In light of Father’s Day, I have been pondering over the following verse:
Ephesians 6:1-4 “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
Obey. Honor. Respect. When it comes to my parents, of course I try my best to do all three. But I don’t always get it right. However, I still love them, cherish them, adore them. I strive to be the virtuous woman of God that my mother is. I seek to be as wise, assertive, and strong as my father. But then there’s someone else. An individual whom, as Bishop Kevin Adams said in his sermon this past Sunday, God allowed to plant his seed but not nurture it.
Now, this is no piece that bashes absentee parents. I understand that not all choose to be absent by choice. But in my case, this is something I’ve been dealing with on and off again since I was 17, when I first ran into my biological father at a visit to my Pediatrician. No, this piece is me voicing my thoughts on the audacity of an absent father to claim entitlement to a chance at knowing his daughter. Where do I even begin?
It gets really old when a father reaches out to you with the same sob story. It gets redundant when he throws accusations at you and your parents. It’s foolish of him to think that just because he’s your blood, that he’s entitled to your time and affection. But I said I wouldn’t bash. Here are a few things that gets my blood boiling dealing with an absent father:
- When they contact you and the conversation always finds its way back to your parents. What they “did wrong,” how I “wasn’t told the full story,” how he “never got a chance to tell his side.” As if 22 years isn’t enough time to tell “his side.” And why are you always so concerned about my mother’s state of mind? No, she’s not angry. She doesn’t waste her time and energy being angry over your stupid mistakes and your lack of maturity to own up to them. She has a life. A family. There’s no room in her mind to concern herself with you. Oh, and did I mention she’s happily married?
- When they lie about why they were absent in the first place. No one wants your sob story. No one also wants a story that you can’t get straight, that you omit or add facts to every time you tell it. I don’t wanna read your fiction. It’s boring.
- When you’re told that “you don’t understand the sacrifices [he’s] made for you.” For starters, I don’t know you. Second, where did you get the right to infer that I’m ungrateful? Third, what sacrifices?? Last I checked I never asked you to go out of your way to do anything, let alone ask for anything from you in the first place.
- When he tells you he feels like “a foreigner in an unwelcomed place”. Well, buddy, I tried to be as welcoming as I could in the beginning. Until you showed your true colors and wore out that welcome. Can’t say that I didn’t give you a chance. Actually, I gave you multiple chances. How much more welcoming could my territory be?
- When he says he “has no clue how to connect with you.” How could you when you tried to build a foundation for a relationship with me based on lies in the first place? You wanna connect? There’s something called honesty. Use it.
- When the lies just keep comin’. And comin’.
- When he complains about not being able to spend time with you as you were growing up. For someone to have kept tabs on me and where I lived, I highly doubt that. Also, you know where my university is and I’ve been here for 4 years. Just sayin’.
- When he says he thought he was “making an ‘ok’ effort with you.” That’s the first problem. Why strive to make an okay effort when you can strive to make a good one? And when you say an “ok” effort, according to who’s standards?
- When he says the source of his pain is that you “know nothing” about him. Maybe I just don’t want to. And after what I’ve experienced, I’m certain I don’t want to.
- And the golden one. When he claims “no matter how small a role…[he] deserved something…[he] didn’t do anything wrong.” What role do you think you played and do you really think it was sufficient enough to present you with the “breakout father of the year” award? You don’t deserve anything. Not my anger. Not bitterness. Not resentment. Not my frustration. Not my effort. Not my time. Not my affection. You don’t deserve me. If you have to ask why, you may wanna rethink the whole “I didn’t do anything wrong” illusion.
- And stop promising things you know you can’t deliver.
It’s when God allows you to see the potential contamination a person could bring into your life that you appreciate all the good, honest people you have there for you. I believe that there are people, parents included, that you have to love and honor from a distance. So be it. I also know deep down in my heart that I am not lacking in the love and support department from my amazing parents, especially my dad, Carlos, who’s been there for me since he agreed to take my mom and I on as a package deal. “Celebrate with conviction”, my biological father told me. No. I celebrate with wholehearted joy and a peace of mind knowing that God blessed me with a father who may not have planted me, but certainly nurtured me into the woman I am today. So mom and dad, thank you. And Lord, thank you for sending me the greatest parents a girl could ever have.