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I Celebrate Father's Day for Breaking The Cycle of Neglect For My Son
Many of us grew up not having a father to celebrate on Father's Day, including me.
However, I've chosen the only right path forward: to become the father I always wanted so my son has someone to celebrate.
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I found out my father died months afterward and I still remember my mother telling me about his death. I thought about crying but I couldn't.
I wasn't angry or sad, I just felt nothing. It's because I knew this day would come and accepted the fate he chose for our relationship.
By the time he passed away, I hadn't talked to my father in over a decade. I was about 21 years old, my son was an infant and I had this urge to reach out to him as I was entering another chapter in my life.
It was a short phone call which he had no interest in.
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After that call, I concluded that I would never reach out to him again but I wouldn't deny his attempts to establish a relationship with me. Those calls never came but I wasn't shocked because he hadn't been interested my entire life.
Years later, I had a conversation with a coworker about my situation with my father and he asked me "If your father passes away, will you be comfortable with your decision?", to which I replied, "Yes because I tried."
This is why I didn't cry: to me he had died years prior.
I mourned my father's death well before he actually died. I grieved his absence while sitting in a therapist's chair and eventually accepted his choice to neglect me as a child. I can't convince a grown man to be something he doesn't want to be, including being my father.
I never had a father to celebrate on Father's Day because he never wanted to be my father. I accepted this a long time ago because wishing for a different outcome will only leave me disappointed.
The only thing I had control over was not becoming the man that disappointed me.
Growing up without my father, I struggled to understand what a man actually was and how to be a father but I knew what they weren't because of my father.
I believe that men, at a bare minimum, shouldn't leave their children behind to question if they are loved or important.
Men make mistakes but what we do is acknowledge those mistakes and attempt to correct them. I gave my father an opportunity to correct his mistake but that phone call told me what I always suspected: he wasn't a real man.
So for Father's Day, it's no longer about me needing a man to celebrate but instead becoming the man my son can celebrate. It's about stopping the cycle of an absent father and becoming the man my son can be proud of.
If you're someone who is from a similar background, you have a choice in life. You can either become what you despised or become someone your children can admire.
How we start our lives doesn't need to determine how we finish them.