Monday, June 17, 2013
Father's Day Reflections
For some reason this year, I couldn't help but become a little teary and a little jealous as I read so many friends' sentiments about their fathers. Most of the status updates that I read on Facebook today were so sweet, loving, and just downright mushy. I was happy for those friends but it made me sad to realize what I missed during my own childhood.
As most of my friends know, my adopted father is the only father I've known as I have absolutely no knowledge about my biological father. It was very difficult during my childhood and even into my early adult years. He was an alcoholic and was very abusive toward not only me but my mother, too. I grew up terrified of him to the point that I often wondered if I would live to graduate from high school. Even as I became an adult and moved out onto my own, I was still intimidated by him. I also harbored a lot of anger during my early adult years which lead me to seek counseling. Anger toward both of my parents consumed me.
Eventually, I learned that the only way to let go of that anger was to forgive him. It really is by the grace of God that I was able to develop empathy for him which helped me to be able to more easily forgive him. Through his 2 older sisters, my aunts, I was able to learn more about him. I learned how severely abused he was by their father, a supposed man of God, an ordained Baptist preacher. It's no wonder he doesn't want anything to do with religion. After being kicked out of home by his father, he live with one of his sisters until he was old enough to enlist in the Marine Corps. He fought Vietnam on 3 different occasions. He became an alcoholic which only fueled his rage even more. Hence, the abuse he heaped on us, his family. Because of the little bit of information his sisters shared with me, I began to have empathy and compassion. I was still a bit intimidated by him, though, but over time, I was able to forgive him.
Over the years, as I proved to him that I was completely opposite from what he expected me to be (I was expected to be an unwed mother and collecting welfare), and that I was nothing like his son turned out to be, he began to have more respect for me. We have a good (not close but friendly) relationship today because I was the one to take that first step toward forgiveness. Yes, he's still a bit rough around the edges but I'm no longer afraid to approach him about most things. Now that I have children, I've even become bold enough to kindly tell him to please use caution with his language around my children (he's famous for the GD word).
It makes me happy that I have the relationship I have today with my step-dad, especially because he is the only grandfather my children will ever know. He is their Poppy. Tim's daddy died when Tim was a young boy. It makes me sad that I and my children will never meet the wonderful man, grandpa to my children, that I've heard so many wonderful things about. However, on this Father's Day, I am grateful for the ongoing restoration of the relationship between me and step-dad and that my children are able to have a grandpa experience with their Poppy.