Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Father's Day

It is snowing.

What the heck does a father actually do? I am at a loss in trying to write this post. I know enough about mothers to choke a horse, but I don't know anything about fathers. I expected to open up this can of worms and find, well, worms. Instead I find nothing. I am searching my mind and emotions about fatherhood and am coming up with a blank.

Until I was sixteen I thought my mother's ex-husband was my father. On my sixteenth birthday one of my aunts told me The Truth. It seems my mother had "taken up" with a man several years after she was divorced, and I was the result. My aunt even told me the man's name. I thought she was lying or had got her facts mixed. Nope. Turns out she was right.

A few weeks after I learned The Truth my adopted mother took me to visit this man. We arrived at his run down ranch unannounced. (Bad plan) We stood beside the car as she introduced herself and me. He backed up and started saying that she couldn't prove anything and that his father had paid Mom off a long time ago. Adopted mother told him we didn't want anything but that he might like to know about his daughter. He didn't. We drove off and I never saw him again. The same aunt who told me The Truth later sent me his obituary. Turns out he was wealthy and died without heirs. She encouraged me to try to go after his money even if I didn't have any proof of paternity. I was in my early twenties and could have cared less. But I did have the proof. I still have it.

A few days after my mother died I was in the house alone and was going through some of her stuff. I was twelve. I found the package that contained the letter from his father's lawyer saying that if Mom would deny paternity he (father) would pay for my birth and some sort of operation I needed. Mom's reply was also in there. It could beak a heart of stone. She says how cute I am and that she doesn't want money or marriage, just his name on the birth certificate..............My original birth certificate says "Unknown" after father's name.

The men in the foster home and relatives' homes were abusive or non-entities. My adoptive mother was widowed when she adopted me. I got not a clue about fathers.

I keep trying to find a father in God but this has proved to be heavy sledding. It is hard to translate "Our Father in Heaven" into something more...mortal, I guess. But I persevere.

So back to the beginning. What do fathers do? This inquiring mind really would like to know.

Take care of yourselves. Happy Father's Day. Love Bea


Annimal said...

I can tell you what the Father of my children does/is:
Has wanted children since age 7. Made plans for what he would do with his kids someday.
Talked to baby in-utero so baby would recognize his voice.
Became an expert on breastfeeding so he could help me. Made sure baby nurses understood that his baby did not get a bottle (hung around nursery and made them put a note on the crib)
Took a community course on french braiding so he could fix his daughter's hair.
didn't leave my side during the grueling hours of labor. Kept the cool washrags coming!
Cried at each birth.
Took care of kids while I worked. they always had fun. Most of the family videos he has taken. Made sure the kids rode the horse, fixed their bikes and rode with them around the house. Incubates eggs so they can watch them hatch,tame the chickens and consider them pets.
took them swimming in summer, sledding in winter.
When he had to cut fields for hay, he would attach a park bench on back of swather and outfit them with hats and sunscreen and water.
Never got impatient when hats blew off. or water jug fell.
Did seasonal work so his last day of work would be last day of school. That way we never needed daycare.
Spent every friday afternoon at school in the classroom. Says teacher treats child better if they know parents are watching.
Was hurt when his first born at age 13 told him he could no longer have lunch with her at school. "Just not cool, Dad"
Took all 3 on a day hike up a 3 mile trail. Top of the mountain was blizzard. He cut raincoats out of garbage liners. Their only food was 2 cans of beans. By the time they got down off the mountain it was too wet to build a fire so they ate cold beans and slept in the pickup camper shell (very small). Dad stretched out on the pickup seat.Daughter still says it was the best beans she'd ever had!
Later we went back, this time fully outfitted (because I pack the kitchen sink when we camp). but funny thing is--they only talk about the time they went with Dad.
The kids are his first and last thought of the day. They know they can call him no matter what, no matter when. I've never heard cross words between them. He will do for them what ever is in his power.

He loves their mother. Unconditionally.

Vickie said...

Annimal - that is just lovely. Glad you took the time to write it all out. It was beautiful.

My husband is the best gift I could have ever found for my own kids. And I say that to the girls all the time - only date someone you would marry. Only date someone that you would want to be the father of your children.

My own father - was someone with lots of problems - didn't face reality - didn't work on his problems - at the age of 22 - I realized that I was never going to be able to remain sane and have contract with him. And broke all contact. He was a negative that was too much for me to overcome. Do I feel a void? No, I do not. One feels a void when positive is removed. When a negative is removed - one feels relief.

My husband's father was a void - wealthy surgeon that was never home - never involved. My husband has always felt the void.

My children would miss my husband terribly if something happened to him. They would struggle to grow strong and true without him. Void would be huge.

Lynn said...

Annimal I agree with Vickie. I cried all the way through it. The hair braiding really got to me.

Helen said...

What Annimal wrote evokes my Daddy (now gone for nearly 19 years) and my DB so much...having a father like that is such a huge gift.

I am blessed to have found a partner who is as unique and special a dad to his daughters as mine was to me. When DB's first wife left him, he took care of his girls himself...oh yes, he's a master little girl hair-styler! His father-ness is one of the things that made me fall in love with him...and one of the things that grabs my heart to this day.

I remember a newspaper cartoon that we cut out for our daddy when we were little and that was framed in our house until he died and it said "A father is a person who picks you up and holds you tight when you are little and afraid." That was my dad and that is my DB. So that's what a father is to me... :-)

Cindy154 said...

Father's day is painful for me. Not because of my father but because of my daughter's father and the father of my sons. Long story. Would love to delve deeper into with you offline. also, your comment about what Mary would say about "accidents" I TOTALLY believe. When I was first in recovery from alcohol and drugs I had many accidents in the first two years - mostly were not my fault, I'd be sitting still, behind a car and someone would slam into the back of me and say they did not see me, and it even happened when I was a passenger in another vehicle. There were so many that I had to take an inventory to come to terms with them. Now, here it is 19 years later but I am in my early recovery from what I call co-dependency, alanon or whatever you want to call it. There are many correlations between that and my d & a recovery, and here the same things are happening. There is something there, I want it revealed. I am scared of cars and I know living in fear is not how I want to live. If you want, e-mail me and I will give you my number, we should talk more, there is a kinship of the spirit here that is good for both of us I believe. My e-mail is on my profile, we could communicate that way. Thanks for the comment, I totally agree with it. And the father thing, I could go on about that one as well.

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