Archive for May, 2010

Your Dad Did Not Serve in Any War

May 27, 2010

We laugh at the movie scene where, faced with insurmountable odds, the hero does the unpredictable. He runs away. Invariably, the hero is a male and we seem to find the situation “funny” because the character has no honor for justice. The hero is quickly denigrated as a coward with only the desire to survive. While we may shame the smarter man for running away, the “hero” who stands never lives to see his children grow.

For the majority of our servicemen today, the odds are in their favor (physically). Every day, tens (maybe hundreds) of thousands of men and women stand to protect our American way of life; freedom, liberty, happiness, etc. In some eras, such as the post-Nixon years, our servicemen were simply not deployed. Today, deployment is a given. A soldier has no choice. “Mine is not to question “Why?”. Mine is but to do, or die.”

Yet the odds of sacrificing one’s life in our modern military are not what they used to be. Many servicemen and women put their lives in the line of fire, and many more choose an MOS and step out of the line of fire, both–only–to be embroiled in family court matters that consume them in dollars and emotion for years, decades, and lifetimes after their active service is done.

The insurmountable odds, like the Greek Hydra, face those who do survive. Can you maintain a marriage at 12,000 miles? Can you parent one, two, three or more children? Can you weather false allegations of domestic violence? Will your children actually turn against you and drop the nuclear bomb of family dissolution; sexual abuse? No one today is adequately investigating these scenarios and no one is tracking the increased incidences of domestic violence based upon false allegations.

For those of us who served, did we serve in a war? Was there an enemy? Did we accomplish something? If we are successful at deterring attacks, the questions plague us. If we are not successful, political fingers point in every direction. We have lost.

Before the cold war was ended, but after it was over, your Dad served his country. For every paper target, the image of a man was a man. Mine was not to question why. The odds were in my favor more than our soldiers have today. I served my country while it was not at war. I consider myself lucky. But I became a victim of false allegations and my children were separated from me. The hostile intentions of a hundred countries and a thousand fanatics could not have done as much harm as the dissolution of our marriage and the separation from my children.

I did not serve in war, but the battle rages against me, and my children suffer the wounds.

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An Exhilarating Confirmation

May 21, 2010

Logically, two weeks should be enough time to see my experiences in retrospective. However, I am–two weeks after the fact–still jubilant, in the moment, over having seen my daughter for the first time in over five years! Normal parents, even divorced and feuding parents, don’t take out their anger in a way that harms the children. But, I’ve just witnessed may daughter’s rite of passage into adulthood at 30 paces.

I have nothing bad to say. It was fantastic! I love my daughter and I am amazed that she embraced her confirmation with the spirit that I only understand through the cloud of unknowing. I understand that the spirit does not always win over the specter. In being there, I only enabled the possibility that she could rise above the dread. It seems, the accolades bore heavily and dark upon her soul. Often, the spirit is a memory unremembered; a fleetful thought forgotten. And then, reborn.

I am the Dad. I am the father. In my words, I hold truths long passed by. Yet, none of these truths can tell you how deep is my love for you. None of my words can battle the shadow that hangs heavily upon you. It is only from within you that you will find the fire of your life. If you could burn away the paper curtains, you might see a universe only you create. And around you, you might let in the worlds created by those who care the most for you.

The rapture of your birth has not diminished, for me, over time. I love you because you are my daughter. The thrill of my life is knowing how alive you are. I can tell you; I am proud.

A penumbra is seen only from a unique and moving perspective. A brook is constant for all who remain upon the berm. Together, they can bridge the life we have seen through your eyes and mine. What a confirmation that would be! Simply exhilarating!