Sins of the Father

by Michael

We’re going to have a son.

The words and that fact just keep reverberating in my skull.

I’m going to have another son, and that fact, in a way, terrifies me.

The emotional influx just from remembering all the things I experienced with Canaan was the first wave.  Realizing that those moments I missed with him, that bonding I missed out on, I get to experience with this one.

Then, came guilt.  Guilt for knowing I’ll get to experience all those things with him that I didn’t get to with Canaan.  Guilt over the fact that in 5-6 years, I’ll have the opportunity to coach and be involved with things that interest him in a way I haven’t been able to with Canaan.

Then came fear.

The fear I’ll repeat the mistakes of my father.  The mistakes I fear I’ve already made with Canaan.

And I am so, so afraid I’m going to mess up.

Understand; I love my father.  I mean, he’s my Dad, but we don’t have the closest father and son relationship.  Honestly, he and I are very much like oil and water.  Different, but the same personalities that just find a way to clash at every turn.  The fact that my younger brother is so much like Dad on a compatible front, I feel only intensifies that gap between us.

I’ve never really relied on my Dad for advice or his insight.  He’s not exactly that Dad that teaches and passes things down to his kids.  Dad is simply Dad.  He’s admired and looked upon highly by many.  People will go out of their way to grab his ear for any amount of time that they can have it, simply to get his opinion or reaction to something.  He’s respected and trusted by his peers.

And I can’t call him up for just a conversation or ask his advice on anything.

He’s there, to be a rock if he needs to be, in a way he feels he can be.

But nurturing is not a word I would describe him as, not with or towards me.

Despite being the oldest, growing up, I’d have moments of jealously towards my siblings, who clearly had a closer relationship than I did with Dad.  As an adult, I realize and know our relationship will always be what it is. I’ll occasionally try and bond a bridge, but all in all, I know how to navigate things with Dad more than anything else.

Canaan and I never really had a chance to truly bond because of our circumstances, and I feel he does and will see me in a similar light.  I hate it, but right now it feels more inevitable than anything.  He’ll lean on other males before he will me, either because he’s simply not comfortable with the idea, or feels that for some reason I’ll overtly judge him.  I try to bond bridges slowly over time and build new ones, but the amount of forwarding progress I’m able to obtain is questionable. He’s admitted at times that I make him nervous or that I intimidate him, which deep down breaks my heart and I hate, but its a stigma I just can’t seem to break away from, and I am simply scared shitless that my youngest son will view me in a similar light.  I’m so scared.  I’m scared I’ll mess up along the way, either by trying too hard to not be my father, or simply being unable to see that I’m just repeating his mistakes.

I love both my sons.  And I am so very excited to have what is truly going to be this new adventure.  My wife promises me that she’ll always make sure I stay on the right path, to be there to reassure me that I’m not making mistakes and that this little boy will know his Dad is someone he can rely on and count on.  I’ve not had that level of support from a spouse or partner in the world of parenting before now.

Deep down, I know she’s right.  I know the father I’ve wanted to be for Canaan, that I’ve tried to be, and that I will strive to be for my new little guy.

But that pit of fear of being wrong still sits at the bottom of my stomach.

For now anyway.

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