Sunday, June 8, 2008

“Father Forgets”

Father Forgets” is one of those little pieces which dashed
of in a moment of sincere feeling - strikes an
echoing chord in so many readers
It originally appeared as an editorial in the
People's Home Journnl.Since its first appearance , “Father
Forgets" has been reproduced on countless
occasions and programs.

Listen, son: I am saying this as you lie asleep, one little
paw crumpled under your cheek and the blond curls stickily
wet on your damp forehead. I have stolen into your room
alone. Just a few minutes ago, as I sat reading my paper
in the library, a stifling wave of remorse swept over me.
Guiltily I came to your bedside.
There are the things I was thinking, son: I had been cross
to you. I scolded you as you were dressing for school because
you gave your face merely a dab with a towel. I took
you to task for not cleaning your shoes. I called out angrily
when you threw some of your things on the floor.
At breakfast I found fault, too. You spilled things. You
gulped down your food. You put your elbows on the table.
You spread butter too thick on your bread. And as you
started off to play and I made for my train, you turned
and waved a hand and called, “Goodbye, Daddy!” and
I frowned, and said in reply, “Hold your shoulders
Then it began all over again in the late afternoon. As I
came up the road I spied you, down on your knees, playing
marbles. There were holes in your stockings. I humiliated
you before your boyfriends by marching you ahead of me to
the house. Stockings were expensive - and if you had to
buy them you would be more careful! Imagine that, son,
from a father!
Do you remember, later, when I was reading in the library,
how you came in timidly, with a sort of hurt look in
your eyes? When I glanced up over my paper, impatient at
the interruption, you hesitated at the door. “What is it you
want?” I snapped.
You said nothing, but ran across in one tempestuous
plunge, and threw your arms around my neck and kissed
me, and your small arms tightened with an affection that
God had set blooming in your heart and which even neglect
could not wither. And then you were gone, pattering up the
Well, son, it was shortly afterwards that my paper slipped
from my hands and a terrible sickening fear came over me.
What has habit been doing to me? The habit of finding fault,
of reprimanding - this was my reward to you for being a
boy. It was not that I did not love you; it was that I expected
too much of youth. I was measuring you by the yardstick of
my own years.
And there was so much that was good and fine and true in
your character. The little heart of you was as big as the
dawn itself over the wide hills. This was shown by your
spontaneous impulse to rush in and kiss me good night.
Nothing else matters tonight, son. I have come to your bed-side
in the darkness, and I have knelt there, ashamed!
It is a feeble atonement; I know you would not understand
these things if I told them to you during your waking
hours. But tomorrow I will be a real daddy! I will chum
with you, and suffer when you suffer, and laugh when you
laugh. I will bite my tongue when impatient words come. I
will keep saying as if it were a ritual: “He is nothing but a
boy - a little boy!”
I am afraid I have visualized you as a man. Yet as I see
you now, son, crumpled and weary in your cot, I see that
you are still a baby. Yesterday you were in your mother’s
arms, your head on her shoulder. I have asked too much,


Emaan said...

my dad never finds faults, not even in mom...evn though there are so many.
i mean even i can see them, lov i tell u.
anyway dad says, stupid nadal will win even though fedex shud.

Satish Bolla said...

the less i say abt this, the better

broca's area said...

@ emaan..ur mom is really lucky man!..:)...stupid nadal?..hmm...lets hope he wins!

broca's area said...

@ satish...yeah:) this in one of the dale carnegie books!

Anonymous said...

Whoa !

Father is such a strong word indeed !!

With everyone supporting and talking about their love for mothers, one forgets to appreciate dads.

Grey said...

if i had powers i'd banish all dads... then im a dad myself.. hope to learn from 'his' mistakes..

Pavi!!!! said...

I hv a lump in my throat! This is so beautiful!

broca's area said...

@ priceless....yeah i liked it very much..many people take their fathers for granted!...

@ grey...hmm.....dont know wat to say!!..:)