So you’d have to be walking around in a bubble to have failed to notice all the father’s day posts across social media today, my facebook and twitter feed have been full of posts varying from those who are expressing their thanks and love felt towards their father to those saying how much they miss their now passed father. Lots of other variations were added to the mix too including the fathers who have posted how much their miss their children who their ex partner refuses to allow them access to and then the single mums posting how they do the job of both parents. All very valid and appropriate points to make.
An emotive subject for many it would seem, it wasn’t just me who struggled with fathers day celebrations. My parents split when I was around six years old and my mum brought my brother and I up alone, my dad offered little or no support; financial or otherwise. When I was eleven he emigrated to Australia and sent me a postcard to let me know he had moved. From then before I even knew what it meant to be bitter that’s how I felt. I felt abandoned and rejected but I refused to acknowledge this, instead choosing to adamantly deny that I needed a father figure in my life. Even when my father had been around he failed to protect me from his friend who hurt me in the worst way any child can be hurt so he was never going to win dad of the year but he was still my dad.
I avoided card shops each year as the shelves filled with sentiments addressed to the ‘Best dad in the world’. When my mum met her now husband during my teens I began to wonder if I ought to acknowledge this man on fathers day but just as I was considering this he became abusive and controlling. Again my vision of the father figure in my life was shattered and let down. He spent years wearing me down so I was left silenced and feeling worthless so I carried on avoiding the the card shops.
When my husband and I became parents fathers day meant something to me for the first time ever and I truly meant it when I sought out a card with a clear message that it was for the ‘Best dad in the whole world’. I fall in love with him all over again when I watch him with our daughter, they laugh for hours at jokes which only they know the meaning of and he is fiercely protective over her as a daddy should be. He is the daddy of fairy tales, the king of the castle.
Four years ago using the power of the internet I tracked down my dad after nearly twenty years of his absence from my life, as an adult I accepted he believed he had done the right thing moving abroad when I was young. He missed so many events in my life, he missed me passing my exams at school, graduating, walking me down the aisle and then having my first child. When I met him I wanted to hate him, I wanted to spit in his face and tell him he was dead to me but I grew to like the man I met. I felt I understood some parts of my life which had always been filled with questions previously. We stayed in touch and have met again since then and kept in contact via telephone. I won’t ever forget how I felt as a child however the bitterness is gone. Anger is such a waste of emotion in my opinion, I try to accept things and move on which is a tactic that has served me well throughout my 34 years.
Last year I sent my dad a fathers day card for the first time and that felt hugely significant, I struggled to find a card which didn’t rank my father as the worlds number one, a simple ‘Happy Fathers Day’ greeting is actually harder to find than you might think. I have the same struggle each mothers day but for different albeit equally complex reasons. This year I didn’t post the card until saturday and am left wondering whether part of me wanted the card to arrive late deliberately? I bet the psychoanalysts out there would have loads to say on that one!!!
Overall I realised that even when I thought a father figure in my life was irrelevant his absence was significant in the values I held as true. I feel proud of myself for choosing my husband as my life partner and the father of my child given that I did not have a basis on which to form opinions of what type of man makes a good father.
So what I wanted to say is whether fathers day is a happy one or a reflective one for you be kind to yourself and allow yourself to explore the emotions it generates in you. All I wanted was a daddy to be proud of me but I have something better I have a husband who adores our daughter and I know will always keep us safe.
Happy Fathers day to all the daddies out there who are there for their children like they should be. x