It feels weird for me to do a “Happy Father’s Day insert smileys and exclamation points here” post. The man that fathered me has been dead a long time and when he was around nothing good came of it. The word “father” is very negatively charged in my mind and I try to avoid it as much as possible.
So there is no denying that there is an empty place where I believe a father is supposed to be. No one will ever fill it. It’s an uninhabitable, rotting, putrid hole that will never disappear. However, I do believe that this hole can continue to shrink as I mature.
When I was 10 years old my mom met my stepdad. Two years later all of us moved into a new house in a new town. Thus, I lived with my stepdad in the house throughout middle and high school.
There were a lot of battles. I was wrestling with things that I didn’t give him a chance to understand. Our personalities clashed. It was sometimes unbearable to be in the same room.
But now that I don’t see him that often I can appreciate him more. There were times when I was a kid that things were fun. Even if I didn’t believe it, he was always there for me. He stepped into a role voluntarily and never made me feel like he regretted it.
So I call him “my stepdad” to most people, and then by his first name to people I know well. I call him by his first name to his face. I just can’t call someone dad or (even harder) father. I am not sure why, it just makes me unbearably anxious like merely saying the word would cause my organs to explode and chunks of my flesh slap up against the walls.
I called my stepdad for Father’s Day this morning because I did want to thank him for everything that he did for me as a kid and everything he continues to do for my mom. He is a person I respect and care about. We seldom have the same opinion and we know how to push each other’s buttons, but ultimately we are family.
Happy Father’s Day John!