Well, it only took 28 years for me to get emotional about Father’s Day.
Up to now I’ve always told myself, and others, that it probably worked for the best that I never met my father, and hence, that he’s never been a part of my life. Curious thing to say, right? Thing is, the father relationships that surrounded me growing up have always been complicated ones. Not necessarily bad ones, just complicated: divorced parents, step-father, emotionally withdrawn, not around, etc. From what I understand, my dad wasn’t ready to be a dad, and he made that clear to my mom. So why would I want someone in my life who didn’t want me in theirs? I prefer that I’ve been brought up by people who love and care for me, as opposed to someone who felt obligated to do so; I think any issues I have would have been exacerbated by a father who didn’t care to be a father to me. Nothing that happened today changes my mind about that.
Now that I’m older, I’m seeing relationships that are less complicated. Jeff’s dad is a great example, as is my uncle, who is constantly at baseball games and family vacations with his kids and family. During the sermon at church today (after which my mom gave me a book titled “Rediscover Catholicism,” but that’s neither here nor there for purposes of this post), the priest recalled stories of time spent with his dad, like going to pick rocks at the Santa Ana river bed, which they later used to for various projects in the garden. He recounted these stories with a certain…I dunno…sparkle? Maybe not the right word, but you could just hear in his voice how much he enjoyed spending those moments with his dad. Jeff’s often recounted similar stories to me, with the same “sparkle” and enthusiasm.
I haven’t thought very much about what I’ve missed out on. I guess maybe when I was little I did. But I can’t remember it anymore. Maybe that’s why today just hit me out of no where. What if my dad is actually a great dad to the children he has now? What stories will they have to share about their dad that I don’t? I’ve always told myself that I haven’t missed out by not having my dad around, but what if I have?
I think those are questions I’ll never know the answer to. Today was the first day I asked myself if I’m really ok with that.