Daddy vs. Father

  This may be a sensitive post for some, but I think it's very important to address. Tomorrow is Father's Day. I think some of us don't respect enough that Father's Day is not always a happy day for some people. My boyfriend and a coworker no longer have their dads. I won't speak for her, but I know that going out for him on that day is something he doesn't want to do. (I did check with him before I posted so he was aware and ok with that statement).

  Father's Day means quite a few things to me because I have a rather unique situation. If you're counting, I have three dads, but only one of them matters to me. Let me explain. For those who aren't aware, I was adopted the day I was born. The man who is my biological father I have never met. Nor do I particularly want to. You might wonder why.

  He left my birth mother and disappeared when he found out she was pregnant. He didn't reappear until after I was born. From descriptions given by my birth mother and my one fully biological sibling, he's not a nice human being. He's remarried and allowed his new wife to convince him that what I wanted from him was money. I don't want to know someone who clearly has no interest in knowing me. 

  My dad who adopted me has psychological problems. Serious ones. He had them before he went on two tours of Vietnam as a River Boat Patrolman. PTSD is a serious thing and in no way am I making light of this condition. I am the product of a father who didn't take control of his PTSD. Some people who know my father may not believe me, but what I'm saying is true. Several of my bedtime stories were of the things he did in Vietnam. 

  I grew up terrified of my father. I learned to walk quietly through my own house so he wouldn't know I was there. (My brother had similar experiences, but I will not speak for him.) He dragged me down hallways. He pulled me down stairs. He's 6'4" and would tower over us screaming. He threw things. He refused to take me to school one day because I wouldn't eat my strawberries. I was 11. Even when I was an adult in college, if he didn't like that he wasn't in control of a conversation he would turn the car around on the way to dinner and refuse to feed us. 

  He wanted control. He wanted the fear. I remember stories of how horrible his dad, my grandfather was to him. It always amazed me that he was worse to us than it ever appears my grandfather was according to his stories. I can't vouch for the truthfulness of what he's saying as I wasn't there, but that's not the point. He point blank told me, "I don't give a fuck if I'm a good role model." I would love for some of his friends to read this and understand why I may have told them I was glad he was out of my life.

  In my sophomore year of college, I received a bill for my tuition that my dad had instructed my college to send to me. I had no idea what was going on. I called him and he was mean and wouldn’t explain and hung up the phone on me. I called my mother and I was in tears. My dad couldn’t even be bothered to explain. The list of stories I have about how he treated me is rather endless. 

  Was he awful every moment of every day? No. If you ask many of his friends and our family friend, I guarantee you that they would have no idea. He could be normal around people, but for only a very limited amount of time. Any nice girlfriend he ended up having would end up leaving him once they tried to actually do real work on the relationship with him. Several of his relationships are a topic for an entirely different post of things he subjected us to while dating. 

  There’s a lot of my childhood I don’t remember. I have the feeling I don’t want to. Sure, I could have someone unlock whatever the memories are, but based on what I can remember, I’m quite certain I don’t want to know. I don’t appreciate when anyone tells me that I should interact with him. The damage he did was immense and took years to undo. I’m sure not all of it is undone still. I’m just glad that over the years I learned to control my anger and realize that I wasn’t the problem.

  I made a conscious effort as an adult on many occasions to try and have a relationship with him. To him, however, I was always the one with the problem. He never did anything wrong. He never apologizes. Him being in my life causes more harm than any good. I don’t want to see him again. I don’t feel love for him. I don’t feel hate. I feel sad that he can’t see what he has done and won’t get help. I don’t regret my decision for one minute. I did what I had to do for my own health and safety.

  This brings me to the man who I actually consider my dad. This is my step-dad. Now our road hasn’t always been easy. He is a very traditional man and I am nothing of the sort. Our families were combined when the four of us aged 12, 12, 13, and 16. Still not quite sure how we all survived that merging. We had quite a lot of rough spots in the beginning. All of us have such strong personalities and finding the path to a mutual compromise wasn’t easy. 

  My step-dad is one of the kindest and most generous people I know. You tell him you’re researching into the best cable alternatives, he’ll research it for you and tell you what he’s found. He may wrap your Christmas presents in a trash bag or print out pictures of the ones that are on the way, but he puts an immense amount of thought into everything. Part of the reason that I wanted to take the job I have now is because it gives me evenings and weekends off to see my family. 

  I haven’t had that in as long as I can remember. Sure, we don’t always want to spend time with our families, but I at least wanted to the option to spend time with mine. My step-dad is always there for me and it’s why I call him my dad and not my step-dad. I confused a lot of people with that, but he and my step-sister are my family and the step doesn’t show how important they are in my life.

  The reason that I picked the Yondu quote is because I think it seemed perfect for this and I love how the relationship that evolves throughout the movies. It’s such a true statement that I think so many people know.

  To the Fathers out there, Happy Father’s Day. To those of you without your father, I am so sorry for your loss and I hope you find a way to cope with the day ahead. To those of you with dads of fathers that you love, I hope you get to spend the day with them. For those of you who don’t have a relationship with your dad, know that you are not alone.

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