It is Father’s day.
I feel very strongly about Father’s day. However, don’t get me wrong, I am not one to indulge the fact that these days only come once a year.
It is not something I wholeheartedly agree in as it seems there is a day for most things these days and on the whole I think appreciation for the fact that you have a Father, Mother or 2nd cousin twice removed should be shown on more than one occasion throughout the year.
Father’s day is always tinged with a hint of bitterness for me. Bitterness, sadness is that the same thing? I don’t know. I feel sad but I more often feel just a bit bloody pissed off at the unfairness of it all, truth be told.
My Dad passed away 8 years ago now and while it is true what they say about time, you never really get over it, you just learn to live with it. Time just makes it easier. Time allows you to move on and although most days something will happen that will make me think about him or wonder what he would have thought about something, now as the years go by, I can do that without feeling like my world is falling apart.
We can talk about him now, for the most part, without us all ending up in floods of tears, the memories are happy ones and we should be sharing them and remembering how lucky we were.
In a weird way (and not without a feeling of guilt), I have gotten used to him not being around. He is gone and some days I wish more than anything I could change that but I can’t. I often wish I could turn back the clock but even if I could I wouldn’t have done anything differently. I had a good relationship with my Dad, we were not very similar but that may be because he wasn’t my biological father. My biological father is unknown, to me at least but this just makes what my Dad did all the more special.
He married my Mum when I was around 18 months old and since then were a family in the true sense of the word. My two sisters came along shortly after and Mum who absolutely loves babies, children and little people in general would have continued on to have the proverbial football team as she wanted a boy, so she says, I think she just wanted to keep having babies to be honest but my Dad, he was more than happy with his three girls.
Never once did I ever feel like there was anything different about the relationship I had with my Dad in comparison to the one he shared with my sisters, never once did it ever occur to me that he was not my natural father and the only reason for that is because of the way he behaved. He made sure we were all loved in equal amounts. The love and respect I had for him only grew when shortly after my 12th birthday I found out the truth.
My mum insisting that we go for a walk after Sunday lunch and refusing to allow my sisters to come should have been a tell-tale sign that something was about to happen but even then it never crossed my mind it would be anything too serious.
I vaguely remember it, the conversation I mean but only segments I don’t think I could believe it at first. I was just surprised. I couldn’t really put that into words how I was feeling. The good news was my Dad wanted to adopt me officially, the bad news was this meant that we would have to go to the family court and that my mum would have to seek permission from my father in order for us to go ahead.
This notion seems just a ridiculous to me now as it did then. Why on earth do we have to ask a man I don’t know and have never even met permission to sign over a child (me), he clearly has had no interest in for the last 12 years? Well, quite simply it’s because he has rights, apparently. Rights to decide my future, yet no one can force him to be a part of it. He can have a say for as long as he is my Father on paper. All the power with none of the responsibility.
However, the overwhelming feeling at the time was something that only now I recognise as love. Love for a man who always loved me unconditionally in return. A man who watched, encouraged and stood by me as I grew into the woman I am now.
The fact that he wanted to officially be my Dad, to give me his name, which unknowingly at the time, I didn’t have, that he wanted to legally be my father was the most amazing thing to me. Of course he was my father as far as I was concerned, a piece of paper wouldn’t change that but just the fact that he felt so strongly about it made me realise what it is that makes a Dad.
There is a saying that anyone can be a Father but it takes someone special to be a Dad.
With this in mind I feel like I should take some responsibility for my poor choice in this role for my children. I do often blame myself for the predicament I find myself in today because ultimately I suppose I knew we were hardly a match made in heaven. When I met my children’s father it was clear that he may not have been the settling down kind. The idea of it maybe, the reality not so much.
A rocky relationship inevitably led to separation and while I tried to maintain the relationship between him and his children it was not something I could do on my own. He struggled to keep himself on the straight and narrow and so ultimately I offered to relieve him of the burden and he accepted it, stepping out of our lives completely.
It makes me sad that Tom and Elsie have no bond with their father, I wish more than anything that they had a relationship with their Dad like I had with mine. Dad and I were different in every way but he was a constant in my life that I looked up to, respected and loved like no other man. A Rock that silently and strongly held the family in place.
A Dad is like a safety net, someone who is just there all the time, whatever the weather, whenever you need him. He won’t come to you but he will always be there if you go to him, he waits to be the one to say it’s alright just when you need it the most.
As a mother I am strong, protective and ever supportive of Tom and Elsie, we are a unit, an unbreakable threesome with a bond that can only we can break but this does not stop me from wishing that things had turned out differently for them. That they had that father figure.
Today in what some would call strange turn of events, we have been blessed in another way, for we have Ash.
My mum’s husband. A man who for many years I have known and respected. A long time ago growing up he was my best friend’s Dad and now, while unofficially is he not my father, he is a man I have come to love in a similar way.
It takes many things to make a family but the one thing all families share is that constant. A constant familiarity of support and love. That is what Ash brings to our family and while sometimes things are hard to adjust to, I can only be grateful to be able to share him and more importantly for Tom and Elsie to have the male role model they so deserve.
So, for all you Dad’s out there who step up… Thank you. Thank you for being you and for just simply being there. Happy Dad’s Day! 🙂