Monday, June 20, 2011

Bittersweet Fathers Day

So yesterday was father's day. A day where children are supposed to tell their dad's that they love them, and Fathers are supposed to kick their feet up and enjoy being a Padre. My son told me "happy fathers day daddy" right when I woke up. It's probably one of the best feelings in the world. I however, didn't call my dad and wish him a happy fathers day.

I pondered this all day. It's not like I forgot. I actively chose not to call my dad. even at age 29, the wounds and hurt of childhood still find their way to the surface. the words "I won't come to your soccer games because I don't like soccer" still sting with white hot intensity. The High School graduation that you missed still upsets me to this day. The wedding you missed, the birth of your only grandchild still upsets me. I don't think any amount of time or apologies can ever heal those wounds that I feel.

Last night, my son woke up in the middle of the night with an upset stomach. As I held him and rocked him back to sleep, I wondered if you would have done that with me, or just stayed in bed while my mom got up and took care of things. I wonder if I would have taken priority in your life like I do with my son. I wonder if on Fathers Day, you would have put aside your wants and needs and played with me. That's what I did. While I still had work that needed to be done, I put it on pause to play with my son.

I had a lot of chances yesterday to do things with my son that I don't think you ever did with me. Every time I did something with my son, I cherished every second of it and prayed for God to slow down time so I could enjoy it that much more. I wonder if had you been in that same spot, if you would have prayed for time to hurry up.

I learned many things from my dad. most of which are the ways a Dad shouldn't behave. I learned what abandonment and irresponsibility does to a young child.... especially a son. I learned that there are just some topics that a Father should talk about and teach his son. A son shouldn't have to learn to shave on his own or tie a tie on his own. A son shouldn't have to learn on the fly what Chivalry is. It should be taught from the beginning of his life. Every time his dad has the chance, he should open a door for a lady, pull her chair out for her, walk on the outside of the street to protect his lady. A son should NEVER have to refer to his mom as his "Fadre" (Father&Madre) like I have.

Because my dad wasn't there, I've learned that my only option as a DAD is to ALWAYS be there for my kids.


  1. I feel your pain. So sad that some learn how to parent from their parents and some learn how not to parent. Feel good, though, that you are passing the right lessons on to your kids.

  2. Marie,

    The lessons learned from my dad are the ones that help me be a better father for my son. Simple stepping away from my desk to play with him is something that he'll remember when he's an adult. He'll remember the times that dad put off work for when he wanted to play. I've read, and am re-reading "The Real Dad Rules" by @danoah. He's such an inspiration to myself to be a better man, husband, and Dad.

  3. Loved your article. Thank YOU for sharing. x0x

  4. Thank you Norma! It wasn't an easy one to write. all blog posts that relate to Dads in general and my dad specifically aren't easy to write. BUT, my hope is that Dads out there can read it, and make adjustments before it's too late.

  5. Sorry that your memories of childhood with your father are so painful but bravo to you for turning that around and being the loving father that you are. It's hard to know why some parents don't know how to be a parent, especially in the areas you are so needing them to be there. Don't let that relationship rob you of the peace that you deserve with your own family. Forgiving past hurts is so hard, but it moves you to a better place with more joy and peace. You've helped a lot of dads out there by sharing your own hurt and disappointment.

  6. My heart goes out to the little boy you were and to the man you are today. I am just so thankful that you have broken the cycle and know the value that you have in your relationship with your own child. I also know how hard it must be to face some of these issues but glad that you put it out there. That is actually part of the healing process for you! GREAT article!

  7. Sounds like you really are a Nice Guy and a great dad. Some hurts just hurt but getting through them, to me, doesn't mean forgotten, but forgiving others. Parents never came with a manual and sometimes never asked for help or knew to. I'm glad you understand the role of being a daddy through it all. Thank you for sharing and surely it will help others.

  8. You are a beautiful person and I am sorry you went through so much pain growing up. However, never forget the pain of internal struggles of those who have inflicted hurt on us. I pray for them as well. Everyone has a journey and at least you have found yours, so many remain floating on the surface with their eyes closed shut. Suha.

  9. I'm sorry you had such a rough childhood and that your father hasn't been there for you, but we are all challenged and I find it helpful to try and look into their lives and try to understand what happened to them that made that that way. It doesn't excuse the behavior but can help you be on and higher level and that is important for many reason, but one is so when you explain it to your child they know why things are the way they are. Kudos to you though for rising up and being the great dad you are. all the best. Tina

  10. I feel your pain as well. A lot of times, a parent only knows how to be a father, in this case by what he may have learned from his own father. Perhaps, your father did not have a good example of this growing but, if he even had his father in his life. Kudos, to you to know how to be the best father that you can be, regardless of what example you had of this growing up. I agree with what Sue said on the forgiveness...and it is not easy, but you don't even have to let him know you are forgiving can be between you and it for yourself. Your son is very fortunate to have you.

  11. Justin, aloha. While, of course, how you got to where you are was not pleasant, because of your choices what a great example of a loving dad you are for your son as he will be for his son and and then on to his son's son.

    Justin, you made the conscious choice to be there for your son and to give him everything you did not receive and more. You could have as easily decided "that's the way it is, I survived; he'll survive."

    Your life, your son's life and your entire family's life is the richer for your decision not to perpetuate feelings of lack and abandonment.

    Who knows why your dad did or didn't do what he did or didn't do; who knows what past pains caused him to be the way he was/is?

    What I do know, Justin, is the sooner you can let go of the past, of your father's actions or lack thereof, the better it will be for you. Here's a quote I like from Paul Bosse:

    “Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.”

    Justin, wishing you, your wife and son much love and happiness, always. Aloha. Janet

  12. Hola Sue!

    I have forgiven my dad numerous times. I know that I will never forget what it felt like to be left hanging so many times. Somehow, I've always been able to appreciate the hard or difficult times in my life for two simple reasons: It could always be worse, and those memories remind me to be a better man than I was the day before. They remind me that a man's most important job in life is to be a loving husband, and loving & always available father. I have no doubt my Dad loves me. However, it was is unavailability that hurt so much. My biggest hope is that if there is a Dad out there, and he reads this, if he's going down the path my dad did, he will alter his course and correct any wrongs he may have committed. If sharing my pains helps perpetuate that, then I've done what I set out to do :)

  13. Hola Kim! My constant reminder in the pusuit of being a better man, Husband, and Dad is a quote from "As Good As It Gets". In the movie, Jack Nicholson's character tells Helen Hunt "You make me want to be a better man".

    I always look at my wife and kids, and that saying always resonates with me. I don't ever want my family to feel the way I feel about my dad. I want them to always have happy memories, and I always want them to be around. I want to be the grandpa everyone wants to go see (and hopefully the great grandpa).