Father’s day has always been a strange day for me. I grew up in a single-parent household with a mother who was more than capable of holding down the roles of both parents. My father did not take an active role in my life. With the exception of visits and phone calls here and there, he was a quasi-presence, an oddity, an elusive figure (still is). After 31 years, I must admit that it’s a shame when you still don’t know your own father (and he doesn’t know you either).
I’m at a point now where the hope of any real relationship or bonding with him is somewhat faint. If it happens, great. If it doesn’t that’s fine, too. Sad, but fine. Guess when the child grows up it becomes harder for the parent to relate after being away for so long. Or maybe they’re apprehensive or scared to connect because they feel you may reject them. Maybe it’s guilt. Or the scars that linger from their own father’s absence and abandon that prevents them from doing the right thing with their own child/children.
I’ve had countless discussions over the years with my mother about why my father was rarely around. And she always gave me her honest answers, without bashing my father in any way. Most importantly, she did not want me blaming myself for his absence. As a child, it was still hard not to feel this way because I didn’t yet understand all of the reasons why. No matter what, a bit of pain, sadness, and anger remained. As I mentioned in a previous post, my insecurities, feelings of rejections, depression, and thinking I wasn’t “good enough” stem from my father not being around. I’ve spent an extensive amount of time working on this over the years.
The last time I spoke with my father was about three years ago. He began telling me what he thought I wanted to hear about why he was never around, but not what I needed to here. He said he wanted to try to have a real relationship with me, or in other words “start fresh.” Honestly, I was taken aback. First of all, the phone call was out of the blue (as they always are). And second of all, the whole scenario was giving me the “here we go again” feeling. While I was open to the possibility, I wondered if he actually meant it. Did he truly want to reconcile? Would he actually follow through?
The memories of my father saying he was going to do something and never actually following through with it are the ones that cut the deepest. I remember how I felt during those times, and I knew that I did not wish to go back to feeling that way ever again. And now three years have gone by, and we’re still right back where we were three, five, seven, ten, fifteen years prior.
Maybe one day, things will change. Maybe they won’t. Maybe I’ll have to extend myself even more (than I have over the years) to try to move things along. Sometimes people do need the extra push and encouragement to make change happen. But one does have to ask, at what point is enough enough? I welcome the chance to reconcile as long as my father is serious about it. I have no intentions however, of being strung along anymore. That’s pain I don’t need.
Whatever happens is destined for reasons that only divine knows at this point. Realize, I hold no grudges. I’ve forgiven my father (and myself) for it all. I wish nothing but the best for him in all things. And I just wanted to say, Happy Father’s Day!
Happy Father’s Day to all fathers! Never underestimate the role you play in your child’s life. Never take for granted how pivotal you are in your child’s growth and development. Your presence (physical and emotional), involvement, guidance, and support is more powerful and significant than you may think. Be engaged. Be committed. Be present. We need you.