This Father’s Day is a time of reflection on what it means to be a father for me. The man that raised me wasn’t my biological father, but he was awesome. He embodied to my sister and me everything a father could be. My biological father had little to do with my life after 1991 when he and my mother divorced. Even today I haven’t seen him since 2007, I think, in the summer when he and I went fishing.
I don’t blame him anymore. In fact, I’ve forgiven him. But my father’s exit and Garry’s entry into my family’s life also brought hurt to another family.
You see as good as Garry was to my sister and me, he had a daughter of his own. A daughter he didn’t see often. His daughter was treated the same way, in a lot of respects, my sister and I were by our biological father.
The scope of all that occurred between all the respective families is way too complicated for a short blog post. All I know is that my father’s relationship with my mother wasn’t healthy; nor was Garry’s relationship with his ex-wife healthy.
My hope is that my father was the dad to his current wife’s children growing up that Garry was to me and my sister. I hope my dad was a great dad to someone. Her kids deserved a great dad, just like my sister and I did, just like Garry’s daughter did. I also hope he’s been a great grandfather to the grandkids that are in his life.
In broken relationships the kids are the ones who hurt the most.
Another man I miss is my mom’s dad, my Papaw Ed. He was a man of decreasing patience as my sister and I were growing up. He was great once my sister and I grew up, but had little patience for us when we were little. I asked my grandmother how she thinks he would have been around my son and niece. She wasn’t sure he could handle them with his decreased patience. But I miss him and the conversations we would have.
While I miss him with tears in my eyes right now, I am still grateful for Mr. Johnny. He’s the man in my grandmother’s life. He has more patience than Mother Teresa, at least with the kids. My son and niece love Mr. Johnny so much. He walks with them holding their hand while feeding fish to keep them from falling in the water.
Back to Garry. God called him home December 2008. My sister was pregnant with my niece when he received his calling. He was so excited about her upcoming entry into the world but didn’t get to meet her. Nor did he get to meet my son. My wife wasn’t pregnant at the time; it would be a few more months before that would happen.
As hard as Garry’s death was, and is at times, another man came into my mother’s life who has made a great grandfather for my son and niece. Mr. La has extreme patience for them too. He does so much for them. I’m glad my son has two grandfathers from my side who he can bond with.
My life as a dad hasn’t been all roses without thorns. I’ve made many mistakes in my parenting life. Being a dad is something that helped to change me from the man I was to who I am still becoming. By God’s grace I have grown into a better man, husband, father, employee and much more. I know who I want to be in the life of my son. I don’t always know how to do it, but I persist.
I am saddened this Father’s Day because my biological father didn’t make an effort, for whatever reason, to have a relationship with me growing up or even now as an adult with my own family.
I am saddened because Garry is gone and isn’t here to celebrate with me.
I am saddened that my Papaw isn’t here for me to talk to one more time.
In my sadness, I find happiness because I have a son to celebrate Father’s Day with.
I find happiness in Johnny being with my grandmother to fill a hole that was left in 2001 so that my son can know the love of another man.
I find happiness in Larry being with my mother to fill a hole that was left in 2008 so that my son can know the love of another man.
Fathers out there, seek reconciliation with your kids if you’re estranged from them this Father’s Day. If you’re a father to someone’s child who isn’t yours continue to love them as though they were, but seek to be in the lives of your biological kids.
There is so much more I could write on this topic, but 800 words is a little long for the blog I intend to produce.