A role that was meant for two

I meant to say this yesterday… But Happy Father’s Day!

I wish I had a father. Well, I mean. Of course I have a father. My biological father. And I had a step-father too. But they weren’t real fathers. They weren’t brave enough to take on their parental role. It was much easier for them to abandon those they claimed they loved, than to stay and commit to them.

I’m grateful for those who have amazing fathers in their lives that have loved and cherished their families. Those people are so blessed to have great paternal figures in their lives to grow up with. But only the great fathers. Not the ones who live in the same house, but aren’t really there. You know?

Every Father’s day and every Mother’s day, I only acknowledge my mom and give her the recognition she deserves. It’s hard being a single parent. Let alone being an ill parent.

She tried to bring another parent into our lives to love and take care of us. My biological father did no such thing even before I was born. Frankly, I’m technically not supposed to be here on Earth, but here I am. She just wanted a loving husband and she wanted her kids to feel like they had a father to love them as well.

When I was younger, I couldn’t understand why. I would ask myself questions and wonder why my brother and I had no father. Why couldn’t he be one? Why couldn’t he try? Why my dad? Why did it have to be me who had a dad who loved getting fucked up more than he loved his own kids?

He tried to visit us a few times when we left him. He was always drunk or high. It was always chaotic with him around because he could never control his anger. There were times where he would knock on the doors and windows at 2:00 AM, or would visit my brother at his workplace. I would ask myself, “Why is he here? He doesn’t love us. Doesn’t he have his new wife making dinner for him back at his home?”

I was 6, turning 7 years old around that time.

I spent so many years feeling like I had something missing in my life. I was so envious of my classmates that had complete families. Families that celebrated annual traditions together, like Christmas, or those who went on family trips because that was what they were all able to do.

Then my step-father came into our lives. I had hope and I was happy. I thanked the universe for bringing me a father who would love us. I had another parent that brought more joy in our lives.

He was a great dad. The dad I always wanted. He lived in the States so my mom and I would travel back and forth between the two countries to visit him. My brother would stay in Calgary because he never really approved of their relationship, but that’s another story to tell.

He always bought me things that I loved, aka mostly food. He would drop me off and pick me up from school every day. We would go on family trips and do family things, like checking out the San Jose flea market. We visited San Francisco, Sacramento, Bakersfield, San Jose, Los Angeles, etc. We went on monthly fishing trips and spent hours at the pier fishing and crabbing, or at the beach to fish and to enjoy ourselves.

We would go to amusement parks like Great America. He took us to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Six Flags Marine world (not sure exactly what it’s called now), Universal Studios, and I even got to make one of my childhood dreams come true – Disneyland.

And he made all of that happen for me. He loved us, he cherished us, and he cared about us with his whole heart and treated us with so much kindness. He wasn’t my biological father, but he was my father.

Then something happened when I was 14. His mom, my step-grandmother, died from pancreatic cancer. She was diagnosed and two months later, she passed away. She was the one that held the family together. During this time, my mom and I were living in Calgary and could not return to the States for personal reasons. My mom was also not taking her medication for her illness, and could not control her actions. I think both of these variables combined made it difficult for my step-father to be around us.

He stopped calling. It went from every day, to once a week, to every holiday, to nothing. We stopped hearing from him. But I still wrote him letters. Every holiday, every birthday, every time something new happened in my life, I would write a letter to him and send it. I would never get a reply back. So then I stopped writing to him too.

Every Father’s Day, I became more and more bitter after that. At that age, I couldn’t understand. I couldn’t understand why we got abandoned again. I couldn’t help but question if we were even worthy of someone else’s love.

It was my last year in High School where I wanted to make something clear to my step-father. If he did not show up in Calgary and attended my graduation ceremony, he would no longer be my father. The only one I actually considered my father.

And of course, I didn’t get a response back and he didn’t show up.

From that day forward, on every Father’s day, I chose to acknowledge the only real parent in my life. Instead of sulking, I wanted to give Father’s day a more positive light. My mother was a single mother, raising two kids on her own as well as being sick. She fought her entire life to make sure we had a good childhood and did her best to give us what we needed with even having so little. That is the best gift a child could ever have.

Not having a father did not limit my happiness unless I decided to let it limit it. My mom was and still is my happiness. She is my family. She is my home. Wherever she is, as long as I am with her, I am home. She was the one who was by our side through everything. She was the one who loved us unconditionally and supported us through our hardships. She is the strongest person I know and the number one person that I appreciate, feel so blessed and so proud to have, in my life.

So here’s to all of the amazing fathers who are just plain amazing. And here’s to all of the amazing mothers who took on a role that was meant for two.

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