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Dads for Sneakers!!
The Tale of a dad, a daughter, and some sneakers
I thought to myself what picture would adequately depict the relationship I had with my father in my childhood and the relationship I have now. I thought of the picture where he watched as I stood on the picnic table dancing, then I realized there were three shots of that and that was it. Wow I had three pictures to describe Daddy daughter time. And I realized that was the truth of it the memorizes were as scarce as his involvement. It was kind of like that shot it was magical, momentary, fun, but never lasting.
To be misunderstood he was there more than 3 times, but over 18 years of my childhood I could literally name his involvement and the gifts. I will say the only constant I had were sneakers. Funny story back in the 90s, kids always wanted the latest sneakers, especially those from New York. It was believed New York had the latest and best gear.
As a kid I thought since my Dad lives in Rochester, there's my advantage and when he willingly wanted to buy sneakers I was more than happy. Now I would have the latest sneakers and when the first person asked, "Where did you buy your sneakers from?" I was so pleased, but what I didn't understand was the unspoken trade off, sneakers for no Dad.
If a kid only understood, he thought in doing that act he had somehow fulfilled an obligation as a Father, the problem lies in a kid can't live off sneakers and if he had asked I would have chosen the Dad. As I recall the trade I realize I think he never thought he was good enough. He only was as good as what he could do.
That is a systematic issue for a lot of others, your self worth is measured by useful you feel or how many zeros are in your bank account, or maybe how quick you are to retire. You are what you can do. I partially blame the market, it's as we are striving for this unattainable idea of true happiness and in that quest we miss the small yet majorly important things.
We forget the power of presence, the utter brilliance of just being, those small things that build a strong and meaningful foundation. So I transform my thinking and say every sneaker was a deposit that adds us to 12 points. Then, as I delve deeper into his childhood and realize he was devoid of an example of a father or a mother. That is my chaplain side speaking by the way, but Brittany the mother says, "He gave you no example, but you are awesome." Then little Brittany says, "If he knows how that feels, why would he do that to me?"
This is the very dialogue that a lot of Dad's miss, they don't see how their absence is felt no matter what. If you somehow manage to subdue the hurt and anger. When the milestones hit they resurface like graduation, prom, college graduation, marriage, salvation, childbirth, and especially in times of pain or hurt.
I will tell you this, when you lose an amazing Mom and never had a real Dad it's a double Whammy. Some children remark, "Why wasn't I enough?". They internalize the pain or encompass and assume blame. They say, "What was more important than me?". They think less of themselves, because somehow they were not good enough or valuable enough. Then there are those baby's that will say, "I am my Father." They will assume the same role to their own children that their father was to them perpetuating that same dysfunction.
Finally, there are the kids that say, "I will never do to my child what was done to me or allow anyone else to do it either." No the problem with these scenarios, no one is speaking there is no communication really. Hi and Bye is no way to effectively communicate, the child will question the mother, but the person they need and deserve the answers from is the father.
His absence while he might see as justifiable or not, leaves no space for dialogue that will allow both the parent and the child to open up and communicate. I can honestly say, I tried several times to open up the dialogue, but I knew cared to know why he was absent truly. He doesn't need me to assume, he doesn't need to lie, I'm 32, but I do think he needs to explain. Whatever the truth of it is, I deserve to hear it.
I figure he owes me that much, I have been the person who was entrusted with so many people's secrets including him. Do I forgive him, that's the million dollar question right. Honestly, I really hadn't given it much thought. I just blocked him out of my world literally, I mean folks I hit blocked on twitter and unfriend on Facebook.
For me, I think it helped the situation it gave me prospect and with age for some comes wisdom and I do mean for some. I will admit the petty part of my personality tested the waters and poked the bear a little and said to myself oh he's still old and foolish I'll pass.
What made me say is for my peace of mind I will try once more, but on a conditional basis, I have boundaries now. My love is unconditional always, but whether I chose to allow you in my sacred space for meaningful dialogue is a different monster. I can see that he wants to get to know my daughter and I have no issue with that, however, we must have an understanding and relationship for that to happen. So I'll take the first step, I have never been afraid to be the first one who knows maybe I'll feel I got the better end of the deal when trading Daddy for sneakers.