Friday, June 19, 2009

Father's Day

Father's Day is a strange holiday for me. That was a true statement even before I'd faced almost a decade of infertility and all of the heartache that comes with desperately wanting to see your husband become a father.

I don't have the best relationship with my dad. I don't necessarily mean that we don't get along, but that we are not close. After several very tumultuous years of marriage, he and my mom divorced when I was 7 years old. There is not much I remember of my dad being at home. I have a few foggy memories of him coming home really late and carrying me from their bed to my own. I remember his love for crossword puzzles and how he was really good at drawing. Among my dad's redeeming qualities is his sense of humor. Above anything else, he still loves to make people laugh. He can, at times, be very tender-hearted. Sad movies make him cry. My sister and I remember the only time we were ever punished by our dad. We had been fighting and, in the heat of the moment, we said we hated each other. He spanked us and put us on our knees in the spare bedroom. After just a few minutes he came back with tears in his eyes and said how hard it was to have to do that. The lesson was learned for us. We never said we hated each other ever again.

My mom tells me that I was Daddy's Girl when I was little. She says that when he was home, I was always in his lap. I don't really remember that, but my recent interest in old family photographs turned up a picture that I had never seen before. I found it in an old box of photos from my Great Aunt's house (on Mom's side). In the picture, we are at a family get-together, and I'm in my dad's lap. He looks young and handsome -- and happy.

I was delighted to discover that picture. I have very few pictures of my dad at all, especially from his younger days. A couple of years ago, I got a copy of his baby picture from my grandmother. I treasure it, too.

If these memories were all I had of life with my dad, it wouldn't be bad at all. I wish I could say that the good outweighed the bad, but it didn't. These few happy memories are just about it, while there are decades worth of alcohol abuse, disappointments, empty promises, and long absences. When I think about what kind of legacy or inheritance that I will receive from my father, I don't think of money or property, or even time, memories, or values. I think of how much I hoped and prayed for a husband who was different from that. I didn't know if there were any men in the world who could be sober, faithful, reliable, responsible, and godly all at the same time. He doesn't know it, but my dad's legacy for me is my desire to create a new legacy for my own family. In a way, I owe it to him (and to the lessons I learned from my mom) that I married a great man.

We have never celebrated holidays with my dad. We don't have Thanksgiving dinner or exchange Christmas or birthday presents. If I can find one generic enough and if I know where to send it, I usually mail a Father's Day card to him. I may try to reach him by phone. So, Father's Day still finds me feeling somewhere in between. Not only is there a disconnect between my father and me, I haven't yet fulfilled the dream of celebrating my own husband on Father's Day. Right now I can only imagine a time when it will be a day for us to celebrate together.


Anonymous said...

I love your childhood photos! Even though he didn't earn it you honor your father by taking the best of your memories to make a whole new family dynamic with your husband.

One of the first times I realized that I wanted to have a baby with my husband was watching him with my nephews. I know I won't be a "natural," that I'll have to learn and grow into being a good mom. But Troy is going to be a natural, and I want to make him a dad so badly.

Stacey said...

Stacey - thanks for your comment. You hit the nail on the head. That's exactly what I hoped to do with this post. I don't desire to drag anyone through the mud for past mistakes. I've tried to find the good in that whole situation for most of my life.

I totally identify with your statement about watching your husband with your nephews. I'm with you, girl.
Thanks for reading.

Connie said...

Well said, Stace, as usual. Love you! :)

Kathryn said...

I understand this a little. I have similar feelings about my mother. Sometimes they're more complicated than i want as i feel i am expected to do certain things. I remember how surprised i was to come across a pic of me on her lap when i was about 3-1/2, 'cause she never touched me that i can remember growing up.

I pray you will be able to create a new family dynamic. How blessed for you to be aware of this & ready for change. God bless you both.

Joy said...

This was really well-written. And in ways I can definitely understand. My father wasn't really 'there' and still isn't here.

Your husband will be the father you always dreamed of and you both will be blessed. *HUGS*

twondra said...

I'm so sorry you aren't close to your dad, Stacey. But I admire the way you honored him by posting the picture and telling the good things. That's so sweet. Love ya!

I really hope Chuck will be able to be a father really soon.

Anonymous said...

Stacey - your posts are always so well written and beautifully thought out. I loved your message of legacy on this post!

Jenn said...

You're a wonderful daughter, sister, wife and friend. Think of the wonderful joy when that Father's and Mother's Day comes around and how much more it will mean to you and Chuck.

Alicia said...

I love the photo of you and your Dad, neat!
Sorry you aren't so close with your Dad, some Dads are just like that ya know. I haven't spoken to mine in a while, very distant.
But this was a very sweet post and very honoring to him :)

Billy Coffey said...

Oh, Stacey.

There are things I read and forget and things I read and stay with me. This will stay with me.

That you chose to find someone worthy of you instead of someone who mirrored your father says much about you. Much.

Amber said...

So sorry to hear about the distance between you and your dad sounds very familiar for me and my grandfather which I have only seen a few times in my life.

LM said...

I’ve given you the Honest Scrap award. Thanks for your honest and encouraging blogs! ~LM

Renovation Girl said...

Beautifully written. I love the photos you included!!