Sunday, June 19, 2016

Redefining Father's Day

I have always hated Father's Day. It's that one day that makes me think about my relationship (or lack thereof) with my father. This day is a reminder of the bond I don't have and every year, I hate this day. At some point in my childhood, my father decided that parenting is optional. He cut most ties with my sister and I and moved on with his life. He remarried (I found out from the newspaper) and eventually moved back to Chicago without saying a word.
After that, we had a handful of conversations mostly after I'd talk to my grandma and tell me to call him but once I realized that these conversations were one-sided (he rarely asked about my life) and superficial, I tried to contact him as little as possible. This wasn't really hard since he never once called me (even though I had the same phone number for almost 10 years) and I just accepted this.
That was our relationship until the spring break I went to visit my grandma. My father was living with her at the time and I saw him face to face for the first time in years. Everything was fine until he decided to insult my mother's parenting. I exploded. How could someone who decided not to be a parent insult someone who was forced to raise kids completely alone?! That was the first time I fully realized that he thought (and still thinks) of himself as a parent, as a father. He feels as though his decision to walk away was the fault of my mother, my sister and myself. And that's when I felt hatred towards Father's Day.
Once I became a mother and my children had a father of their own, I realized that I had to change my view. I couldn't let my father taint a day when my kids get to celebrate their dad. His love and commitment makes me appreciate the fathers that I see my friends raving about. He's not perfect but to my kids, he's the best. And each year that we celebrate him, I'm able to let go of the resentment Father's Day usually brings.
Happy Father's Day Will.

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