I often hear people giving thanks to the strong women that raised them. Mentions of a dad’s impact is rare. Perhaps because it’s a mystery to me personally, but I long for more stories about great men raising children.
I have a fantastic life. I’m in a solid relationship. I’m healthy. I have wonderful friends. I have everything I need. I recently realized; however, I’ll never know unconditional love for a father. I don’t know if that’s a regret, because I have no idea what it might feel like.
Last month, a friend’s father passed away. I knew him; he was a great man. At the service, the tributes by his three sons rocked my tears hard. He was such a good father that it’s made his sons better fathers.
My parents divorced when I was four. At that age, I remember sitting close to the television to get a better idea of Bugs Bunny’s predicament, as if my proximity to the subject might help. I never heard my parents fight, so I didn’t pull my chair closer to their door to figure out what was wrong in their marriage.
My mother met and married another man. She went to court and had my father relinquish his rights to my three brothers and me. Her new husband adopted us. (My frame of reference is limited, but I know he was an awful stepfather. The only value I gained from his hand in my upbringing was to know what not to become.) I was six. My job was to eat the cereal I saw advertised while watching the Jetsons.
TV makes us want things. It made me want a father. Most families I saw on TV had two parents. Dads handed over advice as easily as car keys.
I don’t have children. I have friends with kids. Of those still married, I see the dad’s happiness from the chance they get to be involved daily. When I see a couple divorce I often sense the father-child relationship weaken.
I often hear people giving thanks to the strong women that raised them. Mentions of a dad’s impact is rare. I had great women in my life, too. Perhaps because it’s a mystery to me personally, but I long for more stories about great men raising children.
My birth father passed away in 2004. Since he’d given up his parental rights, I wasn’t listed as a survivor. I wanted to scream out, “He has a son!” I went to court, had my adopted name removed and his restored. It’s weird to change my name mid-way through life, but women do it. Even if I don’t have a father emotionally, I still have a father.
I watched the movie, Chef. Sure, I wanted (and made) a Cuban sandwich after, but the best part of the film was the relationship between the father and son. If anyone wins an Academy award, perhaps they’ll thank their dad.
If it can be written, it can be done.