The Real Clyde

When I got into counseling, I wrote down what traits I’d expect to find in a good dad. This is my list:

  1. Caring
  2. Attentive
  3. Patient
  4. Trustworthy
  5. Responsible
  6. A person who puts his children’s needs above his own

I can’t say Clyde was any of these things.

  • He missed our daughter’s first birthday so he could spend the day skiing with a buddy.
  • He only made it to our daughter’s 5th birthday (and first time at Disney World) because his high school buddy called him an asshole for choosing partying over his being with his kid and dropped him off on my doorstep.
  • There were countless Halloweens and holidays Clyde spent with his brothers or friends getting drunk. I’ve never known Clyde to skip any social gathering in order to spend time with our children instead.
  • He spent hours each day playing his PlayStation while our kids entertained themselves.
  • He bullied & teased our kids until they screamed or cried.
  • He had a long track record of breaking promises and losing his temper.
  • He took/stole money and video games from our daughter.
  • He put off or disregarded the kids’ doctor visits and school meetings.
  • He kept our kids out of school for a full school year while I was on military duty.
  • I’d caught him several times “impaired” behind the wheel, even with kids in tow and the first time I confronted him, he threw all of my clothes out the window and then locked me out of the house at 2am (he was so intoxicated that the police couldn’t even wake him, flashlights and all).

In counseling, our daughter couldn’t name a single event or happy memory of Clyde. Memories that started out as happy were quickly contaminated by Clyde’s temper tantrums. To this day, I don’t know who the real Clyde is and when I look back, I can’t say why it was I insisted he was such a good father. It’s strange.

It’s almost like the more he reiterated he “loved his kids and wanted nothing more than to be a good father“, the more we all believed it… but if you take away Clyde’s words and look solely at his actions, it can be construed that he really doesn’t want to be a father at all.

Cat’s in the Cradle

Our 8-year old son has never met Clyde’s father (technically our kids’ grandfather) and our daughter has only seen the man a handful of times, the last being when I was pregnant 9 years ago. Clyde and his father had been estranged since before we met.

I remember the letter Clyde received from his father when we first got engaged. Instead of a “congratulations” or any praise, it said something to the tune of: remember, she’s not your obligation… referring to myself and our 6-month old baby girl.

Like father, like son…

Needless to say, I don’t think they’ll be creating a prime-time “dad” character from Clyde’s image any time soon.

Even Homer Simpson’s character had to be changed to be a more sympathetic & loving dad before audiences accepted him

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