this discussion A LOT. I sometimes get so angry when people just assume that soldiers (or other uniformed people) are “good people” because they serve. Yes, it is a tough job, but Douche only signed up because we had a young child and he wasn’t educated. It was the only way he could think to support his child. Then, it was the only thing he could do because he had no other skills/knowledge. It’s never been about serving his country. EVER. And he is in no way, shape, or form what I would classify as a “good person.” He is a fake. Whew.

    Penelope – That’s what I keep telling myself!

    ETW – Thanks. Once I wrote about it, I didn’t feel so guilty anymore, but I’m still gonna try to get them to do it.

  6. 6 lola May 18, 2009 at 12:31 pm

    Yeah, an e-mail works for me, too. If you send him the photos, I’m sure that’s more than enough to make you a saint. If the boys only want to e-mail him, I say no big deal.

  7. 7 Bitchy McBitherson May 19, 2009 at 11:37 am

    Hi, Ginger! My name is Trisha aka Bitchy McBitcherson. I found you through Ron and wanted to introduce myself. I have given you an award at my page. Cheers!

  8. 8 ms. bliss May 20, 2009 at 2:09 am

    you are doing all you can and your boys will see this in time…hugs to you mama!

  9. 9 honeywine May 20, 2009 at 4:35 pm

    It’s really wonderful to meet the guy who isn’t “trying” to be a dad but just is. It’s like a switch flips and you suddenly realize, “They either are a good guy or they aren’t; they shouldn’t have to try.”

  10. 10 gingermagnolia May 21, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    Lola – That’s me, St. Ginger of the Douchbags.

    Bitchy – Thanks for reading, and thanks for the award!

    Bliss – I hope so, because right now, it sucks!

    Honey – It is wonderful. He is all sorts of good things without trying, and I realize I’m pinching myself a lot because it’s so different.

  1. 1 Daddies « Names Have Been Changed….. Trackback on June 21, 2009 at 1:13 pm

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