Father's Day was a non-holiday when I was growing up. Heck, I don't even remember it being discussed, pretty much ever. Of course it needs to be noted that, if I added up all the time I actually spent with my father as I was growing up it might add up to a day or two. Mostly the encounters were short affairs of a half hour or so, taking place in some flop-house hotel or at one time or another in a bar. As a side note it's amazing how smells have a memory all their own; to this very day I remember that smell of beer, cigarettes and poorly circulating air. But so I digress.
How exactly does a young man even process the above?
That's an actual question, by the way. I really don't completely know how I processed it at the time. I do know that growing up I was, at times, both angry and deeply saddened that I didn't actually have a functional father. The anger never represented itself as any kind of rebellion, instead it was just this kind of gnawing reality that sat inside my head. There was a dose of self-pity in the thoughts back then, although that kind of acknowledgement only came with the benefit of older age. In a broad sense I am grateful, for far too many young men who have grown up without fathers probably did engage in far more open forms of rebellion. Me? It mostly created a desire on my part to be a good father, the kind I didn't have in my own life. My children can weigh in on that...at my funeral...a long time into the future.
On to the present. I can tell you that, in a spirit of complete honesty, I don't actually process this kind of stuff these days. In fact, outside of recollection needed for this posting (the bulk of which was mostly written on Father's Day), I spend no time thinking about it. Actually I spend virtually no time thinking about the past in general, which has been a revelation of sorts over the past few years. Or at least I aspire not to. Learning that the past really is just a series of prior "nows" is actually comforting. Yes, I do try and learn from the past, but unless dwelling on it serves a purpose for the present then it's simply not worth the caloric expenditure.