Sunday, June 20, 2010
Father's Day is hard for me. I'm sure it's hard for a lot of people, and for different reasons. I have a lot of opinions (you're shocked, I'm sure) on the day, and I'm sure that many of them would not be received well by the general public, but hey, what is a journal for if not for documenting your feelings, right?
This is a photo of my father, my mother's mother, and my mother's father. My grandfather is from Texas - doesn't he just look like he is? My grandmother is from Ensenada, in Baja California, and my father is from Tijuana, glorious Tijuana, haha.
As I've written before, I was six when my father was killed. As my mother had left both him and the state where I was born when I was just three and a half or so, I wasn't really sad when he died. I had never really gotten to know him. As I grew older, my mom remarried many times, but all of those men were merely my mother's husbands. I never actually got to have a dad.
Most of the time, when you don't have a dad, you don't really think about it. Sure, there are little reminders here and there, like when you go to a friend's house and their dad gives them a big hug upon seeing them, or when parents weekend rolls around in college and you have to skip out on the festivities because you have one parent who doesn't care and one who's in the ground. It sucks. I'll never forget being in recruitment and watching a slideshow of different activities in which our sorority had participated throughout the year. When it got to the part with everyone smiling with their parents during that weekend, I had to try so freaking hard to hold it together. As I was standing there trying so hard not to cry, Jen the recruitment chair came up behind me and threatened to do something (I forget what) if I didn't wipe that unhappy look off my face. Of course, she didn't know, but I wasn't able to attend any more parties that day.
Of all the reminders that I don't have a father, the obvious worst is Father's Day. For the month beforehand, everywhere you look it's Dad This and Dad That. It's so hard to hear everyone making plans to spend the day with their dads. You get online, and all the Facebook and Twitter status updates are shout-outs to wonderful fathers. It's a painful reminder of what I don't have, have never had, and never will.
The worst part of this is that it makes me so bitter. I'm angry because it's just not fair that I got chosen to not have a dad. I get so mad when I hear people whining about how they miss their dad who died last year, or the year before, or hell, even ten years ago, because THEY got to know their dad. They got to have conversations with him. He had an opportunity to see them go to their first day of kindergarten and to come to their high school graduations. He taught them how to ride a bike. There were fatherly hugs and love in their lives. How dare they complain when I got nothing and they at least got something? My father was 34 when he died and he missed everything after my first steps.
(ooh, and let me tell you how worried I am about how I'm going to react when my husband's father goes. I hope he lives to be 100)
You know what I got? I got a cruddy mother. That leads me to my other beef with Father's Day. I can't stand it when people wish a Happy Father's Day to the single moms out there as well as the dads. Don't get me wrong - single moms are for the most part, amazing women. I don't know how they do all that they manage to do, and I hope and pray I never have to find myself in the position to learn. The thing is, moms already got a day last month - it was called Mother's Day. You can say that a single mom takes the place of a mother and a father all you want, but as someone who was raised by a mostly single mother I can tell you, nothing can take the place of having both parents. Nothing. I realize that this stance may make me unpopular with a lot of people, single mothers in particular, but that is how I really and truly feel about the matter.
One of my biggest fears in life is that something will happen and my son won't get to grow up with both of his parents. I'm not talking divorce - heck, if your parents are divorced and alive, it beats the hell out of having one of them widowed, I think. My fear is that my son will have to go through his life with that giant gaping hole that I did. Holes are not good.
I guess this leads me to my saving grace - I have a new reason to celebrate Father's Day. My child has a father of his very own, my husband, who even as we speak is comforting some baby who just woke up crying. He's a good dad, and I'm glad he is Bubba's dad. He doesn't have a problem with changing diapers, or giving baths, or tucking him in. He's not above helping around the house and setting a good example for the boy. He's patient, he's kind, and he has a good sense of humor. Sure, he may not always do things exactly the way I'd do them, but his ways can be good too.
What I need to do is refocus my Father's Days from being sad and angry and bitter to learning to celebrate the father of my own child. It's hard, I'm not going to lie. I've got many years worth of practice in hating the day, after all. Just like everything else, this is going to have to be a work in progress.
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