Sunday, June 18, 2006

Father Day Thoughts

Father's Day. This has always been a tough one for me. My parents divorced when I was 4 and my mother almost immediately remarried. Therefore, my step-father was the predominate father in my life.

I love my biological father to the depths of my soul. But, he is a quiet man who is lost in himself. He has never been one to reach out to people. His children included. There are more never's on my list when it comes to him being a dad.
He never held me at night when I had a nightmare. He was never there at birthdays. He wasn't at my High School graduation. He wasn't there when I said my wedding vows. He didn't attend the birth of my children.He barely knows his grandchildren.

But, in spite of all of this I still love him dearly. Because he never turned me away when I came to him. He just never reached out to me.

He was there when I ran away from home and needed a place to live.
He tried to defend me when his girlfriend threw me out.
He fixed my car when I failed to put oil in it and I blew a rod out the side of the engine.
He rescued me in the middle of the night when the water pump failed on my car.

I am saddened beyond belief when I see him. He exists in his own world. His hearing is gone and communication is strained. I have always made an effort and point to see him and involve him in my life and be involved in his. I don't blame him. I love him. He never intentionally hurt me. He just lives in a world of regrets and it has consumed him.

In spite of all this I have always admired him and held him in great esteem. I see him through 4 year old eyes and I always will. He is the quiet hero in my life.

On the other hand, my step-father was there for the good and bad times. He was the best and worst father a man could be. No in-between. There are parts of him I love dearly and others I hate. So many people see abusers as cut and dried "bad" people. Nothing excuses the terrible things he did. But, that is not all he is. He is the man who...

...brought home an abandoned kitten to a wide-eyed little girl
....bravely sat still and let a group of kids shave his face
....paid for my first perm and then stopped on the side of the road and bought me roses and carnations to cheer me up when it turned out to be a disaster....
carved vampire teeth out of watermelon rind. We loved running around the beach chasing each other with them
....he taught me how to work on my car and the names of tools
....built four little girls a tree fort
....taught me drive a car, a boat, back a trailer down a boat ramp.

I have a lot of wonderful memories as a child because of him. It is sad too that these memories are countered by the terribleness he caused. He taught me how wonderful and awful life can be.

So, you can see why today is an awkward day for me. I grieve in silence for the want of a loving, giving father. I have alway been envious of father-daughter relationship as they should be. It is something I have always craved and will never have. I miss it and it hurts.

So, on Father's day I try to focus on the good times I had with my "Dads" and tuck away the grief for other times.