My father walked in and out of my life ever since I was a baby. He wasn’t there when I needed him the most. There was a time when I felt alone. I had trouble at home communicating with my mom. I reached out for him but he was nowhere to be found. I went for counseling but it was a waste of time. Some time last year he promised me he would change. He promised to never leave again. To make it up he insisted and promised to pay for my high school class ring. As much as I wanted to trust that he would I just couldn’t. And sure enough he didn’t come through. He never paid for my class ring nor did he stick around. I paid for the ring. The day he made all of these promises was the last day I saw him. He made promises he couldn’t keep and yet he has never seen me cry a single tear. I always tried to hide how I felt towards him because I did not want him to know I actually looked forward to a change in him. I never let my guard down because I did not want him to know he is the reason I struggle with life sometimes.
He calls himself my daddy and I do not understand. Does he even know anyone can be a father but it takes someone special to be a daddy? He says mom is the reason for him not contacting me, but what about me? Don’t I matter to him? My mom has every right in the world to be mad at him but that does not mean I don’t exist. All I wanted was a real dad to actually be here for me. I do not care about how much he makes or how much he can give me.
He did not even come to my eighth grade graduation. I walked across the stage and no one had his face. I remember being so angry and hurt I just wanted to cry. I was angry because I knew he struck a nerve in me. He hurt me deeply. But I wanted him to be there so bad because I wanted him to see what I had accomplished. I didn’t care if my mom didn’t want to see his face. I wanted the attention of my father. Most of all I wanted the love from a dad.
I know he let himself down too. I know he stays away because sometimes he knows he has failed and is ashamed of the man he has proven himself to be. But I cannot keep making excuses for his absence in my life. I have realized we are nothing to each other. We share the same DNA and that is about it. This is who he has shown to be and that is how little he really means to me.
It took me a while to realize that I shouldn’t hold onto my father’s mistakes. If I held onto everything he has done to me emotionally and mentally I would only tie myself down with heavy chains that I would have to drag along with bad memories. If I do not forgive my father I will not be able to be at peace with myself. Forgiveness is the only way I can move on with my life and being forgiven will lift burdens. Forgiveness will lift my burdens of holding onto his failures for such a long time instead of just being happy without him. He probably hates himself for what he did to me but I hate him. By forgiving him I think will heal a broken relationship with myself.
In spite of who he is to me I try to not allow it to affect who I am today. I do not want to become like him or be in a relationship with a man like him. His absence in my life only helped me realize no matter how hard it can be at times to not have the effective love of a dad I can still be a strong woman. I want to build a future completely different from my past. I’m going to show him the excellent job my mom did raising me. I have high goals in life. After I earn my education and carry on an exciting career I want to travel the world and go places that some only see in movies. I want to make the best out of my life. I know he will regret everything he has done. I know he is going to wish he could turn back time to undo everything that has hurt me. If he wants to be part of my future… well this time I will not have high hopes but it is up to him to make that change.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.