Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day

Any man can be a father, but it takes a real man to be a Daddy. We've all heard the saying, but what does it really mean? To me, it means that fatherhood extends far beyond just getting a woman pregnant. It's about being there. It's about putting your child before you put yourself. It's about sharing in joys and comforting pains. It's about loving through the tears and making everything all better, even when you know it's not always okay. It's about always being the man your baby girl can count on when other men break her heart. It's about loving someone else more than you will ever love yourself. Today should be hubby's first father day, but as you know it didn't work out that way. I do know that he will fulfill the Daddy role in a beautiful and awesome way. Our time will come....
My parents split up when I was 2 or 3 and I lived with my mom. I saw my dad every weekend and he was very involved in my life. I have some amazing memories of times with my dad. Daddy/daughter days. Puzzles. Models (the kind you build not the kind you stare at.) Bike rides. Pizza on Fridays. Fishing trips to LBI. Barbies. Family Dinners on Sundays. T.G.I.F, Hunter and Sisters. 610 WIP on my way to school. In fact,  Angelo (broadcaster on WIP) used to do a Winners/Weasels contest every week. I won one week when I nominated my dad as my winner and Angelo as my weasel. (Angelo was having a dad of the year contest and I named him my weasel because he never announced the way to nominate to your dad so I missed my chance.) I had the best of both worlds: a mom who loved me and a dad, step-mom and step-brother who loved me. I belonged to two families.

When I was 12, my dad broke up with his girlfriend, Marianne. I remember it like it was yesterday and I was crushed. They sat me down on the love seat and told me they were breaking up. Marianne was crying. I was crying. My father was visibly shaken. My only concern at that moment was making sure Marianne and her family would still be coming to my Bat Mitzvah. They were. I was so happy my 2nd family was still coming to my celebration that I didn't even think about how this break-up could change my life. After Marianne and my dad split-up, his priorities changed.

I won't go into all the details but the last fatherly thing my biological dad for me was walk out on my high school graduation. It was June 16, 1998 and it was his birthday. I watched him walk out just after my entire class was announced and it sucked. I got home and called a bar; I knew he'd be there. He told me that it was his birthday and his friends were waiting for him. I told him "if you couldn't stay at my graduation, don't come to my graduation party." That was it, I was done. Some of you reading that may think it was pretty harsh. I don't. I was 17 years old and had been dealing with a lot of let downs for about 4 years.

When I was pregnant last year, I thought a lot about trying to reconnect with my dad. After all, like it or not, he will be my child's grandfather and who am I to take that relationship away from my baby. Before I had the chance to decide what to do, we terminated the pregnancy. Decision made. Three months after we lost the baby, my uncle died. Uncle Tony is my godfather and my father's brother. He has always been a special part of my life, even though ending my relationship with my father did impact my relationship with that side of the family. I wasn't really welcome anymore. It hurt, but I got over it. My uncle was always there whenever I needed him and was the first one to step up when my mom was in the hospital in 2006.(Happy Father's Day, Uncle Tony. I'm sorry I couldn't text you today.)

I saw my dad at my Uncle's funeral this past December and starting thinking about the day that I get the call that he's ill. What will I do? I have no idea. How will I feel? I have no clue. I do know that he's my father, and without him I wouldn't be who I am today. We learn just as much from our negative experiences as we do from our positive. I do know that I have some really wonderful memories from my childhood and a part of me hopes my baby will have memories with her grandfather too. (Side note, I will be so overly protective of that relationship if it happens. I cannot allow my father to hurt my baby the way he hurt me.) I don't know that my father is open to talking, as I've tried in the past. I sent him a letter and he didn't respond. He didn't even reach out to me when he knew I was getting married. I like to think that he misses his only daughter, his only child, but the truth is I just don't know.

Today, while I was food shopping, a song came on the loudspeaker. It's a song I VERY rarely hear and one I remember fondly. It's a song my father and I used to sing together, line by line, all the time. Even after all these years, I still remember every word and remember which lines I sang and which lines my father sang. It's by Elvis....a man my Uncle loved. Something tells me that my uncle had a hand in having this song play today, on Father's day, the day after my dad's birthday, while I was in the store. It brought a tear to my eye as I thought about all of the father's days my father has missed out on celebrating. I thought about how today should be my hubby's first father's day. I thought about how long it has been since I sang this song....

I don't really know the point of this blog tonight; I just had to write it. There is so much depth to the story/relationship between my father and me that I don't think I could even put it all into words if I wanted to. Anyway, Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there. And to those of you that are just fathers, you're missing out.

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