Dad, what was the worst thing about being a dad?
“It’s not time to make a change
Just relax, take it easy
You’re still young, that’s your fault
There’s so much you have to know
Find a girl, settle down
If you want you can marry
Look at me, I am old, but I am happy”
“I was once like you are now, and I know that it’s not easy
To be calm when you’ve found something’s going on
But take your time, think a lot
Why, think of everything you’ve got
For you will still be here tomorrow, but your dreams may not”
(Father and Son) by Cat Stevens
Separation is the worst part of being a dad, and it’s often at worst in the father-son relationship because of more frequent connection with traumatic events such as war, imprisonment, substance abuse, marital strife, and mental illness.
My own direct experience with traumatic father-son separation occurred when Chad was 14-years-old, as it accompanied marital strife in our family.
This strife started as my restlessness during midlife. This was accompanied by death fears from a 1985 melanoma diagnosis, and was catalyzed by the persistent thought: “I am not living my authentic self.”
Separation from a daughter is also the worst thing about being a dad, as it is fraught with “giving” a daughter to her betrothed. I remember Corina telling me, “Dad, our relationship has changed, Grant is now first man in my life and you and I won’t be together without him.”