Was I always a father-in-waiting? — Maybe that was so

Just finished reading a Vanity Fair article on recently deceased and brilliant English painter Lucian Freud – grandson of Sigmund and I tell ya Granddad would have had fun psychoanalyzing this descendant of the clan – who is a particularly favorite artist for me.

No, I don’t have any of his stuff. One of his paintings recently went for $33 million. For a guy who produces paintings that might go for $33, this is a heady realm. And, that isn’t my point here.

My point is that during his 88 years, Lucian sired 14 (acknowledged) children with six different women. Not only was he a prolific artist, he was mightily prolific in other realms, it would seem. I mean, migawd, 14 kids! I am both amazed, and confessedly impressed.

“What?” you say. “Impressed? At such irresponsibility? Hadn’t he ever heard of condoms, for crissake?”

I can’t answer that. And to argue on his behalf, some of the tads emanated from his three wives, but others originated with what I can only assume were just real good friends. Some of whom were models, I understand. I guess it can get steamy in the studio, and he was a very lingering and painstaking artist. Indeed, one of his last paramours was a female 50 years younger than he, and that kind of gives a guy (like me) a bit of hope on the eve of a relatively unwelcome birthday.

No, I’m not planning to decamp, in case you were concerned (which you likely weren’t) I was just idly speculating how I should pay more attention to my painting these days.

Finally, the point of this all is, I don’t have any children. As far as I know I don’t even have any that I don’t know about. And if you want to ask me about regrets in my life, I must confess this is one. And it’s a very big one. Truly.

When I was younger and first married I didn’t think I wanted the impediment of kids, and I’d never given it much thought. So my first wife and I went through two decades worth of marriage with the subject rarely coming up. In the later years I thought of it, and I realized it was virtually getting too late for that to happen. After we had separated and in the place of ‘departure’ conversations my soon-to-be-ex said something that kind of broke my heart a little more in that time of heartbreak. She said: “I know you wanted children, and I’m sorry about that, but I didn’t.” And it was true. But, I don’t blame her in the slightest.

When I was with my 2nd wife, I did have my stepdaughter, whom I loved absolutely to bits, but didn’t show it well, I confess and that leaves me with a ton of regret. But, quite honestly, I didn’t know how to parent. I loved kids, and I’d taught a lot of kids, but that’s a different thing from parenting them. Wife #2 and I would have loved to have had a family together, but surgery prior to her meeting me precluded that.

And Wendy has had similar surgery, so that is reality.

None of this do I resent, but periodically it can make me sad because I honestly think I would have been a good father and I think I could have made up for some of the pain of my own childhood by making the lives of my children brighter than mine was.

I may be wrong.

I’ll never know.




10 responses to “Was I always a father-in-waiting? — Maybe that was so

  1. That self portrait is stunning. He’s like Bacon without the meat cleaver.

  2. My DH feels the same way. I think he would’ve enjoyed having/raising children, though now he is impatient if around children for more than an afternoon. His own might’ve been different.

    I, on the other hand, am far more cynical.

    • Well, like him, I cannot be sure and there would be the fact they’re not going home with someone else. On the other hand, I loved my SD to bits in the years I was with her, even when she was being a pain in the ass.

  3. Although I may not be the best person to say this, since I do have a daughter, but I really think that the important thing is to have children in one’s life. They don’t have to be one’s own. They can be nieces or nephews, stepkids, godchildren, the kids one teaches or coaches, or the kids down the street who shyly ask if they can pet the dog. Children, like seniors, help the rest of us understand some of what’s important in life. And clearly, Big Brother, you’ve had those lessons and have learned them well!

  4. We don’t have kids…just how things turned out,,,but we’ve had a lot of other peoples’ kids in our life.
    For years we were the family Borstal where kids who were exasperating everyone came to try to exasperate us.
    No chance…we could out exasperate any kid.
    Later they came back of their own accord and later still with their own kids in tow.

  5. In never had any and I can’t remember ever really wanting any – except maybe for 5 minutes once a year. Mr. Jazz was also a five minute a year type, and our five minutes never coincided.

    I can honestly say that I don’t regret at all not having any.

    • Well, my desire for tads only came about later, when it had reached the time it was out of the question. So it’s difficult to deduce how I would have felt in the crunch. I also think that a lot of new parents are obsessively repulsive.

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