Internet Advertising and My Brain Health
Kicking the Bucket List

Still Learning from Our Parents

There was no wiggle room with my dad. When I was a kid, if my chores were left undone, if my bed was not made just so, if I was late for anything or if there was a grade below A on my report card, punishment was swift and sure.

More than any other memory I have of my dad is that he scared the bejesus out of me. He made it a habit to ask why I had committed any given transgression and it enraged him when I gave my honest, little girl answer, “I don't know.”

I also didn't always know a rule existed until I had broken it and all of this made my father a feared and fearsome presence in my life every day.

I am telling you this not to create a debate about my father's parenting skills (or lack thereof) but to set the stage for one of his rare indulgences, one that I am taking advantage of today and, possibly, tomorrow and beyond.

Among the known requirements of my young life was to attend school each day no matter what. Aside from communicable diseases, nothing merited missing school and when I had the sniffles, I was handed a pack Kleenex and sent on my way.

Until one day when I didn't feel like getting out of bed. I knew I wasn't sick but it just felt good that morning to loll around under the warm covers. Of course, Dad arrived in my room blustering around and demanding to know why I wasn't dressed and at the breakfast table.

Expecting his wrath at catching me in a lie, I told him I didn't feel well. But lo – instead of a rant, he said I'd better stay home from school then. I was amazed and shocked at my good fortune.

This happened when I was in fifth grade, taught by a man named Mr. Katagiri who was a friend of my dad's. The next day, my father supplied the written note I needed and I snuck a peek at it on my way to school. What would be his reason for my absence?

Dear George,” it began. “Please excuse Ronni from classes yesterday. She had a bad case of the crud and I gave her a day off.”

That may not be what he wrote word-for-word but it is damned close – it's hard to forget the circumstances surrounding a privilege so rare that something similar happened only two or three other times while I was growing up.

About two weeks ago, I was down for three days or so with some kind of unnameable illness and I have not been right since then. Details aren't important. It is enough to know that I'm dragging myself around from wake-up time to bedtime with a feeling of general malaise so that everything from feeding the cat to writing a blog post feels like climbing Mt. Everest.

It's kind of like my fifth-grade crud except that it's lasting longer which might be due to my being six decades older.

The important part and the reason for this all-too-long intro is to explain that I have decided to give myself the same kind of dispensation from blog and other work that my dad so surprisingly gave me that day 60-odd years ago.

Maybe it came to me to do this because tomorrow, Friday, will be the 32nd anniversary of his death. Please don't judge him harshly for what I explained above. I don't.


At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Chlele Gummer: My Famous Story

Comments

My father was very difficult
and I still have painful memories. But strange that on his deathbed I was the one he kept asking for. For years my brother and sister
reminded me of this and they felt unloved and that he loved me more. So much I still do not understand about my life...

For most fathers 60 years ago child rearing had pretty clear rules. A "spare the (figurative) rod" kind of responsibility.

I like that he said, "I gave her the day off." It tells your teacher that if he had a problem with you being out, it was Dad George should talk to.

As for now, honor your crud and take the time you need. Feel better soon!

Hope tomorrow brings you peace and a well deserved rest and that any bad stuff slides right off your memory plate.

Ronni, we all need little breaks now and then. Enjoy.

Dads.

My dad got up early on school days and cooked us up a big pot of oatmeal.

We were not allowed to go to school without breakfast.

Saturdays he would make a towering stack of pancakes. We had pancake eating contests.

No way were we allowed a day off of school. Our asses could be on fire, but no "that's nothing, the cold air will douse the flames before you hit the top of our street."

The only time I got to stay home longtime was when I got the mumps.

But staying home was boring. I missed my books.

My dad built houses, laid down hardwood floors nights while studying to be a chartered accountant. We all inherited his hard work ethic.

No ass sitting or whining was encouraged in our big family. I was expected to pull my weight same as the boys.

So if they got into fist fights, I did too. One morning, my so called friend next door called me a rude name, so I dropped my Enid Blyton book, picked up a night crawler and chased her straight into her house.

Night crawlers are huge earthworms, great for bait. I wasn't afraid to pick one up back then.

I flung the night crawler at her and it wrapped around her neck like a noose.

Her mom screamed, pitched a fit, grabbed a broom and chased me back to my house. I retaliated by throwing a couple eggs at their house.

The stains were still there years later when they moved away.

My dad died of a heart attack. I didn't stop crying out loud for a year. He never saw me achieve my dream of teaching.

Sometimes we all need a "mental health day" off; sometimes it is our physical health that creates the need for one or two of those days and sometimes it is the reverse. Just, please, feel well enough to enjoy ... and, maybe, consider that you might insert a regular "day off" in your pretty much 24/7 work for us.

The title of this post says a lot. You may not still be learning from your Dad, but you are still feeling very responsible to do your chores as your Dad taught you to be.

You don't need to post every day. It becomes a job without pay when you feel you must "make your bed." Just write something like "I am taking today off" and we will all understand and won't abandon you. Your followers are understanding because we need a day off now and then also.

Thanks for reminding me how lucky I was to have such a warm and loving father as well as mother, who raised seven children. My father died 16 years ago at 92, and he always hugged and kissed (well, actually smelled!) his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren when we were young, especially before leaving or after returning from work. I once asked him why it seemed he preferred his granddaughters/great-granddaughters over his male offspring. Without hesitation, he replied, "because they smell better!" Ronni, enjoy your time off!

Along the way I developed a plan for each child to stay home from school for NO reason. We called it then, and still do,a D...Day (last name). At 83 years old I recall the comfort of crawling back into bed, too sick to dress for school. Now days I simply enjoy crawling back into bed for no reason. Take care.

I've had two of those days this week. I thought about doing things, but the only thing I did was lie on the couch with a book, walk to the kitchen for some more water, etc., and never left the house. I wonder if this is what old feels like.

My father died 36 years ago this month. He was a very unhappy man, disappointed with his life, and he didn't like me. There were many bad incidents over the years, but after a disagreement about ten years prior to his death, he told me he'd never speak to me again, and he didn't. I was visiting my family when this happened, and returned to my home on the other side of the world, but to this day, I don't understand how a father can do that.

Ronni - take care of yourself, and do or don't do whatever makes you feel better.

Without describing my impression of my parents' relationship to each other, and the separate, distinctly different roles they assumed in "raising" me ~~ it strikes me that I have long since found myself dealing with life much as my mother did. And, by gosh, as the saying goes, I think "I married my dad."

Ronni,
It was the era....Dads did not allow "wiggle room."

Take a break...get better...YOU are appreciated by many!!!
Gail

Taking a dad approved day or two off sounds like a good idea. If it stays with you, you might call your doctor's office as bugs and their after effects are supposed to stay with you for seven days.

I'll wave at you every morning.

Ronni dear

Did you check yourself fpr anemia lately?

All the best

Beatriz

We all get a case of the "vapors" or "malaise" now and then.Perhaps a poultice or hot toddy would help.

My dad was much like yours. But whenever I think about his unforgiving parts, I remember that whenever I was sick he sat by my bed and read to me until I fell asleep. I haven't had a book out of my hands since and eventually I became a writer.

Give your self all the time you need. As Bia mentioned, you might check your anemia, and iron.
I also take B12 daily.

Regardless, there's nothing like treating oneself to a break from the usual routines, especially those "of the mind - the shoulds, the musts, the need to do lists, etc!" Tell all that chatter to take a hike til you want it back!


Ronni, when you want a day off would you consider a reader-to-reader feedback day? You choose a reader submitted question asking for other reader's opinions or suggestions. For example, last year I got involved in a ballot question campaign in my town and am now being pressed to run for our committee next year. I would love to hear from other elders who may have gotten involved in politics later in life [or not], pros and cons, etc. Or what senior services are offered by your town, do you use them, or are their other services you would like to see offered? Or experiences moving away from friends and family. Or...whatever. I have so much respect for the comments your readers make and always find them useful and thought-provoking.

Ronni -

SusanG has a point, and it would make it easy on you - or is there more to doing this that creates another problem or more work for you?

Ronni....I am with Darlene. I am near your age and in relatively good health, and I know I could never keep up with all that you have to do to maintain your blog and the storytelling site. Please take care and all the time you need for yourself! Hugs, Maureen

I'm sorry, Ronni. Did any of us tell you that you must be here each and every day without fail?
You are the master of your ship!

I am 74 and had the most wonderful fun loving, affectionate, hard working father.He died when I was 26 and I still miss him.

This discussion today is a bit difficult. Your health report raises concerns, and I hope you are taking care of yourself Ronni. Remembrances of fathers is always hard for me. I had an unhappy relationship with mine all my life. He was brilliant, but deeply troubled. I think there may have been a better person locked deep inside him, and a desire to be different, that he was never able to release or share. I'm pretty sure the only reason that she and my father married was my conception. I recall virtually no demonstration of affection between them in the more than 20 years they were together. They were a lethal combination but were not able to separate until there were six of us children, most of whom were adults themselves and whose lives would be forever scarred by their miserable marriage. Fortunately, my husband's parents had a long and happy life together and welcomed me like a daughter into their lives. I am thankful for that every day, as I'm sure it helped make me a much better parent than I may have been otherwise.

My father meant well, and he tried his best to be a good father. He was an excellent provider and back in the day that was the #1 thing a man was supposed to be. He also had a problem with alcohol, so there was definitely some conflict and unpleasantness from time to time in our household.

I think my mom stayed in the marriage because that's pretty much what women did then. Also, although she was a college grad, intelligent and a talented artist, she had no marketable job skills and would have had 2 kids to support. Hmmm. . .wonder if that could be why I decided I would always be able to support myself and chose to remain child-free?

My father and I were estranged for the last 12 years of his life. He "disowned" me when I married my wonderful husband of 36 years--who happens to be Black. It was my father's great loss that he never met my husband, who is truly one of the world's best. I've never regretted making the decision I did for one millisecond.

Ronni, take care--hope you recover your oomph soon. Ad, as others have said, you're "self-employed" and can take off anytime you want!

I so understand how you are committed to doing this blog every day, Ronni. In spite of accomplishing almost nothing these days except medical visits, feeding myself and my Amber kitty, and keeping us reasonably clean, I still (and obviously always will)feel "devils nipping at my heels." I have used that phrase for several decades to describe my compulsive personality , and have only recently understood that it will never change. Only old age and health issues have forced me to stop my "produce, produce, create, create" syndrome, but it is not without guilty feelings that I do so. I can allow myself long afternoon naps with my kitty, though, without feeling guilty--after all, coming from 3 1/2 years in the shelter, she deserves my company anytime she wants it. I try not to commit to anything now, so as to cut down on feelings of obligation.Having said that, I do fully intend to get back to blogging on Elderstorytelling some of these days.

Feel better, Ronni! Parents always seem to have different sides to themselves. Stern, but willing to give a day off for feeling crumby! These are the moments that are so important to capture, the contrast within a person and family.

storycall.us

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)