Every Father’s Day I’m one of those many -though I hope they are few-who did not have a dad whose memory brings any joy. Or, really, anything at all. Not even anger. Imagine, if you can, having a Dad that did not seem to notice you. At. All. He was there, in the way that an odd smell is there. Troubling and more than a bit disconcerting. An absence in place, like a light square on the wall where the missing portrait used to be.
How odd it is to try and find words for the Mr. Cellophane whose eye color I maybe have, and whose disappearance into divorced Dad land was not even a loss. He wasn’t hostile. Or sad. Just a ghostly reminder that our family looked not even a very little bit like the happy family in the storybooks I earnestly studied to see what a normal family with a dog, a cat, and bikes and picnics for all might be like. He’d been gone for so long before he actually left that I don’t have any bad memories or any good ones. Just the anger that when my college choose to honor the girls parents it was on ‘fathers weekend’ . Inviting my mother who so deserved to be honored to that was going to bring her very easily shamed personnage into a spotlight of pain.
Food for thought? Those who don’t fit in aren’t like the others. It’s like those drawings where you have to find the missing chairlegs or extra fingers to solve the puzzle. The mystery of those around you that try to ‘fit in’ always needs you to hear the dog that does not bark. And your and our willingness to accept that a ‘reality’ is only one of very many equally real worlds that are pages in the same book of different stories. Yes! Food For Thought! And thanks for the uncles, teachers, bosses, and professors. My library abounds in stories of difference where there was not only the kindness of strangers, but also the admiration, admonition and guidance that only a real ‘family’ or perhaps even a village can provide. Thanks Dads. You were the real deal. I’m so thankful. I hope some of you know or knew how very grateful I remain. For I am the daughter of many fathers, one deeply wise father-in-law, two countries, many families of choice and one extraordinary mother.