beleaguered by genes

My dad (deceased now for almost two decades) enjoyed being a public figure in his community, and he enjoyed being a community-builder. He served as toastmaster for all kinds of banquets and dinners and had a store of jokes for every occasion. He liked to get things done, liked to help others, and, while he used the “system” to succeed in his efforts, he didn’t abuse it. While he was comfortable negotiating and compromising, he never (as far as I know) lied or manipulated or try to put one over on any one or any system. When his mother and his father started to fail physically, he was there to help them remain living in their home until they died. And he was with them when that happened.
In many ways my father’s genes live on in me — and, as I see more and more — in my kids. (Except that I don’t have that sense of humor.) There is little in our lives that we feel paranoid about and feel needs to be hidden from public scrutiny. We don’t lie on forms that we fill out, don’t try to hide who we are, what we believe, or what we do with our lives. And we don’t try to make each other into people that we’re not.
For many years, I know that I disappointed my dad. When I married, I eloped so he was never able to have the big Polish wedding bash for me that I know he looked forward to. Eventually, as I matured, I found myself following the example both his genes and his actions set for me. And I also see them reflected in b!X’s life — all that “civic responsibility” stuff that was such a big part of my dad’s life.
I often think how different my life would be now if my dad were still alive and well and living in Sun City or some such place, organzing and helping and making everyone laugh at the absurdities of life as a senior citizen.
Instead, I am beleaguered by his genes, struggling, as he must have as well, to care and help and get thing done while still trying to hold onto personal vitality and integrity and hope while surrounded by the tendencies of very different genes.
My dad died in his early seventies. That’s less than a decade away for me. I sure hope that there are some of his genes that didn’t make it this far.

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