That moment came when I examined my life and noticed the destructive patterns in my life had followed had all stemmed from the need to find the love and validation I never got from my father.
My earliest memories of my father are of him not being there. I was 8,when the weight of my father’s absence hit my heart full force. I was involved in this annual singing competition. I closed my eyes singing a latest from back in the day. When I opened them, the song was over and a slow song started to play.
My friends ran off to their respective parents and I was left there alone, overcome by emotions as I watched a picture-perfect scene before me. Young girls sandwiched between the embrace of their dads and mums. Are they different from me?
In an instant I felt a cloud of grief wash over me. Tears began streaming down my cheeks. I remember running as fast as I could, my feet pounding on the pavement as my heart beat wildly in my chest. I found my mom at a corner & hugged her around the waist, sobbing. In that moment, I felt the loss of my father in a way I never had before. It wasn’t the last time I was overcome with emotion over my father, but it was the first I remember.
Over a decade later, I am a fatherless lady who remembers many days like that.
My father left long before I could speak or reason, and aside from the occasional awkward Saturday visits, that lasted a month, or less, I’m not sure, my dad was not present in my life.
As I grew into a young woman, I felt a gaping hole inside me. It grew bigger & bigger as the years passed: No father to bring to the Father-daughter dance at school; No father to wave at me as I danced on stage; No father to high-five me after I win my English competions. When I was around preschool kids, I loved watching dads pick them from class and sweep them off the floor in a big loving embrace; At the same time, though, I felt pain that I never experienced anything like that with my own dad.
My hole got bigger until it was impossible to notice much else. Through it all, I continued to believe in miracles. I longed for my dad to enter my life or for my mother to remarry and find a man to adopt me. us. I have always hoped for a happy ending in this part of my story.
I remember many moments when my mom asked me, “Aren’t I good enough for you?”. It was hard to answer that question when she has sacrificed so much to raise us. She has been a wonderful single mom, and I always chocked back a sob as I nodded, “yes, you’re enough.”
I have waited so many years for you to ‘come from your job’.
I have bought you stupid gifts for your return so many times they pilled up in my secret hiding place. I have wanted to tell you so many stories from school and everybody around me for over two decades now. I still have them all noted down so I don’t forget. I even got you a t-shirt branded, “BEST DADDY EVER!”
I still want to believe that you are coming home but I am a little too grown not to get it now. It hurts every day that I have to go without a dad.
I can’t stand family gatherings, I can’t stand complete families, I even view the fathers to my friends with some skepticism.
I often wonder though. Was it worth it? Is it still?
Your absence has had me building wall, I don’t ask questions about people’s families, I have remained socially isolated, all a self-protective measure so I don’t experience rejection like I did with you.
My fear of rejection is more powerful than my desire to make connections.
I am so tired of looking for love and the validation I never got from you. I am constantly looking for an alternative to a man who never said “I love you” or “you’re pretty” and the unconditional acceptance one craves from a parent.
You were absent when It mattered, And that’s not okay, but I guess I’ll say it’s still okay.