To the father I almost had
(and why I'm grateful that I didn't)
So it goes like this.
Girl meets boy. They fall in love in a way only teenagers can - sleepless nights of long conversations, whispered hopes about the future and all those promises that are meant to stay unbroken.
Then boy marries girl. Girl becomes pregnant. It's all going down from there.
My mother left her husband a month before she was about to give birth. He never bothered asking why - at a heavily intoxicated state all he could think about back then was how to get more bottles of alcohol. Of course it wasn't like that at first. My father was this shy introvert guy who took every chance he got to spend time with his childhood sweetheart. 'I think he loved me deeply', recalled my mom when we had to have that conversation. 'I just think we married and he realized he loved himself more. Subconsciously he wanted to have his freedom back but lacked the courage of telling me. So he escaped through booze.'
No responsibility. No chores. No family to look after to.
I haven't met my father till I was 23. He never cared to see me. We didn't really talk about him until I was 11 years of age and my mom decided it was time to unravel the mystery surrounding the idea I had in my mind about my father. So she went through their 'golden age', the good times, the love, the laughter, the let's-be-together-forever attitude. She was brutally honest when we reached the topic of the damnation of their relationship.
'What can I tell you, sweetie... Was it difficult for me to make the decision to leave your father while pregnant and scared and insecure about what's coming? Sure I was. Was I able to imagine a life for you and myself where he was always absent and drunk? Hell no. We were better than this, you and I.'
But the important part is this - I grew up with the idea that I wasn't good enough for my father to love me.
Silly. I wasn't even born when he went down the drain and started misbehaving. But it wasn't that. It was the fact that he never cared to track me down and meet me. For 23 years I haven't heard his voice or even seen him. I kept wondering what he would say or think if he ever met me. At one point the opinion of someone I didn't even know started to mean too much. And the bullies at school - they definitely made it worse.
My mom remarried so she took the family name of her second husband - this great guy who takes care of me and loves me deeply to this day, God bless him. My classmates were infatuated with the fact that my mom and I had different names. 'Do you even know that you don't have a father? He abandoned you! How could he not - you are fat and ugly and you have straight A's.' Kids can be too cruel.
I acknowledged that I had to get rid of that feeling - there was a time when I expected every interaction with whoever will end in that person leaving me for good.
It was such a scary thought which prevented me from actually enjoy meeting new people. I cared too much about what everybody thought of me; I spent my teenage years thinking that I wasn't good enough for people to stick.
I mean, my own father chose not to.
After this process of fear of abandonment I took my time to clear my head and realized that this was not the case. My father didn't have anything to do with me not because I wasn't the best daughter one could ever had. Simply it was just because he didn't want to have anything to do with whoever. The shy introvert boy from the past had came around his true self and had accepted the fact that he wasn't really a family guy. He wasn't husband and father material. His alcoholic self-destruction was his way of battling society's expectations of how he's supposed to live his life.
I put an end to my ridiculous fears of abandonment and self-worth when I decided it was time to face him. I tracked him down via people who were his friends back in the days. Turned out he had lived in the same town as me the entire time. I actually met my father several years ago. We had this awkward half-an-hour conversation in which he expressed his deep sorrow regarding the way things worked out. 'I've always missed you', he muttered. 'You are my child.'
Except I wasn't. I was my mom's and her second husband's child.
My father told me he had another child years after me. They don't have any relationship either.
I haven't heard of him or seen him since this meeting.
In the end, it really wasn't me. I was healed and grateful to my mom for the courage she had to leave a man who would love me because he's expected to.
It's never us, people. We are just as wonderful and worthy and amazing as my mother kept on telling me for so long. We are just kids. It's not really our job to teach our parents how to love us.
We are so much better than that.