I'm having mixed feelings about this Father's Day thing. Being a single mom, and having grown up without my dad, it's not a subject that I know how to address with Josey. I mean, I get Mother's Day. I can still celebrate that day as a single mom. But Father's Day? How does that look?
We actually just brought this up last night at about 11 pm. We were on our way home from spending the evening with friends, and while there it was mentioned that it is Father's Day this Sunday. While still in our vehicle, Josey says, "To me it's just another day." Wow! Where do you go with that? All I could say was, "I know how you feel." But do I? We have talked about many things, but I don't know that we've actually had a full-out discussion about what Father's Day means to both of us.
Don't get me wrong, I love my dad. It's just that I didn't even meet him until I was well into my 20s. So by then, the whole Father's Day thing was a non-issue, a day that I just didn't celebrate...EVER. Sure, I had my share of step-dads....but I can't say that either of them were a real father to me. Sure, they were authority figures....kind of.....but the love wasn't there. I had called my first step-dad "Dad" up until I found out he wasn't my real dad. I was four. Then I didn't know WHAT to call him. "Dad" just didn't seem to apply to him. I always felt like an inconvenience to him....certainly not like a daughter should. Even when I thought he WAS my dad. Then my 2nd step-dad....are you KIDDING me???? I had tried out the "Dad" name once, maybe twice, but it didn't fit him either. So he was always called by his first name by my brother and me. I think I was more afraid of him than anything. I obeyed him out of fear of what he'd do as punishment, rather than respect. I don't think I had respect for either one of them. I'm just amazed that I have respect for any male figure in my life, just because of the lack of earned respect for my step-dads. What I wanted growing up was to know my dad. To be the apple of his eye. To hear him tell me "It'll be OK" whenever I was afraid. To laugh with me. To hold me. To tell me that I'm lovely. To carry me on his shoulders and be strong for me.
Then suddenly, there was my real dad. My birth father. Suddenly, he was "Dad". When I called him "Dad" it just fit. Perfectly. Then just as suddenly that he came into my life, he was out of it. Because of difficult family circumstances, he was gone. I've talked to him on the phone twice and seen him once in the past 9+ years. The hug he gave me when I saw him in January of this year was something I have longed for, needed, desperately, for oh, so very long. Then, again he was gone. I love him and miss him desperately, and want him in my life. It's just that I don't know what that would look like, or how to even make that happen. He lives in another country, 8-10 hours away, so it's not like I can just stop in and say "Hi...I'm here!" any old time I want. Altho I know if I could, I would. And he'd probably welcome me. But it's just getting there, both physically and emotionally, that is the difficult, and painful, part. I'm just so afraid that he'd turn me away. Tell me things that I don't want to hear. Not tell me things that I want and need to hear. Like about my brother. I so very much want to know about him. VERY much! But that's a whole 'nuther matter altogether....a subject for another day. Today I'm talking about dads.
OK, then there's Josey's dad. Josey has not heard from him in over a year. And truthfully, he doesn't want to. Even tho I know he'll never say it, I can see it on his face every time his phone rings that's he's terrified that it will be his dad asking to see him. TERRIFIED! He just asked me yesterday too, "What should I do if my dad shows up sometime?" And we had our discussion about that, to keep him safe. To make him feel safe, to ensure him I would keep him safe. His dad just has not had the best track record with making him feel safe. Josey has always called him "Dad", but he said that he felt more like a buddy than a father. And I know Josey desperately wants a father figure in his life. He needs a father figure in his life. It's just that right now, it's not his dad. Maybe one day when he feels safe again, feels secure in knowing he CAN feel safe around his dad, he will want to see him again. It's just not now.
Until then, I make sure he feels safe. I will be the best mom to him that I can be. And I will do my best to be there for him when he needs me. To cheer him on. To tell him he's got what it takes. To tell him he's the best kid this side of heaven. To be strong for him. To tell him it will be OK when he's afraid. To hug him, and get hugs from him. To celebrate Mother's Day with him, and Father's Day too if that's what he wants.
And for both of us, for now, and for always, God is our Father (Matthew 6:9). HE will pick us up when we fall (Psalm 37:24). HE will tell us it will be OK when we're afraid (Psalm 27:1). HE will tell us we are lovely and have what it takes (Psalm 17:8). HE will be the one to tell us He loves us (Jeremiah 31:3). HE will never EVER leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). HE will be the One to guide us, to hold us (Psalm 139:10). HE will be strong for both of us (Psalm 118:14).
And Dad, if you're reading this....Happy Father's Day! I love you!