My biological father tried... He was an abusive husband, a manipulative father, alcoholic, and addict. He wasn't a good person. Truthfully, he was the textbook guy that mothers warned their daughters about. My mother had run off with him at the age of seventeen. He was charming, handsome, an artist of sorts... and explosive. My mother and father had me a couple of years later. They remained married until I was ten years old. During this time, I witnessed my mother being beaten, stomped on, locked out of the house... abused. My father would tell me things that a father should never tell a daughter. He was suicidal... After their separation, he would share with me his thoughts on the possibility of taking his own life. I felt a twisted responsibility to keep my parents together. I was a child. I feared him... I was confused by him... My biological father had sweet moments. I remember moments of him doing my hair, preparing me for school. I remember going to the park. I remember listening to his favorite band, Earth, Wind, and Fire.
My parents finally divorced. My mother remarried my stepdad, Ronald, whom I often refer to as my dad. He was kind, funny, loud, and everything that my mother deserved. He loved my mother with every bone in his body. He wanted to heal her... He loved my sister and I. He was/ is love.
My mother protected my sister and I from the emotional baggage of my biological father... We didn't speak or see my biological father for years... I didn't see him until I was twenty-nine years old... at my mother's funeral. It was a very weird moment. My husband met my biological father for the first time at that moment. I looked at this mysterious yet familiar man. There he was in front of me. He visibly older. I no longer was the ten year old girl that he had known previously. I look at him. The feelings that I feel, are not of anger... although it would have been warranted. I don't feel the fear that I had felt as a young child. I feel... empathy. I don't see my father... I see a boy... a boy unloved. My biological father's mother was a teenager when she became pregnant with him. His mother would leave him abandoned for days in his crib... in his dirty diapers. Although this level of neglect isn't typical behavior for most teenage mothers, this was my dad's reality... I can't understand how she could do something like that... I've tried not to judge her... I know very little about her mental state.. I never met her. She passed away before I was born. I know little about her parents... her upbringing... Was she unloved as well? He would eventually live with his grandmother. She wasn't the nicest person to say the least. Long story short, he was screwed. He had never been shown love. His mother and grandmother would fight in the streets over him. It was dysfunction to say the least. The women in his life were violent, neglectful... unloving.
After having my first son, Jaxon, something changed in how I viewed my dad. Jaxon loved me. He loved me in a way that only a little boy can love his mother. I was his world. Having experienced this magnitude of love, I couldn't imagine how it must have felt for a young boy like my father to not receive love in return... to be met with neglect, abuse, abandonment. What does that do to a child? A boy? My father was the result. When I saw him at my mother's funeral... I saw the result. He was still a young boy...unloved. Did my father love me? Yes. Did he know how to give the love that my mother, myself, and my sister deserved? No. He simply didn't know how. I could no longer be angry with him as I could not be angry with the homeless guy for not having a dollar. My father simply didn't possess the capacity to love. I absolutely believe that yes, at some point everyone has a choice to change... to heal... proceed forward... I'm not sure if he had the tools, or if his undiagnosed mental illness prevented him. I now believe that he was bi-polar. Either way, he never made the choice or simply couldn't. Of the two reasons, I'm not sure... I just knew, that I could no longer be angry for what the man simply didn't have... Love.
That day at my mother's funeral, would be the last time that I saw my biological dad. He passed away five months later in a random house fire... I am thankful... I am thankful that I said, "I love you". I said I love you to the little boy unloved. I said, I see you... I see you little one... In return, I believe that my dad in that moment, breathed a sigh of relief that despite his issues, his dysfunction, his incapability to love me, his daughter turned out ok.
I am full of gratitude... Without my stepdad, perhaps I wouldn't have known what resembles a functional relationship... Perhaps I wouldn't have known that what my biological dad and my mother had wasn't healthy... that it was toxic. Perhaps without my dad, I would have been attracted to the very thing that I had grown up with... Abuse. If my mother had never remarried my stepdad, we would have never relocated, which means I would have never went to the high school that I attended, which means I would have never heard of the college that I attended, which means I would have never met my love, Jon (we met at Belmont Univeristy)... Which means I would have never gave birth to my two beautiful boys, Jax and Jedi... My heart is full of gratitude.. Thank you Ronald.
I am thankful for my biological dad... Knowing his story has caused me to be a better mother. To hug my boys tight... To constantly remind them of their worth... My father, Greg, couldn't give me love, but he gave me my nose, my curly hair, and my dark skin. He gave me my love for music... My laugh lines around my smile... His smile was electric... He couldn't give me love, but he gave me my existence.... and if that's all that he had to offer, for that I am grateful. That was enough.