Happy Father's Day
When I was about nine years old, I remember a dinner table conversation between my father and mother. I think we had just received news that my favorite uncle, the doctor, had beaten up my aunt.
When I was about nine years old, I remember a dinner table conversation between my father and mother. I think we had just received news that my favorite uncle, the doctor, had beaten up my aunt. My mother looked my father in the eye and said, “You know if you ever lay a hand on me, it will be the last time.” I looked at my older brother as if to say, “What’s up with this?” He looked puzzled. My dad looked her back in the eye and with a smile said, “Yes, dear. I know.”
As I have thought of this incident over the years of my work, I have realized that my mother was not conveying any new information to my father. My father would never have dreamed of laying a hand on my mother. But our mother was conveying information to my brother and me. She just wanted to make sure that we both understood that force, coercion and control had no place in the family --- especially between intimate partners.
I am one of the lucky ones who grew up in a home without violence and abuse, a home where I observed and experienced respect. No, it wasn’t perfect by any means. We had all the stresses and strains of any middle class family in the ‘50’s and ‘60’s, trying to make ends meet and cope with the cultural chaos of the time. But I know I was fortunate.
On this Fathers’ Day, I am grateful that I have a father who was there for us, who always supported me, expected the best and to this day remains open to new ideas and possibilities. But most of all, I am thankful that he loved and respected my mother and never raised his hand against her.
My father is 96 years old, works out twice a week, goes to work twice a week, reads the NY Times online everyday and keeps me up to date on politics and other important matters. So Happy Father’s Day, Dad. And thanks.
Rev. Dr. Marie M. Fortune