Father’s day is this weekend and perhaps the convergence of events- reading numerous stories about fathers written by daughters and my lack of a father, has helped me attain awareness about myself. When I think of my father, I remember a sweet, warm and loving man. He was also quite troubled, an alcoholic and irresponsible. He was a constant in my life for my first 9 or 10 years on Earth. He died when I was 27.
I read a quote that said “Dads are boys first heros and daughters first loves.” Perhaps this is why when I look around at the couples in my life that have successful marriages the majority of the women are from two parent homes and even if their parents are no longer together, the father remains a strong presence in their lives. Sadly this is not my tale, I find myself in a place I never thought I’d be. A single parent.
My story is like many, after my parents separated my mother was a single parent, holding things down in our household. This was nothing new, she did this for the duration of her marriage when my father lived with us and also was a stay at home mother until I went to school. She even worked at my pre-school to keep a watchful eye over me. Admittedly, my mother did an outstanding job as a parent and to this day she remains my rock. But my father? An entirely different story.
For varying reasons, after my parent's separation the interaction with my father was limited. The calls were few and far between. And visits? Well, I saw my father a total of approximately 7 times before his death. When we spoke he’d give empty promises of the things he’d buy for me and honestly just speaking to him and seeing him would have sufficed. I suppose he thought this was expected of him and he had good intentions but empty promises did nothing but make me extremely disappointed in him.
Fast forward to my venture into social interaction, specifically dating. The adage “sins of the father” resonates with me because despite being an attractive girl, I rarely attracted the “good guys” The ones that fawn over women, treat them like gold and are truly worthy of love.
As difficult as it is to admit, I think when a man showed me any semblance of affection and attention, I was quickly drawn in even if the signs warned against it. I willingly gave of myself physically, financially and emotionally when in most instances the recipient did not deserve it. I suppose my thinking was if I showered all of these things on others it would be reciprocated. Sadly that wasn’t the case.
My revelation is that the “love” that I was exposed to wasn’t truly love and I just as guiltily threw the word around even when it wasn’t true. I am not beating myself up about it, each time I truly believed I was experiencing love. After countless disappointments one would think I’d learn but that hasn’t been the case. It is said the first step is admitting you have a problem and that is my intention today.
In my life I’ve searched for that requited, selfless, enduring and giving love. I realize now I was searching for my perception of fatherly love but it remained ever elusive. I’ve concluded that the love that I was seeking I need to provide for myself. I believe I’m doing a fairly good job but plan on truly making myself my top priority.
I know my story may sound like the classic little girl lost but I’m a grown woman now with responsibilities and am totally deserving of love. No longer will I let the sins of my father impact my ability to receive the love that I deserve. No longer will I spend countless nights crying myself to sleep wondering “why me?” If the love I seek must come from within so be it.