This time of year has never been good for me. I start to mourn the loss of something I never really had – a father. I often try to ignore Father’s Day, having no fathers to truly celebrate. It is the commercials that bring it to the forefront of my mind. I see the loving fathers with their children and I look for the lie; for the façade. I cannot imagine that this kind of relationship exists in reality because in my 35 years I have only seen such a thing portrayed in the media.
My father was present in the home, but only to abuse and tear down his wife and six children. He was not good at much, but with this he was quite the expert. I have not spoken to him in over fifteen years and there are still days that I wish he no longer took up space and precious air on this planet. My seventeen year old’s father exited his life in February and has yet to return. He was not consistently around, but the pain of that loss is no less for my son. Making things even harder, my four year old is getting older and I have yet to figure out how I am going to tell him that his father tried to kill him while he was still in the womb. As I said, Father’s Day has never been good for me, but then something beautiful happened to give me a whole new perspective on fathers and Father’s Day.
I walked into my son’s pre-school on Thursday and his teacher pulled me aside.
“We were working on a Father’s Day gift today and your son said he didn’t have a daddy,” she whispered.
My eyes blurred with quickly forming tears. We have never officially talked about his father or why he doesn’t have one. It has always just been that way. I am not ready for that discussion yet.
“Before you get too upset,” she added, patting me on the back, “You’ve got to hear what else he said.”
My four year old, being the wise sage that he is, told his teacher that he did not have a daddy, but he did have a brother and he wanted to make this special gift for him.
So, on Friday, my four year old walked out of pre-school and proudly presented his big brother with a Father’s Day present along with a great big hug and kiss. My oldest son went straight to his room upon returning home and hung it on his wall.
I have always tried to overlook Father’s Day, letting it quietly pass by without mention, trying to avoid adding additional injury to the raw wounds that exist within my family. It took a fatherless four year old to teach me that there are more people to celebrate on Father’s Day than just who I have chosen to define as a “father”.
This Father’s Day I am celebrating my seventeen-year-old son who has stepped up – even though he was abandoned by his father – and shown so much love that his little brother did not even notice the loss of not having a father, but how lucky he was to have the brother he has.
I have hope, now, that one day the cycle of absent fathers that has plagued my family for generations will end here with my two boys. My oldest has already proven that. He has taken a tragic, heartbreaking situation and molded it into something that even the most profound of words cannot express.