Monday, January 29, 2007


A strange thing has happened to me in writing the In A Nutshell pieces. Actually, it started earlier as I wrote about Daddy.

For a little background, if you have read much about Daddy, you will not be surprised that he evoked mixed feelings in those who knew him at all. Julie has said, on her blog, Thinking About
Which is one way of saying that my Grandpa wasn't the nicest guy around. He could be downright abusive. He could also be kind and generous and loving. I suspect he was my first introduction to the concept that people can be complicated.
So, we loved him and we hated him and he just confused the hell out of us. He was the white knight with the fatal flaw, who had come to rescue our mother and worship at her feet and drive her children nuts.

Since I was nine years old, I have had these ambivalent feelings about him. But, unless I was in his presence and he was being his most charming and protective self, my usual stance was that he was the villain of the piece.

As I have written about him on this blog, I have had an opportunity to remember and think about all of his strengths, all of the good things he did, all of the times he made us happy. And, I find that I can't really think of him as the villain any longer. My office mate mentioned last week that for the last few weeks I've been referring to him as Daddy instead of my step-father. And she's right. For the last little while, he has ceased to be my step-father and the Daddy part of him has begun to shine.

Which causes me to wonder just how long I might have continued to carry that grudge if I hadn't become a blogger? And if maybe, just maybe, I might not discover that my sister Colleen was actually not so bad either?

In A Nutshell follows.


Dee said...

I have not read much of your blog yet but perhaps your father was a product of his time or culture. I had a great foster family that raised me. They were older than I. But I rarely saw the father of the house. He was good man but he just could not seem to show love or emotion for his kids. His kids were 30 years older than me and They are in their eighties now. They often say they knew their dad loved them but he never expressed it and it was very stern.

He was from England. He worked hard and supported his family while they were young but they were expected to get out when they were 18 and make their own way in life. Eventually he left the family but he kept in contact with the girls after they were adults.

But I have found by talking to other people in that era, their fathers were the same way. LOving, but stern. So I wonder how much of that has to do with the era they grew up in.

I never had a father and have always wondered what I had missed by not having one. (mine deserted my mom years ago) My mom had a whole set of problems and did not raise me but my foster family was great. My foster mom, anyway.

Ginnie said...

Laying aside old grudges and resentments is very freeing for me. I learned to work on that in the AA program but find, like you, that the blogging is very therapeutic too. Putting words down on paper often solidifies a feeling that I have been unable to express (or even knew I had) in any other way.

J said...

Sounds like this has been cathartic for you...that's a good thing. :) Remembering the truly bad things that happened has given you perspective, and made you a champion for children's causes. Remembering the good side of Grandpa has given you some good life lessons. Letting go of the anger and resentment, that's the hard part. I'm happy that you're on the mend in that way...and yeah, maybe you'll find the part of Colleen that was good and kind. Like when she picked the knots out of my hair for me, patiently, when you would have cut it off. Like helping you move to Alaska when you had hurt your back and couldn't do it yourself. The bad things are real, too, but she could be good too. Like saving the woman who later gave you a loan at the bank. There's a blog post, huh?

Rain said...

One of the main things I have come to believe, through the benefits of aging, is that most people do the best they can given their own limitations. When we realize the ones, who hurt us, were just trying to make their life right even when they did bad things, we can release the pain. It's not always true. There are some people who are probably downright evil but most are trying but dealing with their own negative experiences and reacting to that. We can just hope in a family, each generation keeps growing and improving so that the mistakes don't get replicated.

kenju said...

I said to another blogger just a while ago that my old photos bring back so many memories, not all of which were happy ones. However, the photos remind me that it was not always as bad as I thought at the time. Blogging was the start of that revelation for me - as yours was for you. I think blogging is a good thing all around!

gawilli said...

It makes me so very happy that you have found some joy from the nutshell. It has been just a tad earthshaking for me, too. Maybe time and space are not altogether bad things!