Growing Up Fatherless

Father Daughter Dances, being walked down the isle, shotgun introductions when boys come to the house, someone to run to- I think they call that a “father”. I never had a father, and when he was around when I was very young there was a lot of abuse that occurred. It never dawned on me that I was “fatherless” until I was in 5th grade maybe.

I remember it so vividly, in the Garfield Elementary lunch line and Samantha, with her super long dark hair, randomly says “my dad died when I was 5…is your dad alive?” I wanted to respond with “uh, maybe? I don’t really know cause… well… uh..” But I just said yes. She told me how much she missed her dad and wished he was around and that I was lucky my daddy was still alive. That was the moment it clicked for me. My dad wasn’t around, but he was alive, which was a plead Samantha had. She told me she would pray that God would bring her daddy back, she’d promise to always listen to her mom, get good grades, she would do anything to have her daddy back. And there I was with only milk on my tray thinking how lucky I was that at least my dad was still alive and I couldn’t even fathom the hurt Samantha must have felt. In my young naive mind right then and there I realized that I was still lucky.

Now I know that sounds totally psychotic, how can your dad abuse you and yet you feel lucky he’s at least alive. Let me explain. Samantha LOVED her dad. Vegas Friend LOVED his dad. One of my favorite people on this planet LOVED their dad. But they are gone now, passed away way too early. I never had a relationship with my father. If I loved him I didn’t know it or feel it. I didn’t feel anything. I didn’t lose him, I just lost the opportunity to have a father.

There is a difference between being fatherless and never having a dad to begin with, and being fatherless because your dad passed away or was an absent father.

When Father’s Day comes around, sure it’s a little hard for me. Not because I don’t have a dad, but because it’s a reminder of what my “dad” did. I don’t get angry with those who do have a dad. I am not jealous of those who have great relationships with their father- what purpose would that serve me? You wouldn’t whine and hold a grudge about your friend having the bigger piece of cake, would you? Of course not, that’s childish! It’s the same for this. We are all dealt a different set of cards for our life. You can gather your cards and come up with a plan, make peace with what you have and make the most of it. Or you can take your cards and throw them at other people, lust over others cards and never truly be content.

Fathers play such an incredibly important role in their children’s life. I see it in Ass/Kicker Moms husband, I see it in Vegas Friend, I see it in my male coworkers who have children. There is nothing you can do to change being “fatherless”. My dad and I aren’t going to come together and have some magical relationship where he teaches me to change a tire. That’s what AAA is for. Instead of being jerky about not having a dad I instead have been able to learn how truly awesome dads can be through others.

It is tricky to know that your “father” who is supposed to be the muscles and heart to protect you from every thing, is the one who fed you to the wolves. But it is much harder to live with that hatred and pain for your entire life than it is to cleanse your soul and allow your heart to heal. I truly believe it is through watching other people who are amazing dads that I have come to terms with not having one.

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