Father’s Day is coming up, as it does every year.
This Father’s Day will be different for me. Not because my father passed away. Gratefully he’s still very much alive. This Father’s Day will be different because after over 31 years of separation I met my father for the first time this year.
The details surrounding the cause of separation are still sparse and even though I’m curious it’s not something that I necessarily need to know. As they say, “that’s a whole ‘nother story.”
I grew up not knowing the paternal side of my family and that is what fueled my journey to find them. Thankfully curiosity did not kill the cat. Curiosity led to the discovery and meeting of grandparents, siblings, aunts and uncles, and a host of cousins.
Eventually I had a need that still had to be met. I was ready to know the man who had taken part in creating me. I’d grown tired of not knowing what my father looked like and was very aware that no one was getting any younger.
The decision was made.
My daughter, husband, and I packed ourselves into a shiny black rented Dodge Caravan that surprisingly rivaled all stigmas about the minivan culture. Along the way we picked up the brothers I’d met some years ago and we began our road trip to finally meet our dad.
For me, the road trip effectively closed a chapter in my life where only my subconscious had known I always felt abandoned. The little devil voice inside of me used to say, “Your dad doesn’t care about you” and “You don’t need him.” One of my most hated of the favorites was, “Make sure you work really hard so that if you ever meet your father you can throw all your achievements in his face”.
POW! TAKE THAT!
The negativity was never-ending so I had to stop it. I had to meet my dad and I had to do it for me.
Meeting my father for the first time should have been an overwhelming emotional experience but I was eerily calm. It wasn’t until I sat down after the journey to vlog about the trip in the shiny black Caravan that I began to understand the gravity of it all.
I found myself crying during my video upon recalling a time where I’d gone to the store with my dad during the trip. It was at that point that my brain began to process that I’d never had the pleasure of going to the store with him. Momentarily I felt deprived but in the end I realized that through that one journey I’d empowered myself to be greater than who I used to be.
During our trip the shiny black Caravan was filled with smiles, laughter, joy, and some pleasantly placed humor from the DVD playing, “Daddy’s Home”. Comical coincidence, of course. There was no place for negativity-only joy. Joy from making our journey. Months later, there is still joy.
Now I smile because I’ve been to the store with my dad. I smile because I know what he looks like. I smile because I know of the similarities we share.
As Father’s Day approaches, if you are a daughter who has been abandoned, whether or not you feel that way, you have a decision to make. You can allow the unbeknownst bitter side of you to remind you of all the cool things that your father missed out on. You can continue to try and replace his love with failed relationships. You can think of how much it utterly sucks that you don’t get to or even want to celebrate Father’s Day with him. You can even wonder if you would have been a Daddy’s Girl.
Or you can allow the better side of you to win and squash the ugliness that is eager to tear you down. Make the decision to take the first step despite your invisible fears. Do it for you.
Maybe then, you too can smile with fond memories when you see your version of the shiny black Dodge Caravan.
Want to see more? Check out my vlog.