For years I dreaded Father’s Day. Everyone else I knew had some reason to celebrate, except me. I knew nothing about my dad, and I always just wondered stupid things like whether I looked like anyone from his side of the family, if anyone had eyes similar to mine, did I inherit any of his traits… Basic things that so many of my friends took for granted. Without any pictures or stories to glean this information from, I was left wondering for many, many years– until now.
This past weekend, I got to enjoy my first Father’s Day with my dad, who came to DC for the Fancy Food Show. Many of my friends think of me as someone who dares to dream big– yet never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would get to spend Father’s Day with my own father, and now that we have had a little over a year to get comfortable with one another, the pictures and stories I always craved are finally being shared with me. Turns out, both physically and in my personality, I seem to have a strong resemblance to my paternal grandmother.
I’ve chased many kites in my life (you’d have to recall Kite Runner to get that reference), but I have to say the sweetest one was reconnecting with my dad, who has finally helped me piece together this ridiculous puzzle from my past. In record time, we have made major progress in getting to know and understand one another, but definitely this weekend was a true turning point for us. To see him in action, in his element, was truly a sight to behold. I am so proud of him, and so happy to have the opportunity to hear his pearls of wisdom.
The tears from last year are now dried up, and we are able to just laugh at the funny twists and turns that our lives have taken to get us to this point. I hope that no one else ever has to go through what I went through before they could enjoy a simple Father’s Day celebration. People need to understand that all children crave to know their makers and understand their family’s story. Regardless of whether a family stays together in one house, blood ties will remain, and it is important to promote a connection with both parents and extended family whenever possible, excluding extreme circumstances with safety concerns.
Re-negotiating family ties are never easy, but those who do it carefully and gracefully with the child’s interest at heart, do reap the greatest rewards. It is not easy for some people to see this at the time of a divorce, but someone can be a crappy spouse and still be a good parent. Having realistic expectations is also key– some dads may not be able to make it to every baseball or soccer game; they may not be able to share 50/50 custody; they may not even be capable of holding down a job and paying regular support. Kids don’t need to believe that their dad is Superman, but just knowing who gave you life and being able to understand a bit about your maker in itself is priceless.
By Regina A. DeMeo, Esq.