To be married is not an easy thing. It’s touted as the
happily ever after of our dreams but really it’s hard work. For many it is only
once married that the real person emerges from the cocoon of bride or groom.
For some it happens quickly, a rapid metamorphosis into a new creature. For
others, like Lou’s Dad, it was slow. Like one of those frogs that buries itself
in the desert until the flood comes – perhaps years later – Lou’s Dad was
happily buried in marriage for several years. He adjusted to the arrival of
children and his wife’s seeming-obsession with them. She had the time for him
that she’s had before. He’d given her the children she wanted, what he had
thought he’d wanted too, but now she was gone from him on some level.
It was always he who had to wait when it should have been
the children who waited. But this wasn’t a kind thought and he knew that other
fathers suffered the same fate, their wives less available and doting than
Before kids, they had been a unit, he and his wife.
Inseparable at parties, she validated his manliness and made him feel like
somebody important, someone others would want to know. She looked out for him
and looked up to him. He was her god and he was glad of it. He felt that
finally he was getting what he deserved. And then they took the relationship to
its rightful next stage and her attentions were stolen by their children. She
replaced him with new deities, ones that required constant maintenance – it was
hard to compete with that and he was competitive by nature.
First Lou and then Henry – they both took more from him
than they gave. They didn’t do it on purpose of course, he knew that, but their
mother was perhaps complicit in this. They were no longer a couple, but a
family. Not two, but four, and he was no longer the centre of their lives. She
had undermined their unit with her mothering.
Palitja Moore, text and image, 2015