Its time I finally wrote this down.
Father’s Day has come and gone for another year. And while I am the proud daddy to my little Julia, I have never had that mentor in my life.
My mom raised me as a single parent. I’ve always wondered why she did that, and now that I’m a parent — wondered HOW she did that. She didn’t have a great relationship with my father, and to this day, I don’t even know how long they dated for. I’m not even sure he knew my mom was pregnant. She never married my dad, my sister’s dad, or my brother’s dad. But we still loved one another and did the best with what we had.
Every year in mid-June though in school, as I watched all my friends make Father’s Day gifts for their dads, I was stuck explaining to my teachers that I didn’t have a dad. He and I never met. I held on to that for most of my childhood. I had one boy in grade school say to me, ‘What, did your mom have sex with a bed post then?’. Kids can be cruel. My mom said she didn’t want me meeting him to ‘protect me’. From what, I still don’t know.
Finally, when I was in my 20’s, I found him on Facebook. I didn’t know what I was hoping for. To tell him what he missed? To hope he’d accept me? To pick up on lost time?
It turned into a confusing experience, with him one minute telling me he loved me, and then the next minute asking for a paternity test, saying he thinks his buddy was my dad. We spoke for a few weeks until I cut off communication. I still haven’t met my ‘father’ face-to-face.
And that scares me. I have no idea how to be a parent. I’m lost. He never had an impact on me. He didn’t tie my shoes, teach me to play sports, or to how to treat a woman. Everything that is stereotypical about that role model is lost on me. I did have strong male figures in my life (uncles, grandpa, friend’s parents), but no one to help me when I really needed it.
This post is not about despair. Let’s be real, accepting your circumstances and rising above them is a hard thing to do. But if you’re able to find that hope to move forward, you’ll come out better in the long run.
Just because I don’t have a dad, doesn’t mean I’m going to quit being a father. It doesn’t mean I’m going to sit back and let it consume me. I have found my love and passion in fitness and my family. And each of them give me hope and strength to move forward every day. I have sought out information and inspiration in my own way to become better in both facets. For those that don’t listen to podcasts, they are a source of knowledge. To be honest, just hearing another human being say they are going through the same set of problems as you, goes a long way. I have found my role model through the fitness sphere and continue to listen to self-improvement gurus on podcasts. Some people say social media can be a curse, but if you seek out positive and inspiring mentors, like I did, you can grow as a person.
The world is a scary place right now. But remember; focusing on the negatives won’t allow you to become a positive role model on your children, coworkers and peers. Take time to rediscover what you’re passionate about. What do you want your legacy to be?
I know mine is to be the role model I never had.