Saturday, June 17, 2017

The Choices of My Two Fathers

Father’s Day is a tough one. It’s a tough one to explain for me because it doesn’t necessarily flood my head with overwhelming childhood memories. The true meaning of what being a Father means runs deep in my brain. The true meaning of a Father and who your Father truly is isn’t always found in your DNA.

When I was 4 years old my DNA walked out the door. I have vivid memories standing there at our front door screaming and crying as he carried large green garbage bags out and didn’t come back. This is my oldest memory that I can recall on my own and I am guessing it's because it was so traumatic as a 4 year-old little girl.

I am a mother of 2 beautiful boys. As a parent, I have never understood and probably never will comprehend just how someone can walk out on their child. A child they’ve raised and loved for 4 years. I’ve been told over the years that he loved me. I have the pictures to prove that I look nothing like my Mom and every trait I carry is from his side. I have the pictures to prove that he was there as a young loving father of a curly haired little girl who has his brown eyes. I have the pictures and that’s all I have ever really had.

There’s been brief contact a few times. I met him twice. I’ve written him letters and sent Christmas cards several times. I’ve even spoken to his wife. I have never really found closure only more of what feels like rejection. The type of rejection that again as a parent I cannot wrap my head around. Who does this? I’m 41 years old and at this point I repeatedly tell myself to “get over it”. I’ve come to realize that maybe I never will. I know I could get a call one day and be told of his passing, life has proven to me more than once just how short it can be. This is actually one of my biggest fears because then, then it’s over the time will have run out and the answer to my lifelong question of “Why he didn’t want me anymore” will forever go answered.

Now this may just seem like a sad story and maybe it is but luckily for me there was someone who did want me. There was someone who chose to love me. He had a choice and he chose me. He decided to love, provide, guide, discipline, teach and to be my Dad. He didn’t have to but he did. He’s my Dad. He’s been my Dad since I was 5 years old. Looking back I don’t really remember how it exactly came to be but awhile into it, I do remember the first time I ever called him “Dad”. He was getting home from an overnight and I ran out to his truck. He was a truck driver. As he was stepping down from the truck I was standing there looking up waiting to give him a hug saying “Daddy, Daddy”. He didn’t correct me and from that day on he was my “Daddy”. 

He was always there for me and even more so as an adult. He was a far better father as I got older and as I had children.  He changed a lot from the person he was when I was growing up to who he was when he passed and we were actually closer as I became an adult. He was a protector, a problem solver and a bossy giver of all the advice. He didn’t always have all the mushy words of love and praise but he loved me like a father should. He was proud of me. He loved me and the family I created.  I was his girl, his Meathead and the grown woman that he’d still tickle the knees of in the car when we were together. This is a Father. I never referred to him as my step-father. Some people won’t even know he was until they read this. He was my Dad, there was never a question and we didn’t need DNA or the same name to prove it.

Being a Father is a privilege. Being a Father and Being a Father have two totally separate definitions. It comes with great responsibility and it’s not just biological. It comes when someone is present. It comes with someone who is there for his children even if they aren’t “his”.  It comes with LOVE and it's a CHOICE.  

There's truth in the choices you make. 

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