Growing up my parents divorced when I was ten-years old. I do remember my father always being a loving and present father prior the divorce. After the divorce I would see my father every other weekend unless he was on duty at the fire station. On the weekends he had me we would go to the beach, camping and fishing in the mountains, or just hanging out at his house with him and my stepmother doing art projects. Unfortunately I lost my father to cancer when I was only twelve-years old. However, I have never lost the memories of my father and the way he taught me to love life, the outdoors and be kind to people. I do believe this is a direct result of the way he was raised.
My mother on the other hand was raised in a very abusive home, and thus my memories of my mother are not as pleasant. Before I go any further I want to say I am not casting blame or assassinating any ones character, I am simply being rigorously honest and speaking my truth. That being said, my mother was the complete opposite of my father in that she was emotionally and physically abusive to me from a very young age. There were some good times as well, however they were few and far between.
When my mother met and then married my stepfather, things appeared to start looking up. He was kind, fun loving and supportive, or so it seemed. However, he was also an alcoholic and as time went on he became very abusive – emotionally, physically, spiritually, and worse of all sexually. During this time my mother’s abuse of me became increasingly worse as well. What I know today is that both my mother and stepfather were just incapable of being good parents and it wasn’t their fault. When you grow up being abused in an age where talking about anything that happened behind the closed doors of your home was taboo, how are you supposed to know any different. Knowing this today has helped me heal, but as a child I had a lot of unanswered questions.
I played baseball and the guitar growing up and I loved them both. However, my mother only came to a few of my little league games and my stepfather never came to anying. Neither one of them ever attended any of my high school games or supported me playing the guitar. My mother was a stay at home home so she really had no excuses. My stepfather worked so I could understand him not coming to my games, however he could have supported me in other ways. The bottom line in all of this is the fact that I never truly felt loved and supported by my mother and stepfather. I felt all alone in life.
As a teenager I often thought about my biological father and missed him deeply. I wished he could be at my ball games supporting and cheering me on. I wished he were there to protect me and rescue me from my abusive mother and stepfather. Then I as grew older and got married I wished he were at my wedding. I know he would love and adore my wife if only he could meet her.
As time passed and we started having children and they started playing sports, dancing and cheer, I would sit on the sidelines watching and thinking about my father. Wishing he were there to watch and cheer his grandchildren on and in my own silence wishing it was him that was watching me. I know how proud he would be of my children, my wife and myself. I never missed a game or recital. A made sure I was always there for them. Yet, I still had this huge void in me.
I told you I would offer you a solution to help fill that void, so here are the words of wisdom that helped change my life – Randy, be the father (mother) to your children you always wanted to have growing up. These words and the action required to fulfill them have given me so much peace. Today, forty-nine years later, when I need to talk with my father, I will call one of my son’s or my daughter and tell them the words I need to hear – Just wanted call and say hello and tell you I love you and how proud I am of the man/woman, father/mother you have become.
Today as I look back over my life with my children, I see how I became the father I always wanted to have as a child growing up. I have always supported all that my children have done in their lives, even if it was not a right a decision. I rarely if ever have missed a game or recital and what prompted to write this is the fact that I recently went and watched on of my sons, who is a husband and father today, play in a softball tournament with his wife and daughter sitting next me. I thought back on all the years I watched him play ball as a child wishing my father was there, and today here I am being the father to my children I always wanted to have growing up. Life will come full circle, so – Be the _____________ you always wanted to have growing up. It is time to create a new legacy.