A Slightly Different Father’s Day Perspective

fathers dayI salute all the great fathers out there today. If you are active in your children’s lives my hat is off to you. You Da Man!

Father’s day has always given me a bit of a heavy heart. I’m green with envy for those of you who have one. With all his flaws and quirks, you have a father. I didn’t have one growing up. Of course someone helped my mom create me, but they broke up before I was born. They were both 16 and marriage was not an option. I happened anyway. God has a funny way of bringing life into the world no matter what.

I met him once when I was 24 years old. His only comment to me was “you look a lot like my oldest daughter.”  My response was “well that would be because I AM your oldest daughter!”  Jackass.  All my life I’ve pondered the questions. Did he not love me, or was he just too young to realize what he did? Why has he never shown any interest in being a part of my life? Did he not want his “family” to know about me? I have sisters and brothers I’ve never met.  He lives or lived in the same town as me. I don’t know if he’s dead or alive.

It’s a thorn in my heart every day. When I get to the great beyond I intend the walk up to him and yell “HEY! What the hell was your problem anyway?” Are we allowed to yell in heaven?  Maybe that’s what purgatory is for – a place to get rid of any leftover post-mortem dirty laundry.

Did not having a dad skew my relationships with men? You betcha.  It took me decades to accept the fact that a man could be a permanent fixture in my life, not just some passing episode, or ship in the night, better not thought about often.

A dad’s input into choosing a man is important for young women, or so I’ve heard. Mine was strictly trial and error. Pretty much 47 years of errors until I found Mr. Right. Mr. Right is Mr. Husband of course. What attracted him to me other than his obvious fine self, evil sense of humor, intelligence, wit, sense of honor and integrity, was the fact that he had a mom and a DAD. One of those mythical creatures those other kids had living in their homes. Hubman’s parents lived together in the holy and hellish state of matrimony for over 50 years and raised 2 fine sons. One of which I am proud to call my mate.

To my mind this told me that at least Hubman had a role model for a stable, long-term relationship and valuable guidance from a man’s point of view. His dad became my father figure, and I loved every minute of it. He was always gentle and never yelled at me. And he did a lot of yelling. Mr. Husband can testify to that. The preceding 47 years of no father gave me a unique perspective. I knew that every minute was precious because he was up there in years and time was running out.

Sometimes I would get annoyed when he would comment on every little thing I thought or planned to do, but at the same time I loved it. It was a feeling of security and that an older wiser man had my back, and loved me no matter what stupid jam I got myself into because I thought I knew it all. A feeling I never had throughout my life.

I’m not dissing the importance of mothers and grandmothers at all here. But there really were no men in my family. Ours was strictly matriarchal. I know how to do and enjoy all kinds of girl stuff, but I know squat about football, team players, “working as a team” and all the other euphemisms that men and women know from growing up with men in their lives.

Mr. Husband’s father passed away 2 years ago between Christmas and New Year. We brought him home from the hospital in an ambulance so he could spend Christmas Eve with family and friends. A few days later he went to his reward peacefully in his sleep surrounded by his family. The nurse commented that she had never seen a room so crammed full of family and that he knew he was loved. Of course he was. And he loved every one of us and worked hard his entire life to take care of his family.

Now he’s gone.  I grieved his passing not only for his loss, but for the fact that I lived almost my entire life without a father. Not a day passes that I don’t think of him, or wish I could ask him a question or get his advice. I ask him anyway. I know he’s listening.

15 responses

  1. It’s so aggravating to read the exchangee bewteen you and your dad. “His only comment to me was “you look a lot like my oldest daughter.” My response was “well that would be because I AM your oldest daughter!” Jackass. ” How hurtful not knowing why he abandoned you was and is.

    I grew up with a father who avoided parenting for over 30 years. He became a drunk when I was small and finally joined went into detox, came out and joined AA and became a decent man. Before that my mom, who had mental issues and I the eldest child were the “parents” in my family. From that detox time onward my dad did his best to make amends and draw closer to his children though we had all been emotionally damaged by the rotten relationship he and my mother had.

    It’s good to read about your husband and step-father. I too married a wonderful man. His his own dad died when he was very young. He was raised by his mom and a step father who disliked him as Remarkably, he got along as well with my sober dad as well as I did and we had many happy times together. I loved my dad very much and when he died I spent a long time grieving his loss. Like you I still speak to him despite the fact he’s gone. Just six months ago my mom died and I am grieving again.

    1. I very happy that your dad attempted to make a amends to you. And so sorry for the loss of your mother. Being as my mom was my only parent all through life I shudder to think what it’s going to be like to lose her.

      1. I wanted to share my dad’s turn around with you as you could have readers who have deadbeat dads, who will make that turn around too. Whe we lose people we love our own impermanence is front and center. I’m currently grieving and healing. I’m grateful for the good times and memories and I’m not choosing to recall the bad times.

  2. This post sent me from the nausea of frustration to the tears of hope. Thank you. And I echo the commenter – it’s his loss and your father-in-law’s gain…
    On another note, I’m emailing you something I saw in a shop window that made me laugh and laugh and I know I don’t know you well but I know you’ll like it.

    1. Thank you 🙂 Looking forward to it.

  3. I’m with you on this… I found mine when I was 21 and we had a relationship until he died 20 some years later, so I would not say I never had a father. And I think he did his ‘best’ after I found him. But he was still the man who refused to pay child support, who left us literally on the street with all our belongings when I was 4, who never called or sent a card for all those years, who made endless excuses for the inexcusable. But part of me needed him, so I kept him in my life. But I never rang him on Father’s Day or sent him a card. That was the one day of the year I really felt all that rage and resentment – if I was willing to let him off the hook, I was not willing to give him that. He’s been gone since ’99 and I miss him – but come Father’s Day, my feelings haven’t changed.
    I’ve had two husbands, and both of them had great Dads. I was especially fond of my ex’s Dad. He was here for my daughter’s wedding and I really enjoyed spending a bit of time with him again…

    1. Oh I so understand. And I’m glad you found great father-in-laws. What a blessing. 🙂

  4. Hey, there. I have enjoyed catching up with your posts. Good, good stuff. My head has just gone bonkers and am trying to get it back on track. Getting there. My older sis had a similar situation. Her dad left when she was a baby. When she was grown, he wanted to meet with her. Grown as in have kids in high school. She said yes, but then left because she just couldn’t do it. It screwed her up all her life. Men are such jerks. Suppose that’s why I never remarried: couldn’t find one that I consider worthy of me. hahahaha

    1. Glad you head is back. Going bonkers is not always a relaxing destination. Maybe someday you will find a man worthy of your fine self 🙂

  5. That was something I meant to put in my reply. I didn’t want to say “I know exactly how you feel” a) because no one EVER knows exactly how a person feels and b) I think there is probably some significance in the fact that, as you say, I never wondered.

    One thing, though, that a person might not even think about, is that, when your father is alive and you can see him, you can look for your own face in his. All I have are photos. People say I look like him, but I can’t see it, and that’s hard sometimes.

    1. Haven’t laid eyes on him in 34 years, but I can see the resemblance in photos.

      1. I know it’s painful for you, but it’s HIS loss. I mean that sincerely. You may share the loss, but not the failure.

      2. Thank you for saying that. You are absolutely right it is HIS loss. My head knows that, but my heart still wonders why.

  6. I know a little bit about how you feel, I also grew up without a father. In my case it was because he was killed a few months before I was born. I had an awesome mom, though , who taught me to throw a baseball and other manly things. She did such a great job of it that I didn’t really miss having a dad until I had boys of my own. Now I really miss a man I’ve never met.

    I get a little angry at men like your father. There are plenty of guys like my father, who wanted very much to have children, but we’re denied the opportunity by fate (or in my dad’s case, by a drunk driver).

    It’s so awesome that you met a great guy with a well-developed sense of family. I agree that growing up in a two-parent household is best, but not all fathers from single-parent homes inflict that same fate on their own children.

    I hope your husband reads this post. You said some sweet things.

    1. I’m so sorry you lost your father. And very glad that you didn’t have wonder why he left. Also glad you Mom pitched in a played both roles for you. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

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