Friday, April 10, 2009


When the Matron was a Wee Miss--as in about five or six years old-- her parents parted ways.   The situation was, uh, unamicable.

For the rest of her childhood, her father was the Dangerous Interloper, the Wayward Unreliable Wanderer, the Evil Influence Waiting to Happen.  Wee Miss saw her father just a handful of times over the following 13 years.  Maybe five visits?  Six?  She can't remember.

She does remember an uncomplicated, continuous narrative about her father -- from her mother --that went something like this:   That man is bad.  Tainted.  Dangerous.  Evil.   Worst mistake I ever made.  

The Matron also remembers her mother telling her, frequently, that she (Young Miss) was "exactly like your father.   Rot.  You look like him, too."     Hitting was not absent from some of these scenes.

Young Miss was an unpleasant handful during her teenage years, so there's that nod of concession toward her mother.  And it turns out?  She does look like her father.  But.

When Young Miss went to college and turned 18, emancipated and all get out, she tracked down Evil Incarnate, otherwise known as her father.  Turns out all she had to do was call her uncle, his brother, and dial.

And Evil Incarnate?   Wept when he saw her.   Turned out to be the steadiest, most loving presence in Young Miss's life until he died unexpectedly of a heart attack in 1996. 

Pause the sentiment button, right now.

That man?  Deeply flawed.  Who was more grown-up, the Young Miss or her father? SHE was the one who tracked him down and did the Therapy Speak.  Not him.  Indeed, while Young Miss supplied her father with regular and reliable phone numbers for his other two children, he never made those calls.

Too afraid.

Think you're a flawed parent?

Here are the two pearls of parental wisdom that the Matron's father passed on to her:  1)  if you're going to steal, steal big because if you steal small the penalty isn't worth the risk and 2) never steal from someone with less money than you have.

Okay then.  That's come in handy?

But she remains eternally, incredibly grateful that she forged this relationship.   That she decided to know and eventually love this kind, beautiful man.   Because that last edict - don't steal from someone who has less than you have?  Sort of sums up his crazy logic and life.  He wanted to give.   Felt that giving was North on the moral compass.

The reason he never called his other two children?  The Matron thinks it's because he thought he couldn't give enough.  Not that he didn't love them.


thefirecat said...

Moral of the story of Life As I See It?

We're all flawed. Him, you, her,'s just a matter of being forgiving enough of ourselves and others to be willing to see it.

That, more than anything else, I've come to realise, is what I am here on this earth to learn.

smalltownme said...

Sad for him, brave of you.

Wise Matron, to forge whatever relationship you could, because if you hadn't, Regret would be calling.

Jenny Grace said...

I think this is lovely.

matronslittlebrother said...

As one of the two siblings, I wish I could have gotten to know our father better and am glad that MM was able to do so.

What did MM's husband once call him - a kindhearted crook?


Irene said...

I am glad you found him and let him be part of your life. I had a very flawed father and was continually compared to him too. I don't care now and have embraced all of that. Some mothers are seriously screwed up.

Daisy said...

The best part of this post is the piece that's unwritten: the fact that you've used what you learned about parenting and created your own loving household without repeating dysfunctional patterns.

Karen Jensen said...

What a great story. My mother never said anything about my father, which left me free to make up stories and clueless about men in general. I sometimes wonder what it would have been like to meet him. Anyway, thanks for your story, Matron.

laurie said...

and now that was your beautiful daughter on the front page of the variety section today, was it not? lovely little girl.

Minnesota Matron said...

Yes! That was Scarlett. Here's the link:

witchypoo said...

Just between us? I'm still somewhat bitter that my father is still alive and my mom died four years ago. Not fair.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

Matron and Jenn share many, many commonalities.

Mrs. G. said...

You have such a tender heart.

MJ said...

I'm glad you reached out to your dad. It's always best for children to form their own opinions about their parents.

Cheri @ Blog This Mom!® said...

When the Matron writes posts such as this, my heart gets so busy thinking that my fingers don't know what to say.

Eric Smith said...

You are always worth reading. Thank you.