All fathers have that moment where we look at our flesh and blood, our progeny, our namesakes, the Fruit of our proverbial loins and realize that we are saying EXACTLY what someone said to us and that they are the living embodiment of that longstanding unarguable curse of childhood:
We ultimately raise the very children we were.
When I met TFMI (The Former Mrs. Inkognegro) on our first date, I told her outright that there was one thing I was completely unwilling to compromise on. My first born son WOULD carry on my name. As a Junior myself, it was a non-negotiable condition of our relationship.
On October 14, 1998, as a result of the most smooth labor episode in the anecdotal history of Holy Cross Hospital (Labor began at 5:15am, water broke at 7:45am checked in the Pital at 9:22am, Time of Birth: 9:37am, all natural, no cuts)
It was almost as though I spit him out.
I vowed I would never leave him like my father did me. He was too much like me to have to go through life by himself. I knew his mother wouldn’t understand him. She didn’t understand ME…and I was GROWN. She loves him like her first born, because he is. But the same things about ME that made her crazy (and rightfully so) REEEEEALLY make her crazy when he does it.
But of course…Those who do not learn from their history are condemned to repeat it. I was already doomed; on the path to repeat the same mistakes my father made 27 yrs before:
- Find yourself parlaying your job into a plethora of unfulfilling relationships
- Realize that you actually want more than that
- Decide you want to settle down
- Meet, woo, court and marry the next woman you meet.
- Decide you don’t children right away and then IMMEDIATELY procreate
- suddenly find yourself married and parenting with someone who loves you, but doesn’t like the person you really are
- sabotage the marriage in an effort to chase down your own journey of self-discovery at the expense of growing your marriage.
So, Three years later, just on the heels of potty training and just after the birth of his little brother. Daddy left. Didn’t go far, but gone all the same.
My father didn’t go FAR. At first. First it was across town. then a few states away….then cross country. Chasing something. Anything. finding nothing but Distance and regret.
I did benefit from growing through those years with my father. I see 3.0 often enough to stay reminding him that Daddy knows what he’s going through. Sure as I sit here, I know what they future can hold for him. Good and bad. All about the choices. And not just the ones that HE makes, but the ones that I make too.
My father died when he was 51. I was the only child he had. Seven Wives. One child.
I was 29 when he passed away of an aneurysm on the side of the road in Southern California, his home for 20 years. I had spent 1992 and 93 with him…as his roommate and assistant. I believe it was one of his NON-wives that ultimately sabotaged our relationship at the time. This apparently was why she was a NON-wife. Ironically enough, my father told me (two wives later) that my presence could have MADE her a wife. Her jealousy of my presence made her a non-non wife.
My Uncle (on dad’s side) came to MD and flew with me to LA to Bury my father. It was the last time I ever saw my uncle. The last time I saw anyone on my father’s side. During that week I heard more about my father in death than I did when he was alive.
It was at THAT time that I started to put the pieces together of who my father was.
It was at THAT time that I realized the path I was on.
I vowed that I would NOT let my sons learn about me from strangers at my funeral.
Everyday that I wake up I get a chance to teach my sons more about me.
3.0 is ten now. His personality is taking shape. the shape of MY personality…good and bad.
This summer will be the most time we have spent together since I left in the still of a February Night, told by TFMI that she didn’t want him to wait until the boys grew up, that he should leave right now. She later said she didn’t REALLY mean it; that she was just mad.
I found out later that my mother said the same thing to my father. The night HE left.
My mission in life in regards to Mr. 3.0 is to prevent him from Following in ALL of my footsteps. Cause if I do nothing. He will.
Hell, if I do MANY things….he still might. But it won’t be my fault.
You have now met Inkognegro 3.0. Kinda.