I am thirty-two now. A quick look at my family reveals that there are no fathers to be found. In fact, I am the only father in my family who is actively involved in his child’s life. It is interesting to me that when I was seven, I spoke to my father for the first time. My brother was being born that year. He made a few false promises, and I didn’t hear from him again until I was twenty-two–when my son was being born.
My mother never spoke of my father, and I grew up not knowing what his name was. She never bad-mouthed him, and she never suggested that I get to know him. It wasn’t until I began raising my young warrior–he’s nine now–as a single father that I discovered how much hatred I had toward my father and how much pain I’d been hiding from myself.
I’m hard on my son. He will attest to that (lol). I earned a college degree–the first in my family. I want to start anew, and while my son is ahead of many students his age, I push him so hard with so much focus on him doing better than I have that I am often not available for him emotionally. It is not that I am unaware of this deficiency in my parenting. I am just so single-minded with him becoming a stand-out man that I ignore the emotional aspects of manhood and childhood. It has occurred to me that while I am trying so hard to correct the mistakes of my father, I fall short emotionally the same my father did. And, to be honest, I hate this about myself. I’m going to have to do better.
When I turned thirty, I tried to find my father. I had some idea of where he might be, and I consulted my mother. Apparently, he had known where I was in all my travels (I’m an Army brat), yet he never saw fit to contact me. I have siblings whose names I do not know, but what hurts is that I discovered that my father passed a few years back. An important part of me–idiosyncrasies that make me, me–has died off without my knowledge.
This bothers me in ways I cannot express fully. There is an emptiness that angers and pains me. I don’t know where relief would come from. There is no one to answer my questions.
Anyhow, I have nothing particularly insightful to offer here. I’m just sharing what’s on my heart for now. I’m not even sure what sparked this.
…there’s gotta be some rules,
(Rule 37: Fathers must be fathers!)