I don’t know my father.
I know OF him but in the realm of how lots of kids know their fathers – I don’t know him at all. And that’s OK.
The back story goes something like this: Girl falls in love with Boy. Girl and Boy get married. They have a child together at a very young age. Girl becomes a mother and changes her life to accommodate this grand responsibility. Boy does not. He’s not ready to grow up. Divorce eventually ensues. Some time passes. Girl meets new Boy. And they begin a new life together.
That “new boy” is my Dad.
Dad officially adopted me at the age of three. From that moment we were family. I came to have two younger siblings and grew up in what we considered a “normal household.” It was a little odd that we grew up with three sets of grandparents when other kids only had two but it was our normal. Holidays were packed with loads of love. And gifts.
I’ve always known my Dad and I didn’t share the same blood but it was never a big deal…. and that’s what made it normal.
What I mean by “normal” is everything rolled along as it should. It was our world. Nothing ever felt out-of-place. The rules were the same for my siblings and I, there was never any favoritism or anything that would indicate a difference in my heritage. Blood didn’t matter. We were a family.
The only time I ever felt the need to question if my Dad loved me different was in the middle of the deterioration of my parents marriage. Tension was high and we weren’t getting along either. It felt weird saying it and in my gut I knew I was off base…. but I had to ask if his way of treating me had nothing to do with being the oldest but everything to do with the fact that I “wasn’t his.”
I’ll never forget the look on his face. It twisted in anger and pain. I knew I was very wrong.
He loved me. I realized it was such an intense time in our lives and looking back, I can understand how crazy it all must’ve been. I was in my mid-teens making a break for my independence and my family was going through a breakup of its own. It wasn’t easy on any of us.
Now that I have children and witnessing what other mixed families go through, I think about how my parents handled the situation and I can rightly say my Dad was and is truly MY Dad. I know what a big deal this was. While one guy was signing away his rights, another was coming forward with a promise to care for me as his own.
To take what is supposed to be another man’s future and contribute to shaping the life of a child is not something to be taken lightly. Just like anyone else who decides to be an active parent.
Sure my dad was tough and strict. And he may have had difficulties accepting me growing up but it was all out of love. And probably fear.
Having a daughter can be scary. I understand this now.
Our relationship has been through many ups and downs – as most relationships worth having do – but there is no one else that I’d rather have as my Dad. He was there when no other man was. He didn’t have to take up the reins like he did. He didn’t have to put the effort into a child created by someone else.
They say blood is thicker than water. But I think blood had nothing to do with it.