Today is the birthday of my Father.
I have never seen him for almost 3 decades now. He and my Mom were separated since I was a child and he never visited after that. Well, only once. In school. He gave me toys; one I still keep until now. Her name is Shy.
And he promised to visit me again but it did not happen anymore. I prepared cards for him covering many events—Birthdays, Christmas, Valentines but I graduated in Highschool with piles of it in my locker. There had been no chance to give it to him; he did not get to read my messages.
I spent my teen years without him although the secret hope continued. I was never bitter, never mad for whatever reasons he may have for leaving and disappearing because at so many points in my childhood, I felt his love–Daddy’s Girl, even.
Growing up without a Dad was fine (there was no choice!) but not in a day that I did not think of him. He can’t be replaced. I was loved by my Uncles, my Grandfather, by several other father-figure. And my dear Mother did very well in raising me too with the help of my Grandmother. To say, yes, I was dearly loved. And yet, he can’t be replaced.
I could cry all-out with any father-related-theme-movies—Lion King, The Pursuit of Happyness, I am Sam, Everybody’s Fine. Even a simple sight of a father and a daughter bonding in the park could flood these eyes.
Discreetly, we looked for him with the help of my husband yet he can’t be found. To be frank, I never really tried very hard, because in my mind–if he wants me back, he can do it anytime. I respect his reason for vanishing.
But what he did, I will never, ever do to my family.
Now that I am a parent myself, I can’t imagine how much pain it would take to leave my child and the severe anxiety of deciding not to see him again. The mere idea makes me shiver. I’m sure my father felt it too.
Happy birthday, Papa! Glad to get a space in the world to greet you somehow.”