I used to dread Father’s Day. I’d watch friends and other family members celebrate every year and all I wanted to do was hide under the covers all day. You see, my father chose not to be a part of my life. My mother and father parted ways when I was 3 months old and that was it.
I was luckier than a lot of kids though; I had a birth certificate with his name on it, and I had a few pictures. I also had a small photo album that had several pictures of him as a child; typical photos that young boys have of themselves such as the cowboy hat and pony ride, photos with family members, and I think there is even the obligatory photo with the baseball bat if memory serves me correctly.
As you can see, he was a handsome man….so I often wondered how gracefully he had aged. I wondered about who he ended up marrying, who his children might be – you know, the things that you’d expect someone who never knew their father to wonder.
About 20 years ago, after finding out his social security number through a union he belonged to (something that would NEVER happen in this day and age) I wrote a letter to him and went to the nearest social security office and asked them to forward it. In the letter I promised that I wanted nothing more than to at least communicate with my father once in my lifetime. He had two grandchildren and I wanted to share that with him. I thought maybe, just maybe he was wondering about me too but was afraid to make the first move. I received no response back.
Fantasy vs. Reality.
Fast forward to last year, I managed to briefly communicate with a distant relative of his (who introduced me via e-mail to another relative) and now I know – he never received that letter, he had already passed away by the time it was mailed. He must have passed away just about the time my mother did (who was 50 years young at the time). So the fantasy I had all these years – that perhaps one of my parents led a drama free life came to a crashing halt. Instead, both were troubled souls, unable to deal with what life had to offer.
So after reading today’s blog post Father’s Day Phone Call & Choice by Ryan Estis, who asked –- “so, how to choose when confronted with those hard 15 minutes”? I choose to send my forgiveness and my love to the father I never knew. I also choose to be proud of myself for being someone who learns from her mistakes, meets challenges head on and manages to land on her feet. No excuses, no blaming others…no matter what.
The irony of it all is that I firmly believe that I inherited my inner strength from my father (and mother). Too bad neither one of them knew that they had it in them all along.