Growing up without a father (or any parent) sucks. Especially, (as harsh as this may sound) when it’s not because he’s dead, but because he just couldn’t be bothered to have you in his life.
I was lucky enough to have a step father who accepted me and included me in everything even after my mother and him split up. I even lived with him a couple of times in my life during “get back on my feet” moments and for that I will always be grateful to him. But, despite this I always felt like I didn’t really belong, the fact that my step father is white only exaggerated the feeling of being an outcast. This feeling came to a peak in my teen years where I pulled away and no longer would want to spend time with him when he’d come for my brother.
Does anyone remember that episode of the Fresh Prince of Bel Air when Will’s father who had abandoned him and his mother as a child came back from out of nowhere talking all big, and making promises to take Will with him once he set out again? Only for Will to see him try and sneak off again without even saying goodbye?
I will always remember that moment where Will crumpled into Uncle Phil’s arms asking “Why don’t he want me man?” It was such a poignant, heartbreaking and touching scene. A scene that I could relate to all too well because I’d asked myself that question many times.
Well I learned that sometimes you may not want or need what you think you want and need.
One day I noticed my “other” folder in Facebook messages for the first time. I had 27 of them over a three month period. All from the same man (who shall remain nameless).
A flood of emotions rushed over me as I started reading them and realized the messages weren’t from some random perv, but from my father.
By his messages he seemed so happy to have gotten in touch with me, he called me the “missing link” in his life. He was praising the lord in his messages that he’d found me and was begging me to get in contact with him.
Well I did get in touch with him, with mixed feelings of excitement, nervousness and guilt. I guess the nervousness and excitement are obvious but the guilt came from feeling a sense of betrayal towards my mother who raised me on her own and who painted a pretty shitty picture of my father. But I had to do it. I had to know. I had so many questions.
Nothing could truly excuse a man for being absent from his kid’s entire life, but the naive child in me was hoping he’d have some romantic story that could explain why he was never around. Like what I don’t know…fighting for his country and being held as a prisoner of war somewhere, returning with the 500 letters he was never able to post to me?? I don’t know, I’ve always been a dreamer and known to come up with crazy scenarios in my head.
What came next I could never imagine. All of our conversations were about HIM. And at first I didn’t really think anything of it, I was interested to know about him. It wasn’t long before it became clear that there was no romantic tale, more like a tragic tale but I accepted reality. After awhile I wondered why he wasn’t the least bit interested in what I’d done with my life. I had to tell him to ask something about me for a change. He hadn’t even really apologized for not being around. I mean he did offer up some half assed apology but it was always followed by a “but,” virtually negating the apology itself. “Sorry I wasn’t there but I was abused as a child, I had the hardest life, you could never imagine, I was on the run so I couldn’t stick around, I was in jail.” Just one excuse after another.
He claims he did everything to try and find me (I guess everything except look in a phone book). I know that on my end I tried to find him or any family members on his side by calling 411 and doing Facebook searches. But my search was futile because come to find out the name I had been given as my father’s was a fake. That’s right ladies and gentleman he had given my mother a fake name. Something that he deemed as necessary because he was on the run from police.
In 2010 my sister (who got my real name from our father) contacted me on Facebook saying we might be sisters. She gave me the name of our father but at that time I didn’t know his real name so I said that I was not the girl she was looking for. I lost five years of a potential relationship with my sister because of his lies.
The extent of his self centeredness was apparent once he started saying how I should be grateful to him because without him I wouldn’t be alive. Yeah, thanks to his sperm maybe, but he certainly played no role in feeding, clothing or protecting me which, the last time I checked, were all part of staying alive. I decided to get what I could out of this man who blamed all his offsprings mothers for brainwashing his kids against him, instead holding himself accountable for his own actions as a terrible father.
He gave me the names of a few of my siblings, which is all he could give me since he had no contact info due to them all hating his guts. Unfortunately I couldn’t find any of my siblings on Facebook. I didn’t go so far as to try and do 411 searches because he was not even certain about their whereabouts. I just let it go. But then during one of my father’s Facebook tirades he mentioned a daughter he hadn’t previously mentioned.
I looked her up and sure enough she was on Facebook. She never answered my message or friend request but due to lax privacy settings I was able to look through her friends list and found someone with the same last name as my father. I messaged him, told him who I was and hoped for the best. Two weeks later he messaged me back and said that my father was indeed his uncle although they no longer had any contact (surprise surprise).
He was friends on Facebook with one of my other sisters. AT LONG LAST! I messaged her and she replied almost immediately. She had heard about me from her mother and father. She also led me to another sister (the one who tried to contact me back in 2010). It was such an amazing feeling to meet relatives on my father’s side at long last.
I had to cut ties with my father due to his selfishness, his deludedness, his constant negativity and refusal to hold take responsibility for his actions. Although I forgive him I couldn’t have a relationship with a man who uses the expression “shit happens” as the reason why he wasn’t in ANY of his kids lives. I wish him the best and it’s sad that he will probably die an old man alone, but like he said: “shit happens.” At some point everyone (or most people I think) are held accountable for their actions and I guess his loneliness is how he is paying for all the lies, and poor treatment of his kids. In the meantime I’m just so grateful that I did gain two (out of 8 or 9) siblings and that I have a mother who accepted the task of raising me, and a step father who was there for me when I needed him.
In the end, what I thought I needed and wanted (biological father) was not necessary at all. I am very lucky for all that I have.