Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Cheated Out of a Father

A few weeks ago, I was walking through an aisle in the grocery store where I witnessed a father-son interaction. After everything I've been through with my dad, I always find it interesting to watch interactions between fathers and their kids. I have to admit, though, most of the fathers I see have very little patience with their kids. This was especially true with my dad, to an extreme.

The father was on one side of the aisle and the child on the other. While the father was sniffing candles, the child was playing with a display. And the kid accidentally knocked down one of the items on the display. He quickly picked it up and put it back but I was more interested in the father's response.

From my own personal experiences, I expected a sharp reprimand and a look of sadness on the child's face.

Instead, the father looked over at his son, gave a low chuckle, and motioned for his son to follow him. No reprimand, no look of sadness on the child's face.

Honestly, I was astounded - and a little choked up. Never in my life could I ever imagine my father doing this. He was a man who was long on discipline and short on love. (At least, this is the way it felt to me.)

And I just feel so cheated out of having a father. I feel cheated out of knowing a father's unconditional love and approval. Who knows what type of life I would be leading today if I had a father who loved and supported me in every aspect of my life? Who wasn't a convicted felon?

It's so easy to get caught in the what if's, especially when life isn't working out the way you imagined it. I could imagine what my life would be like with a great father, but it's such a moot point. There's a reason God gave me this father in my life. There's a reason I've had to deal with such heartache and pain when it comes to him. I don't know why but it has made me a stronger person. And it's made me a person who is not going to settle for a relationship where a guy doesn't show his love and appreciation for me. I saw how my dad treated my mother. I saw how he belittled her, threatened her, and beat up on her. I saw how long it took my mom to break out of this shell my dad placed her in to become the woman she is today. That's not going to be me.

I am not settling for a relationship like my mom had. I want a man who is going to be there for me on my worst days and on my best days. I want a man who is going to treat me with dignity and respect. I want a man who brings out the best in me. I want a man who is going to be the best father to my children, who loves them unconditionally, no matter if they score the winning soccer goal or fail to hit the ball once in a baseball game. (And all of this goes hand-in-hand for how I need to treat my future husband as well.)

And when God gave my a father like my deadbeat one, he also gave me a mother who surpasses all expectations. She is the most unselfish, giving, and loving person I've ever met. She has given up so much for my brother and me and has shown me time and time again, what it's like to fall down, brush yourself off, get up, and perservere. She has evolved into my best friend and someone I would be lost without. My mom more than makes up for my father.
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