Last Sunday was Father’s Day. I opened up my Facebook newsfeed to find countless messages from my Facebook ‘friends’ to their fathers…..and those of wives to their husbands for being such amazing fathers.
I wish I could feel like they do…….in fact, I think I did once……but definitely not anymore.
Let me explain……my father wasn’t really there for me. I remember my mom being the one who was trying to keep everything together at home. When my dad did decide to make an appearance in my life, disaster, trauma and anxiety came with him. So, when he died a few years ago, I was, in a way, rather relieved.
Then there’s the other thing about my boys’ father. They totally forgot to wish him a happy Father’s Day this year, and I had to remind them near the end of the day, so they managed to get a text out right before midnight…..that says a lot, so I’m not going to spell it out here in any more detail.
As I write this, I’m reflecting on what a father is supposed to be, because I’ve never had a good one, nor have my boys……so I’m sitting here and two situations have come to mind……one is from a mom (a client of mine), whose husband doesn’t think that it’s his responsibility to watch the children while the mom goes out for some ‘me’ time.
The second is from a friend who said that her husband not only traumatizes their child, but also scolds his wife for not beating their children when they misbehave.
Okay, so clearly these are not good examples of what good dads should be……rather what they shouldn’t be.
Back to the drawing board……..
………..then a very angry thought came to my mind……..the voice of well-meaning relatives who often ask me why I’m depriving my own boys of a father figure…….to which I answer, “they don’t have one yet”…..okay, that was a very frustrating one……but also a good angle to approach my question……
Father figures! What about the good father figures? What qualities do they have?
Now this one I can answer, because even though I didn’t have a biological father who was there when I needed him, I did have a father figure to whom I looked up to when I was growing up……..my Uncle Peter!
I have so many interesting memories with Uncle Peter, he is my maternal aunt’s husband, and I’ve always looked up to him for as long as I remember. I have fond memories of him taking me for bicycle rides around our housing estate, of him rescuing kittens and inviting me over to play with them, and of him teaching me how to play tic-tac-toe. Uncle Peter was also always there for all the fun stuff……he took me on family outings, and was always patient with me, even though I was a handful at that time.
He was also there when things got hard…….I remember attending a family wedding and I got so sick I threw up, and Uncle Peter carried me back to the car. I don’t really keep in touch with Uncle Peter, except when I bump into him at annual family gatherings, but I seem to feel like he will always be there if I ever need him…….I’m not sure why I feel that way……..but I know I can trust him to be there.
I would like to think that those are the qualities of a good father figure…….regardless of whether they are biologically related to us, or if they are the people we look up to the most…..they are the men in our lives whom we trust to be there for us when we need them.
Happy Father’s Day, Uncle Peter! I’m sorry it took me so many years to realize how big of a role you played in my life, but I’m thankful nevertheless 🙂
I hope that every child experiences the unconditional love and trust from their father figures that I got through my Uncle Peter……if not, it’s never too late for them to go and find one!