I had to get off Instagram because of the pictures. People posting pictures of their Dads, throwbacks and recents, long posts and inside jokes and anything else you can imagine.
A Good Friend texted me: “happy Father’s Day” and for a second I assumed she’d sent it to the wrong number. I am definitely not a father. Then it hit me.
It didn’t take a moment because I’d forgotten. It took a moment because I forgot about me.
Father’s Day has always been a crappy day for me. My Dad, even alive and well, was not a present father. He was riddled with loneliness, addiction, and had no foundation of what a father should be. He said cruel things about my mother, about his family, about us. He had his first kid when he was eighteen, and never learned the empathy and skills needed to grow up, take responsibility, and care for your kids. Father’s Day has always sucked.
Now it just sucks a little differently.
It sucks because even in the face of all the reminders–even in the almost-hatred I feel for him. In the face of disappointment, sadness, shame, anger–I still miss him sometimes. In the face of all of the awful, sometimes I still wonder if I’m someone he’d be proud of. Then I remember that I don’t know what would’ve made him proud, that he didn’t ever try to understand the things I found valuable, or find a way for us to connect. We never connected enough for me to know what would’ve made him proud–and I am angry again.
It’s an endless cycle.
Father’s Day I sent a quick text: a thank you to my stepdad, and an “I’ll see you soon!” at the end. I will bring him a gift when I go home this weekend.
Father’s Day is a reminder that I have to thank someone for loving me, connecting with me, valuing me, and supporting me–someone who never wanted kids in the first place. It is a reminder that I missed out on a lot, that I have so much left to say to someone who never apologized, who is no longer here to hear it.
There’s blips of support for people with history’s like mine on Twitter. Quietly retweeted by the people who Get It. But We get swallowed by the appreciation posts. That’s okay, it’s not really about us.
When we woke up that morning, the first thing I said to Boyfriend was, “It’s Father’s Day. Make sure you call your dad.”
If you have a Father worth thanking, or you know a Father worth thanking.
Call them. Thank them. For me.