Thank you to the very brave father that submitted this story I am spotlighting this week. Sometimes it takes not knowing what something is, to know exactly what you want. Enjoy!
I can tell you there was a point in time when I did not want to have kids. I'm not sure that I believed that really, but it was my truth for a long time.
My father walked out on us more than once. It is a memory that is forever burned into my brain. I remember it like it was yesterday, even though I have very few memories of my childhood as a whole. Yes, I had a stepfather, and yes, he was a good Dad to me. However, when you knew your father and you know he made a conscious decision to leave his family behind for his own selfish freedoms, it's a harsh reality. He could care less his kids were crying for him behind his back as he walked away.
"Have you called him?" "Have you gone to see your Dad?" "Did your Dad stop by and see you when he was in town last week?" Those are questions, as I became an adult, often heard. I used to feel guilty. Now I realize, I'm the child. So, No, I haven't seen him, called him, or wished him a Happy Birthday. No, he didn't stop by when he came through. He doesn't call me unless he feels drunk and guilty. I haven't heard from him on my birthday either, and we don"t go out of our way for him. I am past any feelings of anger and guilt. Our relationship, or lack thereof, is what it is. Which is not much.
I was scared to death when my wife and I began our family. She had a child and I did my best to be their father figure. We have a good and close relationship. However, I don't care what anyone says, for me it was just different having children of my own. I was there from the very beginning. It's just a different feeling knowing they are a piece of you and your wife.
I had no idea how to be a Dad. I will say this though. I knew what kind of Dad I would be, and I knew what kind of Dad I was not going to be.
My promise to my children is this:
I will always be here for you no matter what.
I will always be the adult and you will always be my child. You will never have to chase me down.
I will always come home to you every day.
I will keep every promise I make to you.
No matter how old you get or how far or close you live to me as an adult, you will hear from me on every single holiday and birthday. I hope it's that I get to see you though.
I will never drunk dial you and make you feel guilty for any of the mistakes I make.
I will try with every thread of my being to give you the most amazing life.
I will always encourage you to be the best you can be.
I will never make poor financial decisions and leave you to clean up my mess.
I will always be good to your mother and show you what love and a marriage is supposed to look like.
I will always love you.
That is the kind of Dad I want to be to you. The kind I never had.