Time to get real.
My biggest fear in becoming a father, was becoming MY father.
I’m sure people out there had it worse than me, but man… it was rough.
My dad was a floater, he would disappear for months, even years while I was growing up, then show up out of nowhere and act like the Hero. Unfortunately, at a young age, I believed him. I would be so happy to see him, and I watched my mom smile along like everything was fine.
Between the disappearing, the drinking, the substance abuse, the yelling, and the constant let downs, you could say my dad and I aren’t close.
My father would call me in my early teen years at 3 a.m. to tell me he was about to harm, or even kill himself and then hang up. It was his way of “making sure we still think about him”. I guess he never understood the kind of trauma that puts in a child’s mind.
Yet every time, I forgave him.
Then, around the age of 16, I started to see him for all he truly was. Which wasn’t much. He would come around, say hurtful things about my mom, and try to make me feel guilty for not spending time with him. His version of making me feel guilty, included screaming profanity loudly in my face, blaming me for everything wrong in his life, and showing up to public school events drunk, in dirty clothes and belligerent.
So I meet my girlfriend (now wife) and I try to distance myself. I didn’t want her to know where I came from. Her having the constant reminder, that maybe that’s me someday. I’d get the occasional call or message, no big deal.
Then he would show up wherever I lived, wanting to “talk” or ask for money. By this point I am 19 or 20 years old and I’ve had it.
We had our final blowout that year, when my great grandfather died.
You see, my father and my great grandfather used to be close. I found out about his passing because my grandfather called to tell me. My grandfather and I are close so I appreciated the call.
Well 3 days later, an obituary is posted.
My father calls, and all hell breaks loose.
The phone rings from an unknown number and I answered. Lucky me, it’s my father who proceeded to call me every name you can possible imagine, and after about 2 minutes I finally asked why he was calling. He was calling to blame his 20-year-old son, for not telling him his grandfather had passed.
- His phone number had changed at least 3 times since we last spoke
- Why is it my responsibility to tell him.
- No one knew where he was living.
We had it out for a few more minutes and then one of us hung up.
At this point I’m done, I have decided that he is out of my life. I won’t be belittled or talked down to by a drunken nobody, who happens to be my father.
He calls me the next day and tries to act like everything is fine, I calmly explained how I’d like him to stop trying to contact me and that we are no longer on any sort of speaking terms.
It’s been 7 years.
I have not spoken verbally or seen my father.
I got married.
We bought a house.
My wife and I had a beautiful baby girl.
I’ve never been happier.
So, if you’ve made it this far, you may understand my fears. None of the above is the person I want to become.
None of the above is what any person in this world deserves.
How can I avoid becoming something that provided 50% of who I am?
Honestly, it takes some work. Some days more than others.
I still look at my father as a Role-model. He is the absolute perfect role model on what not to be.
I know the hurt, I know the pain, and I know the damage that a father is capable of doing.
I’ve seen what not to be.
From the day my daughter was born my life changed, I will not make the same mistakes. For my wife and for my children.
Thank you, “Dad”