For many years, I did not recognize Father’s Day as anything special to observe. In fact, I would say this day meant nothing to me as my father had not been in my life. My mother and he never married; they split before I was born. When I was around 6 months old, my mother married my first step-father. When I was eleven, she married my second step-father.
Despite our physical separation, my biological father was a strong influence in my life. I imagined his presence for every important occasion. I knew he would be proud of me; because I was, according to my mother, “just like my father.” So, I decided in my thirties that I had to find my father. In 2012, I found my family and was informed of my father’s death. It happened when I was 12 years old – all those years I thought he was alive and did not care to find me.
My son graduating from high school triggered something in me that I could not explain. It was a happy time, but I was hyper-focused on him becoming an adult and leaving the nest eventually. Also, my role as a teacher weighed heavily on my mind. The students promoting to high school – how would life turn out for them? I want to hold on to them to insure as they are going to be alright – meaning: persevere, and succeed by ultimately graduating from high school. I care enough to follow them for a lifetime.
I felt driven to do something…make a difference…inspire change in a huge way! Drowning in my thoughts daily, I realize that ultimately I was in search of my authentic self. Is it rooted in my father’s identity?
My father’s side of the family warmly embraced me and provided important clues that confirmed that I was indeed “just like him.” To me, this was a good thing. Despite his obvious shortcomings – he represented so much more to me than anyone realized.
I personally have never been upset with my father for not being in my life. Perhaps because the last time I saw him, I was 8 years old, and he was so warm and kind. I held on to the memory of his strong voice and kneeling to meet my eye level.
It was mother who controlled our relationship because my stepfather wouldn’t allow it. I heard the adults talking and knew I was lied to about my father – they tried to tell me he was an uncle. My stepfather’s insecurity kept us apart.
In 2012, when I realized that my father had died, I was so sad. I wished he’d gotten to know me. I wanted to tell him all the good things I had accomplished. My father’s strength, intelligence, risk-taking, and most of all, loyalty and no nonsense way of being confirmed I would have been a daddy’s girl. This was so significant because my mother and I never really bonded. I needed my father to fill that void.
The sum total of my life experiences forced me to examine my authentic self. Not the person that people think I am, but who I genuinely know myself to be.
As I take a personal inventory, I realize that my career as a teacher is more than fulfilling. I get excited Sunday evenings because I know I will see my kiddos on Monday. My finances could stand to improve, but I am not really money-centric. My health definitely needs to improve – focus is on my blood pressure more than anything else. I have wonderful close friends and a tremendous family (on my father’s side especially). I have loved my husband for the last 13 years without fail through ups and downs – but we are in a great place now. My home and living situation is where I need it to be at the present time.
Now, I can get down to business and determine what I am really going to do with the rest of my life. Meaning – define my purpose and walk it out – my authentic self is ready…
I will continue to blog about my journey. I look forward to your comments along the way.