As easy as Mother’s Day is for me to celebrate…such strong feelings of love and laughter…the opposite is true for me with Father’s Day. There are some who might say I have “Daddy Issues”. Not in the sense of being sexually drawn to men to fulfill a father type role in my life, but in that complicated, unsettled way. He wasn’t there as a parent both physically and emotionally. His choice. Thankfully, my mom was.
What does that mean?
Although my parents divorced when I was 10, my dad had been slowly becoming a nonentity in our household much further back. In fact, this picture taken in Germany was probably one of the last times we were really just being close and hanging out… Once we moved back to the Philippines he got caught up in wanting to go out and party with his friends and would forget to come home except every once in a while…and usually just to sleep.
When my youngest brother died, it was the last straw, both for my parents’ marriage and my father’s coping abilities. I suspect that it was easier for him to pretend we didn’t exist than to be there for us. If it weren’t for my grandparents and the rest of his family, I suspect we would have lost contact completely.
For a long time I was hurt, angry….yes, even a bit bitter. It made me careful in my own relationships. I didn’t want to take the chance of bringing a child into this world and making him feel the way I did. I didn’t want them to cry with bittersweet disappointment over songs written about Fathers and their kids…knowing that they’d been robbed of such a special, unique bond. That hurt…Jimmy Wayne get’s it right in his song…along with a sense of hope once you finally let go of your anger and hurt (one of the hardest parts).
I doubt my relationship with my biological father will ever be easy or simple. Too much water under that bridge. But I’m not angry anymore. The better word to describe my emotions? Wistful. There’s a part of me that understands that there’s a bond most fathers have with their children, not just their daughters. I’ll always feel a tug at my heart when I hear one of those awesome songs that describes what a loving father/child relationship can be like.
But you know what? I did the next best thing. I found a person to share my life who values family. Believe me, I tested him. There’s a reason it took 16 years before we finally decided to get married. Thank goodness for patience (his, that is). Any children I may have will never wonder if they mattered. That won’t be a question in their vocabulary.
As for my father? Over the years of trials and heartaches I’ve remembered I have a Father who’s loved me all along. Like Amy Grant sings… When the world looks at me, I want them to say I have my Father’s Eyes. There’s a peace in realizing he’s loved, protected me and accepted me unconditionally all along.
Having said all this…Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there who take the time to be parents to their children. For me, there’s not much cooler than a man who absolutely adores his kids.