A Phone Call From My Father
Seems simple enough. A phone call from a father on a slow Sunday evening. I was sitting watching the Warriors and Cavs in the NBA Finals when my Galaxy vibrated. I didn’t recognize the number but knew the area code was from Trinidad. I picked up to my dad almost in mid conversation asking me, I guess playfully, why I haven’t called him in so long.
If you’re sensing a bit of sarcasm here, it’s because I haven’t spoken to my “father” in like ten years. Not an email, text, phone call, IM, nothing. Then this. Him in a casual sounding tone as if we just spoke the other day. Me on the other end not knowing how to sound or what to make of this impromptu reaching out.
So now you’re probably wondering how I felt. Like what was going through my mind speaking to this man who has never been a significant part of my life, who really hasn’t been part of my life at all, and is now speaking to me as I’m absently trying to listen.
Truth is I didn’t really care. I was curious how he had my cell number (mother, probably), but other than that, I didn’t feel much of anything. No anger, no hostility, definitely no rage. Just nothing. And it’s probably better that way for the both of us.
For me, I don’t remember ever having feelings for my father. I have no happy memories, sad memories, don’t recall any funny moments. He’s been as absent throughout my entire life as I was on that phone call. And though I know as a parent now that every relationship has its problems, there should be no problem big enough to push a parent to voluntarily disconnect from their children. And that disconnection has left me numb to any kind of emotion.
For him, it must suck knowing his own son feels nothing towards him. And I’m sure he knows that. He must know that. How can he not. Thing is, I’m not really sure he cares. And I don’t care that he doesn’t care.
I can’t imagine ever doing that to my daughter. Going years and years without communicating with her. We text, call, or see each other nearly every single day. We’re close, and it’s at least partly because I never want to be like him. I never want my daughter to feel like she doesn’t have a father who is part of her everyday life. And she doesn’t feel that way. She knows I’m here for her, physically here, and to be helpful and supportive emotionally.
Before we ended our two minute phone call, he insisted that I call him back. Said that I should be keeping in touch with him. I deleted the phone number.
Is there a lesson in all of this? Is it a coincidence that his phone call came within close proximity to Father’s Day? There probably is a lesson, and if you’re anything like me you know that there are no coincidences. But his absence has taught me enough, and I’ve taken those teachings and flipped them into something powerful. You can ask my daughter if you’re not sure what that power is…
Read “Thoughts of a Fractured Soul” here, a book every young father should experience.
More from me at www.kerncarter.com