After the post below and yesterday’s interview with John le Bon (which I will discuss in a later post -a very nice young man and a very good time had), I feel a need to set the record straight, to care what others might think. I am not a person who simply abandoned his five children. Of course I am flawed, of course I have made mistakes, but walking out on my kids is not in my nature. I am Mr. Do-The-Right-Thing, and when I do the wrong thing, I pay a psychic price.
I married too young, and as I matured I grew apart from my wife. She and I were like strangers in later years. But I was very happy being the father of five kids, the oldest two in their teens, the other three on their way. The youngest two were a set of twins. I spent tons of time with them, taking them camping and hiking, and often enough on Saturdays doing what I called “The Great Pizza Hunt.” I would get them all in the van, pull out of the driveway, and flip a coin. We would go one direction or the other, and at each intersection flip another coin, and continue to do that until we ended up at a pizza joint. One day we ended up far afield, at a country club east of town, and so we wandered in and asked if they served pizza. Yep. It was very good pizza.
I was happy as a Dad, and miserable as a husband. On occasion after the house was quiet I would get in the car and drive up atop the “Rimrocks”, a small plateau above Billings, the place where high school kids went to neck. And other stuff. I never got beyond necking. There was a great view of the city from there, and in my state of depression I parked up there and thought about my situation. I resolved that I would stick out the marriage until the year 2001, when the youngest two would graduate high school, and then I was in the wind.
Knowing that the adults were not getting along, as kids do, was hard on them, and there was tension in the household. You could cut it with a knife. My wife, to her credit, decided the marriage had to end. It was 1993. We parted, and divorced the following year. It was very, very hard on the kids.. I tried to remain in their lives, but even now, as they are all adults, I see that she had far more influence on them than I did. They are far closer to her than me, and that hurts, of course. I was never a great Dad, but I was never a bad Dad, and spent far more time over the years with them than she ever did. I took them to parks, on outings, taught them to love the outdoors, but her sway was far more than mine. But it’s all part of a painful past.
That’s my story. Flawed as I am, doing the right thing mattered to me, and I tried and failed to do the right thing by them.
[As it turned out, I met my current wife in 1995. We both had young children, hers in Bozeman, mine in Billings, so we commuted and long-distance dated for six years. The year that was my “in the wind” year, 2001, as it turned out, was the year we got married. As I like to say, since the day we met, for me it has been like a fairy tale. I have lived two very different lives. I could not be happier, and only wish my kids thought more of me than they do.]