Today, I come to you on a very personal note.
I am an older woman (will not share my age) who has NEVER seen my father. As I child, I dealt with issues of resentment. I always wondered why my father chose not to be a part of my life. My mother thought that I was brilliant and invested a lot of time in me, but I always wondered what caused my father to be so distant. I remember talking to him, on the phone, two times in my life. I remember the year that I went to Florida to meet my father. He was supposed to come from New York to meet me, but he never came or called. During this time, GOD blessed me with the pleasure of meeting my grandmother, grandfather, three (3) aunts, and my baby brother. It was an experience that I will never forget and one that has actually kept them dear to my heart for years, BUT I never saw my father.
As a teenager, I was not lost or running around trying to find a man to love me and replace my father (stereotype of the fatherless child). I wasn’t bitter and full of hate; my mother’s love wouldn’t allow that. Yet, I wondered where he was. In my earlier years, I dreamed about what he looked like and what our first meeting would be like. Later in my teenage years, I managed to forget all about him. I mean…he forgot about me. Why should I care about who he was or where he was? After all, he abandoned me. My lack of understanding transitioned into not caring to understand the father that I never had.
As an adult, he was good as forgotten! I had moved on with my life. I didn’t have a long list of men that had used and abused me. I was not a weak woman who didn’t understand a man’s role. I had been introduced to great men throughout my life and they taught me about what a man was supposed to be, how a woman should be treated, and the standards required for a good woman (shout-out to all my male family members and friends of the family who made a difference in my life). I had to include that part because this is also a stereotype that people come up with. You have to understand that the stories of fatherless women are not all the same.
In my later years, I met a wonderful man who was in a similar situation, but had the strength to overcome it. He asked questions about my father and through this strength, I started thinking about my father more. Yet, I was determined that it was water under the bridge and not worth my time. One night, this man talked to me for hours and hours about the importance of connecting with my father. This wasn’t the first time that we spoke about it, but I believe that GOD was speaking through him that evening. GOD has a unique way of delivering messages, especially to a stubborn woman. That night, he led me down a road that forced me to reflect.
I reflected on the time that I went to Florida and almost drowned in a pool, but was saved by my grandfather. I reflected on the time when my grandmother sat me down, talked to me, and introduced me to her fashionable purses (I even remembered the design of my favorite purse). I reflected on the time that I met my little brother and we talked while riding in the back of the van. He was super skinny and full of life. I hated to see him leave although I had just met him. I reflected on dancing in the room with my aunt. She was only 16, but she was fly! I remember my other aunt coming from college and me admiring her dedication and to her education…even during the break. I remembered meeting my other aunt. She was cool, down-to-earth, and I swore I would visit her when I grew up. I reflected and reflected and reflected, but I had no good memories, no good feelings about my father.
I cried that night. All of the pain, all of my feelings, all of the disappointments hit me at one time. How could he? What did I do to deserve this? Why should I reach out to him? I even distanced myself from the man that asked me to reconsider reaching out to my father. I felt that no one understood this pain. This man would not give up on encouraging me to find my father. Our conversations caused me to think about my brother, aunts, and grandparents…the people who took the time to connect with me. Even though it was one time, it was an experience that lasted a lifetime. Finally, I cracked and begin the search. Thanks to the Internet I found them!
My aunt was full of live and love. My brother was a funny man with a great personality and a story. His story was one that provided understanding and encouraged me in a way that he will never know or understand. Hearing their voices caused a change in my heart…I decided to connect with my father.
Today, I have been talking to my father for 2 years and he is coming to see me tomorrow. I will be meeting him for the first time in my life.
Why did I decide to share this story? As you embark on your journey in life, there are some open books that you must close. There are a lot of people who are adopted, meeting family members for the first time, or full of regret for what has never been. These are things that we try to ignore or simply forget, but we can’t. If you have a grudge or feel like it is not worth investing in a relationship with an absent parent, I challenge you to change your way of thinking. We were all young once and at some point and time, we made mistakes. It is the game of life. Aren’t there things that you have done that you wish someone would just forgive you for? Be the bigger person and close the gap.
For the fathers who have been absent in your child’s life, for whatever reason. Now is your time to reach out. If you are a person, full of hate because of the way that your parental situation turned out, I challenge you to let it go. Start building. You cannot get missed time back, but you have the opportunity to embark on a new journey. You can find the missing piece of your puzzle. Go For It! Just remember that it takes two people. One can’t work to be forgiven if the other is not willing to forgive. The father that I never had now has the opportunity to be the best father that he can be.
Love & Peace!
Photo Credit: http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20101110/news/news2.html