23 February 2009

Father of the Bride

They say that women often marry men like her father. To this I react with a psychological tic.

I was not blessed with a normal father. I really had to measure my descriptive word of my father in that sentence as he is difficult to define. I've described him before as a non-communicative Archie Bunker, without the end-of-episode "he really does have a heart" moments.

My dad wasn't meant to have kids. My mom even said once during my childhood to not feel bad: "Your dad just doesn't really like little kids."
I. am. so. not. kidding.

So when I read articles citing statistics about how fathers-in-law and husbands are often quite similar, I want to toss the magazine across the room with disgust. Then I have to remind myself that I'm seeing it through my own filter and it's not fair to generalize my personal experience to everyone else.

But I believe that statistics like that really must have some bearing in truth (duh) so I thought about it further, squelching the inner screaming of "I did not marry my dad!!!"

While, in fact, I did. The first time. Michael was quite a lot like my dad. Distant, non-communicative, a drinker. (a trifecta!) It was no wonder that the marriage didn't last. It was no wonder that I jumped into marriage at 19 years old. It felt comfortable, normal.

And, in a random sidebar: my mother married when she was 16 to a guy who was 18, a serviceman. I have no idea how it happened, how long it lasted, or how it ended. I didn't find out about it until, literally, weeks before my first wedding. I know! Very Erica Kane! But unlike my mother, when I married again, I made a much different choice in a man. Thus, hopefully, breaking a pattern in history.

Meanwhile, where does Kevin fit into this scenario? I was baffled. I couldn't figure it out. Finally in a middle of the day, random, epiphany it came to me: Kevin was the father figure I had as a teen. My then BF's father. He was loud, opinionated, funny, honest and stern. Kevin!

I felt such relief, figuring that out. It's just a silly statistic, I realize but it was like solving a riddle. I was so determined to prove that I hadn't recreated history.

I've said this before and I'll say again, many times: family is who you choose them to be. They don't have to be related by blood. Family is not only who you were born to but who helped you to become who you are.

I didn't marry my dad. Yet I did: the dad I chose. Thanks Jeff.


Not Your Aunt Bea said...

Whoever wrote that article is on crack. Or needs to clarify the father figure part or else I would be screwed. I think I my husband is like one of my good friend's dad too.

Swistle said...

I married, basically, my MOTHER.