My mom likes to tell this story of the day I was born.
After she delivered me the nurse wrapped me up and handed me over to my mom. I looked at her, right in the eye, and screamed. Screamed like my life was being ripped from my body; screamed as though I was looking evil right in the face and wanted nothing to do with it.
She was heartbroken, my mom, having just squeezed me out of her pee-pee (her favourite phrase to make me all oogy) and I hated her. She didn't understand why or how, but her baby, the brand new little person who was supposed to make all the pain go away, hated her.
She blindly handed me back to the nurse who thought maybe Dad would do better. According to the story, and this is Mom's most savoured part, I gazed adoringly at my dad, heaved several deep breaths as my cries dwindled down, and promptly feel asleep.
Mom had just done all the work, all that squeezing and I wanted nothing to do with her, favouring my father for some reason.
And that set the tone for my childhood. I don't know if there was a bigger case of hero worship than that which existed in my heart for my dad. I adored him, did everything he did. When he spit on the ground, I did the same; when he tucked his thumbs in his belt and swaggered around, so did I. When he said "fuck", I said "fuck". When he worked on his motorcycle in the driveway with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth, I watched him with rapt attention. I wanted to know everything he knew.
Dad was my hero, and he could do no wrong. My mom liked to tell me that I was Dad's hero too, but I wasn't enough to make him stay around, and stay clean.
_____________________________________________________________________________________This post is part of a series of posts about my father.