Life’s order is that children say goodbye to their parents only when they die, except in my case. My father didn’t want to be part of my life, so he ran away from his responsibility before I was born. He hid behind the shadow of a new family and only came out after a judge ruled against him in a child support suit thirteen years later.
I wish my life were less dramatic and things had worked out. But, reality surpasses fiction: my Dad ran in and out of my life several times, until I asked him to leave and locked the door of my heart behind him.
Everything came to a head on Father’s Day 2014. I was with my son—two-years-old at the time—at the supermarket buying my husband’s greeting card, and I saw the shelf with the grandad’s. I took one, and after reading the beautiful message, I remembered that my dad hadn’t called me in more than three months, missing my son’s birthday and mine.
I don’t know why I bought the card. When I got home I sat in our study and after I signed it, “With love, your grandson,” I sobbed like a baby. The card never made it to the post and that day I began a journey to take my father out of my life forever.
A couple of weeks before Thanksgiving of that year, my father called me to talk about the economy and the new tires on his car. It was only when he heard my baby cry in the background that he asked, “Oh, by the way, how is he?” So, later that evening, I wrote him the last letter in which I recalled the twenty years that passed since we met, and I asked him to set both of us free from the ties of a relationship none of us wanted.
His fatherhood was nothing more than a wounded deer, which never found its path and got lost in a forest of silence and pride.
After I mailed the letter I felt like a villain. I went against my Christian values and the fifth commandment of honoring my father. But, I simply refused to allow my father to turn my son into another victim of his indifference.
It has been almost two years and my husband still can’t believe that my dad has never tried to reach me. I, on the contrary, feel thankful. For the first time he acted out of love and vanished from my life so he wouldn’t hurt me anymore. Today, my wounds are healed and I can write about this without crying.
My father is a ghost—of flesh and bone—who will only come into to the light when my son questions his whereabouts. I didn’t know my dad very well, but my relationship with him taught me that loving is not a duty, but a decision of free will.
Before my son was born, Father’s Day had no meaning to me. If anything, it was a double Mother’s Day for my mom. It was my husband who showed me the value of the relationship between a father and his children, and its importance to shape character and self-esteem. My mother did everything she could to provide me with a parental figure while I was growing up. However, she was too beautiful to grow a mustache or a beer belly.
People talk about the importance of a father figure in the life of a boy, but not so much in the life of a girl. For example, regardless of the divorce, my husband has never missed a birthday, a game, or any other relevant event in his daughter’s life. Because of this, my stepdaughter is a strong and self-confident girl who doesn’t get influenced easily by peer pressure.
Fathers don’t need to be superheros. They just have to be there to tell their children on their birthdays, “I’m glad you were born.“
I hope all the good fathers I know and follow me had a wonderful day. My hubby was pretty spoiled: he played golf three days in a row, flashed a new PGA outfit, and ate baby ribs until he said “oink-oink!” Nothing is too much for such an awesome Dad.
Thank you for reading and sharing,