Today is fathers day. A holiday I have never really celebrated. I look forward to having children and making this a special day for Dan in the future, but for now it is just another Sunday for me. My whole life I have had people ask me "How do you feel about your dad?" (In fact, my mom just asked me that question today.) I have never really had an answer until I saw "my dad" a few weeks ago for the first time in 6 years....I say "my dad" because he was not the dad I remember. He was old, gray, unkempt. Ever since that day I have been asking myself the same question, how do I feel about my dad?
In one word, sad.
Not so much sad for myself, but sad for him. Sad that he missed out and continues to miss out on so much.. Sad that his grandchildren and his son in law will never know the real Grandpa Don....the funny, light hearted, athletic, good looking, compassionate Grandpa Don. Instead, they will see a completely different man who is selfish, dishonest, and apathetic. A man who let his addictions get the best of him. Growing up I never really minded not having a dad around. I didn't know any different. In fact, I thought other families were weird for having a dad at their house all the time. It seems that the older I get, the more I realize how much I missed out on not having him around....rather, how much HE missed out on. He never got to see my first steps, hear my first words, see my first art work hanging on the fridge. He never got to see me grow up, graduate, move away to college, get engaged, get married, buy my first house. He never saw my happy moments or my sad moments. If only he knew how much he was missing!
I also feel blessed (in a weird twisted way) to have him as my dad. In all honesty, he has been a terrific example of what NOT to be. He has shown me what addiction does to a person, to a family. He has shown me where CTL (choosing the left) instead of CTR (choosing the right) takes you.....and it's not to a happy place. Also, in his short periods of soberness, he has taught me about love, service, and compassion. We saw his old home teaching companion a few months ago, and he told us that my dad was the best home teaching companion he had ever had. Never missed a month, mowed their lawns, checked up on them, truly cared. That is the dad I wish to remember.
So for today, I will remember my real Dad, not the addict.
Maybe I will dig up a picture of him and scan it in tomorrow...until then, enjoy my future children's Daddy-O.