My most recent post talked about the raising of my children. But after re-reading it, I found I made a serious omission. I made it appear that as long as I was home our family strongly resembled an episode of Father Knows Best. For those readers younger than dirt, that was a family sitcom many years back where the whole family merrily laughed their way through so-called family problems, with gushy gushy love smothered like butter on a hot biscuit. Like many sitcoms of the day, family life was a Utopia. Believe me, our family life was far from that.
As I said in my last post, my first wife and I had three children, the first two were boys, the last, a girl. Looking back I still remember the first words uttered by each. Ricky, the first-born’s first words were “I’m bored.” I didn’t realize it at the time but he wanted a sister or brother to argue with. And he got his wish. The second child, Robbie’s first words were, “Ricky just hit me!” A surprising collection of first words at such a young age. And our last, my daughter Melissa’s first words were, “I don’t know which one did it, but Robbie or Ricky hit me, so paddle them both!” Melissa, bless her tattle-tailing heart, held back until she was certain her collection of words were clearly understood. Okay, maybe that wasn’t their first words. But it seems those were the words, or those along the same incriminating lines, that stood out best in my memories. To put it bluntly, peace and quiet in our home was rare. The best way to describe the communication between my children is to say, “If a kind word was shit, and my children each had a mouth full, on an average day they would rather swallow every last morsel before they would allow any to pass their lips.” I may be over exaggerating, but, believe me, not by much.
In my last post I touted how well my children minded me. That was true, except when it came to fighting amongst themselves. I tried everything short of dawning a white hockey mask and wielding a bloody chain saw. Nothing worked. Without hesitation they would stubbornly walk to the abyss of corporal punishment rather than choose sibling peace.
Looking back I have my reasons why I believe my children fought so frequently, but I will keep those thoughts to myself. But I can remember times that I cursed the day that I didn’t have a vasectomy after impregnating my wife the first time.
So from depicting myself as a wise father in my last post, this post brings into stark reality how mortal I really was. Today my two sons get along when together, as long as they are not together for too long. My daughter, on the other hand, gets along famously with both. Go figure!
In closing, I hope this shows I am no family guru. There were times I really was at a loss. I believe inherited genes sometimes dictate our children’s personalities, with our input having limited consequences. But for me that is now neither here nor there. When it comes to raising children, good or bad, I am now retired and have left the building.