NOTE: The following post is probably NSFW due to course language. You have been warned.
As the father to an 8 year old girl, and an almost 10 year old boy, I appreciated the little gifts my kids gave me for Father’s Day. I loved being told I was a great dad. I also loved the fact that my wife bought me a BBQ and soon I’ll be cooking on the grill out back. All of those things are a great thing to experience on Father’s Day.
But opening up Facebook and seeing a sea of “thanks dad!” “love you dad” “My dad is awesome” blah blah blah did nothing but piss me off all day. It reminded me that I need to steer clear of Facebook on daddy day.
My parents split up before I was 10. In 1985, at around 11.5 years old, my mom moved me from Edmonton to Moncton. It wasn’t until April of 1994 that I would see my dad again. In those 9 years, I got a handful of phone calls, and about 2 or 3 letters from him. After I graduated high school, I heard from him even less. For a stretch of about 3-5 years, I didn’t even know where he lived, or if he was even alive. Somewhere near 2002/2003, I went to visit him again and saw him a few times in the years that passed. In May of 2010, I got word that he had passed away in his sleep.
The reality is, my dad was not a dad to me. He was a guy I remember as a kid living with my mom and then really barely ever heard from him again as I got older. I never had the sex talk with him. He never taught me to shave, to play hockey or baseball, or even play catch with me in my front yard. He was a man who had some strange ideas about the world and although he was my biological father, I felt more affection for my step-father than my real dad.
So when I see a day like today come along and all I read is constant affections for people’s fathers, it’s something I have no concept of. He didn’t give a shit about me and never did anything for me but cause me endless amounts of grief so why the hell would I want to even think of him on a day like this? It makes me angry actually. Not angry at people who praise their dads on Facebook. Angry at my own dad that he never did anything like that for me. Was there something wrong with me that you couldn’t be bothered to try and find out how I was doing once in awhile?
It’s because of my own “daddy issues” I’ve gone the other way with my own kids. I do anything and everything I can for them because I know what it’s like to grow up with no father figure in my life. I leaned heavily on my mom, and my friends as I needed to. My step-father wasn’t the most affectionate, nor communicative man either but he did anything he could for me and it was just sort of left unsaid. So for him, I am grateful, but for my own dad, fuck him.
I don’t ever think this feeling I have will go away. But I do know that it drives me to be a better father to my kids so at least in that regard, it’s a positive thing.