A Tale of Two Fathers

As we celebrate Fathers and all the Dads (both with us and who’ve left us way too soon, leaving a giant hole where they used to be), reflection is natural.

In real life, my bio-dad wasn’t much there for me, but my step-dad who came into my life when I was nearly out of the house has been there for pretty much every milestone and hard time I’ve come across, and I’m grateful.

It also got me thinking about the awesome new release by the awesome author S.H. Timmins. This is a New Adult coming of age book with an awesome cast of characters to fall in love with and villains to seriously hate. Why am I mentioning this book on Father’s Day?

Well, imagine you’re a youngster from the wrong side of the tracks and your grandmother passed away leaving you and your single mother pretty much homeless. Shortly after the funeral, a wealthy man pulls up, talks to your mom, and before you know it you’re living a new life in a new home on the right side of the tracks. Turns out the guy was her mom’s boss and he offered to “rescue” them if her mother would be his wife, become mother to his son (the same age as the young girl), and never look back at her past.

Doesn’t sound too horrible so far, right? I mean, he took the little girl, Jolene, in and put her in all the best schools. How very altruistic, right? But things aren’t all that they seem. Especially after her mother dies, leaving her alone and in this man’s care.

Of course, there’s another dad in this story. He was the man Jolene’s mom had been dating before her grandmother died. His son, Cruz, was Jolene’s best friend in the whole world, and they both adored her.

Turns out that Cruz’s dad and Jo’s mom had been high school sweethearts, they’d broken up and he married Cruz’s mother because she needed his help. She found herself dumped by her college boyfriend and pregnant with a family who kicked her out. He stepped up. Even knowing Cruz wasn’t his, he married the friend in need which cost him his chance with Jo’s mom.

And yet he never looked back. Until his wife passed away from a terrible accident and they reconnected through their kids. Sounds like a good man, too. Right?

And yet one is an amazing person and one is a monster. The type of villain you can’t forgive or forget with no redeeming qualities whatsoever. In Echoes of Us, Timmins wrote the characters so well that I felt actual hate for a fictional character. I cheered for goodness to win. Nearly died in anticipation of comeuppance and justice for the wronged. And the romance? Ooh la la! Yummy!

Curious? Don’t believe me? Check the book out. I dare ya! I guarantee you’ll love all the twists and turns and you’ll become a huge fan of hers. Just. Like. Me.

A Father’s Love

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.

With Dad Me, my little sis and my bio dad

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.