Father’s Day is today & I will be honest enough to tell you that until recently I really did not know how to celebrate Father’s Day. Aside from buying my mother a card & a small gift or wishing my uncles a Happy Father’s Day; I never thought much more about the day because it never has had much significance in my life.
As you have read in my memoirs, Accepting Failure & The Best Side of Me , I was raised by a single mother who for a good while posed the role of “dad” in my life. I cannot tell you what it is like to have my biological father love me, love into me, protect me or be an example of the kind of man I should marry. Though in the past I have tried to, I have failed to recognize if any of his features look back at me when I stare at my reflection in the mirror. Even if it was possible, I would not even know what feature of his to compare it to because his face is not a face I have seen in my lifetime. But even in his absence certain things are very clear to me. Though I cannot visualize a face to his name, he has given me a clear visual of the type of man I would not want to be the father of my children or the kind of man I will not raise my son to be. Though in the past it often left me feeling unwanted; I am totally ok with his absence. Because if I told you what my heart feels you would understand my lack of curiosity.
Despite not having a father in my life, I do know what it is like to be loved by someone who did not have a hand in physically creating me but has had a significant impact on the person I am today. I know what it is to be reprimanded through love & given advice by someone who looked at me (though not his) as a little girl who was worth it. I know what it is to have someone remind me every day that blood is not always thicker & love means more than any last name I could be given. I also know that it takes a special person to look at me, regardless of the times I have attempted to throw him away & still claim me as his.
Even if he is not my biological father you can not tell me he is not my dad. As an adult I can reflect on the lessons he has taught me. It is because of him I am honest. He taught me that I must be accountable for what I say. I know it is because of him I am a realist because all things are not always just black & white. He taught me how to throw my first punch & he was on my side when I finally told Mom that I no longer wanted to wear cartoon characters on my clothes (she was crushed). Even as I transitioned through my life the lessons have never stopped coming.
Up until May 2017, my mother & him have not seen each other in over 15 years. Yet, somehow, he & I have maintained our relationship. A relationship that truly grows stronger as I get older. I am older now & do not take for granted how blessed my life has been with his presence. It was not until I turned 25 that I started to call him dad & that is the only sure way I can tell him I love him just as much as he loves me.
I struggled growing up without a biological father. I was hurt that my family did not look like others & I was bruised because I could not understand why my biological father did not want me. I learned really early on though, that it had nothing to do with me but everything to do with him & his inability to accept himself which in turn made him unable to accept me. In his absence though, I have learned the most valuable lesson I could ever learn all my life. Take heed to this lesson as it will save you from blaming yourself from the things you cannot control. This alone will remind you that you are worth more than what someone else may have overlooked. You cannot change the minds of the people who choose not to stay. In turn, you should always value the people who have chosen to stay even when you have made it hard for them. I learned to be grateful for the people God has removed from my life because I can only imagine what I have been protected from. I believe God removes people & places people in your life because he knows the impact their energy can have on you. I promise I thank God often for placing a “stranger” in my life when I was two & making him one of my very best friends at twenty-nine. Life is all about experiences that mold you. What others see as a sad story is actually a success story for me. There are not many people who are as “rich” as I am. Despite the odds they said were against me, it is so lit to have someone who has invested in me so much that even my mom cringes from the similarities (lol). I have been blessed beyond compare & I thank him so much for choosing me. Happy Father’s Day, Dad.