What is the definition of a father? Is it love? Support? Sacrifice? According to Webster a father (noun): a man has begotten a child. What does this mean? Many people this day in time grow up without a mom or a dad. Many children have step parents that step in and fill the void of a parent that has left. Some have family members that step in to fill the spot of a parent. A few days ago this particular letter was sent to me ( http://theodysseyonline.com/nku/letter-to-you-dad/127984). After posting it on Facebook I had multiple people ask why. Many people do not know my story because for one I do not like to talk about it and two I like my personal life to be extremely private. However, after talking to a few people they said I should write about my experience and share my story because it may help others in my same situation. Before I start I want to say this is my personal story. This is something that has affected my life for twenty-six years. This is who I am. Not sugar coated. Hopefully my story will help someone dealing with the same situation and help understand it is something you can overcome.
When I was a few weeks old my dad decided to leave my mom. They were young, married, had a baby, and were (I am sure) completely stressed out. There are multiple details that were involved with the decision of him to leave. However, those are details that should not be shared on the internet. During this time I was an infant, my mom was a young single mother, and my grandparents had to step in to fill the void. The first few years of my life my granddaddy stood in as my dad. He would take me to dance, pick me up from school, play baseball with me, and do all of the “stuff” fathers are supposed to do. Through this I also gained an exceptional relationship with my Uncle who became more like a brother (even to this day). I never had the reality hit me until I was much older what it actually felt like to have your own father not love or want you. My granddaddy made sure I was loved and never once doubt that people cared for me. I am so thankful to have my grandparents who were so loving and caring to take us in and raise me in a Godly home.
When I was three my mom met my step dad, who soon became my Daddy. I never knew the impact one man could have on someone’s life. But having someone love and care about you after being betrayed is a whole string of emotions I cannot even put into words. Growing up I would constantly battle the “what ifs”. What if he would have stayed? What if he would have loved me? What if he would have been in my life? But as I grew older, I realized you cannot live in the life of “what ifs”. You will worry yourself to death and cause more emotional strain than you can handle. At the age of twelve I wanted to meet my biological father. I wanted to know why I had brown eyes. Why I was tall and skinny? Why he left? Why was I not good enough to love? But most of all I wanted to know what he was like. After meeting him, I realized why God choose my path to turn out the way it did. I had always questioned God as to why he did not love me, but once I met him I understood why. God had bigger and better plans for my life. Thankfully for almost twenty years I had a stepdad who was my dad. He filled the void. Although things never turn out the way we want, for 20 years I had someone who showed me they cared and were always there for me.
My biological father is not a bad person. He is a person of bad decisions. Maybe he truly never loved me. Maybe he did not want to ever have anything to do with me. But maybe he did. Maybe he does think about me when he is driving or wishes he could go back and change it all. Maybe he lives a life of regret. Maybe he is too ashamed to admit he was wrong. But I know that I have forgiven him. I am a strong woman who has overcome the life of a parent walking out of their life. My heart breaks for him because he has missed out on so many incredible things in my life. He also denies his other daughters the chance to have a big sister. He has missed so many memories, milestones, breakups, new relationships… everything. There is a whole family that I have missed out on for twenty six years. I know nothing about them. I can barely pick them out in a crowd. But what none of them know is the hurt I have gone through and the wish to be a part of their family. But… I simply can’t.
Shortly after my sixteenth birthday my grandmother passed away. I realized that day you cannot take relationships for granted. From that day forward I tried to give my all in every relationship I had in my life. Life is so short and it is too precious to waste one minute not letting people know how much you love and care about them. My mom is my rock. She has been there through thick and thin. We have had our ups and downs but she is 100% my best friend. Mom is always there no matter what. Even 15 hours away my mom drops everything if I need her. She has been my number one fan since day one and has never left my side. I would not be able to make it through all the situations thrown at me without her support.
My faith in God has a major impact on the reason I’ve become the woman I am today. Instead of becoming the victim, I decided to use my situation as a teaching and learning experience. You can live your life in the dumps. When something bad happens in our life we automatically want to become a victim. I could easily use this to my advantage. But there is no point. It does not help the situation or make it any better. If anything it would make it worse. I chose to overcome it. Yes I probably could have done more to make it work, but I believe everything happens for a reason and I would not be where I am today if one thing would have been different. Walking out of your child’s life is probably one of the worst things you can do. You have no idea the impact it makes on them. It emotionally, mentally, and physically changes them forever. I have always had trust issues with men because of my situation. I have tried to overcome it, but the impact that made on my life caused such an emotional toil that it is hard to let down my walls. Meeting Nick was God’s way of showing me it was time to let my walls down and showed that all men are not the same.
To all of the people who have been in my situation or have children in my situation…. It never gets easier. You eventually cope with the pain, you grow from the situation, but most of all you learn how strong of a person you can be. Never let your situation make you become a victim. Use it to help someone else. Use it to love your kids more than your parent loved you. But most of all use it to help you become a better and more loving person.
“Sure I think about you now and then
But it’s been a long, long time
Well I’ve got a good life now, I moved on
So when you cross my mind
I try not to think about what might have been
Cause that was then and
We have taken different roads
We can’t go back again
There’s no use giving in
And there’s no way to know
What might have been”