Father Figure

When I think about my dad, I draw a blank. I don’t have much to say about him. I feel nothing when I try to remember him. I feel anger when I try to understand why he chose not be part of my life.

My parents were divorced when I was maybe 3. I don’t really remember much of his existence in our lives. I see pictures and I *think* I remember them, but I really only recall the event because of those photos. The memories are most certainly fabricated based on years of staring at the Polaroid wishing I could remember something, anything at all.

My parents could not have children of their own. I don’t know why. Apparently they tried, and finally moved on to adoption. They first adopted my brother, then me. I don’t know exactly how old I was when I joined their family. I don’t have a lot of details about those early years. I do know that they both were part of the adoption process, which should mean that they BOTH wanted kids. I am not sure now that was EVER the case.

One morning, after a particularly brutal fight with my mom, my dad packed his things and left. I don’t even know how I know this – but I do. I think we may have seen him a few times after that, but I cannot say for certain. And that was that.

My mom spent years tracking him down, trying to get child support. We spent a few vacations with his parents…but we never saw him again after the first few months. We didn’t get financial support, emotional support – anything at all from our father.

I think his disappearance and lack of interest in us as a family affected my brother more directly than me. I don’t remember it tormenting me the way it seemed to my brother. It haunted him. It made him angry and unhappy. It left him feeling empty. But it just left me, confused I guess.

I always wanted a father…searched for a father figure. I wanted to be taken care of, but I suppose if my mom had been around more, that would have filled that void just as well. I was angry about him ditching us and not helping financially – so I sued him as soon as my mom died. That felt good. I didn’t really think about it much past that.

I don’t blame any of my poor decisions in life on him, or lack of him. I have not tried to find him – although my brother told me he lives in Dallas. I don’t stay in contact with his mother, although my brother does. I just don’t feel like he has earned the right to hold a place in my heart, and I am at peace with it.

It no longer bothers me that I may be constantly searching for father figures; by this time, I have found several and dearly enjoyed knowing them all. - Alice Walker