I have friends who have lost their dads. Others who, like me, haven’t spoken to their fathers in years. There are also many who have difficult relationships with their fathers, and of course some that have wonderful relationships. Unfortunately I think that last group is in the minority.
I’ve often wondered how not having a father in my life has shaped me. I’d like to think that I don’t have “daddy issues”, but how would that even be possible? Maybe it is better to say that I haven’t acted on them. Or something like that.
I haven’t seen or spoken to my father in over 25 years. I’ve told myself that the greatest thing my father ever did was to let me go. That he loved me so much that he didn’t want to suck me back into his world. Still, it is hard.
On our last meeting, we had dinner at a seafood restaurant. Just the two of us. Honestly, I was a bit frightened. In fact, after my mother dropped me off, she went to the hostess and said that if anything strange happened at our table, she should call the police immediately.
It wasn’t all in our heads. He did admit thinking about pulling a switch. My sister was living with his mother then. He said he thought about keeping me and giving my sister back. Of course he didn’t. It was also far more complicated than that. He also made fun of the dress I was wearing.
One summer when I was back east staying with my grandmother (and father), there was one of those weird storms that only happen along the eastern seaboard. It seems to come out of nowhere, and the barometric pressure drops suddenly. So does the temperature. The color of the sky becomes very eerie and foreboding.
We were watching the clouds come in from the living room windows. The sudden changes in the air caused me to feel faint. I remember my father scooping me up in his arms and carrying me off to my bed. It was probably the safest I had ever felt. He wasn’t all bad.
I chose him after all. When my parents announced they were getting divorced, and asked me who I wanted to live with, I picked him. I was eight. What did I know?
Maybe because I’ve dealt with it longer, Father’s Day doesn’t bother me as much as Mother’s Day. It probably doesn’t hurt that it isn’t quite a hard sell, and in your face. Still, I’m looking forward to Monday.