This is an honest to god question. I mean, aside from their tiny part in creating life, I just don’t get it.
I am aware that this is mostly because of my personal experience. I never had a real whole father figure in my life. It just seemed more like a vacancy that had to be filled than a fundamental of the human experience. Which my mother tried to do. She married my bio father and brought in a boyfriend once she divorced him.
Neither was really a good option. My father was an emotionally abusive piece of shit who would have let us starve to buy a new set of tools for his business that he never worked in. His successor was better, but in the end, did much worse damage to both myself and my mother. That damage has hurt our relationship to the point that it is still healing ten years later.
My eyes are open enough to know that my life, while sadly all too common, isn’t completely the norm. There are those I know as fathers that just seem to light up around their kids. And you can feel the pulse of love and security surrounding their families. So I believe there is something to these fathers.
The question is what?
I have mostly been raised by women. My mother and grandmother were my biggest influences. And the men I grew up around seemed to pale in comparison to what my mother could and was already doing. They’d be sitting in the recliner with their drinks while she would be taking care of my demented grandmother, organizing appointments, keeping up the house and pretty much repairing everything by herself.
I grew up with the impression that men were just a social accessory. Something like the human equivalent of having the latest phone. And that phone wasn’t worth the cost of it’s parts. In my world men never really did anything, or if they did it was always under sufference. Like christ that kid needs a ride to x-event again? I have to pick you up at the garage because your car broke down?
Granted, that is not the case in normal healthy adult relationships. I realize this as an adult. But still in retrospect, I wonder what the hell a fully invested father could have given or taught me that my mother hasn’t already? Everything I am and everything I know today is from her.
Hell, I would have learned even more from her had she not fallen in line with the whole child needs a father bit. Imagine what she could have done if she didn’t have to carry the dead weight of those particular men and just be who she was and wanted to be? In the brief moments of rest where she did try to actively parent, she was amazing. If I had that full time…wow.
I suppose the lesson here isn’t that all men are useless and best avoided. But that in a relationship you need a partner more than you need a body to fill a space. Someone who is completely invested in being a productive and active part in your life and the lives of your kids.
That is what a father is, someone who is committed by his own choice to his partner and his kids. And on this Father’s Day I give out my sincere thanks to the men out there who are loving and supporting their kids and making sure to be a positive kind part in their lives.
And to my own fathers, one I wish peace and healing wherever he is in whatever comes after this life, the other I wish him well. For better or worse they have made me who I am, and I won’t hold them to a debt that neither could ever repay.