The Ups and Downs of Fatherhood

I’m expecting to have a great weekend, a really great weekend. Tonight the wife and I are going to a concert and tomorrow we are visiting my mother. I could really use a good weekend after the depressing week that was Father’s Day week.

Father’s Day is always depressing for me, it’s one of the few days of the year I think about my own children. It has been fifteen years since I’ve seen them, and I miss them very much. It’s too late to rekindle a life with them, and when I tried, it did not go well. Then came my wife and her wonderful children.

The day after we got married was Father’s Day, my first in years. I had a new family and children to love a raise as my own. It was just about the happiest day of my life. For the next nine years I’ve done the best job as a father that I could. I’ve made mistakes along the way, no one is perfect, but I believe my kids love me and they are well behaved, good people. I’ve now been a father for longer than not, and it means a lot to me, it is who I am.

This brings me to this year. My daughter, whom I am (or was) very close to, was out of town on Father’s Day at a family reunion. It was sad that she was not here on that day, but also sad because that side of the family has never really accepted me as part of their family. We’ve been married for nine years and not once have I ever been invited to the reunion. He’ll, my daughter’s boyfriend has gone more than me. I haven’t been close to my family, mainly because they all live across the state, but I was a bit of a loner growing up and moved out of state when I turned eighteen. We don’t have family reunions after my grandmothers passed, and I miss it. What made it even worse was that she didn’t call, or text, or even post on Facebook to wish me a happy Father’s Day.

Our anniversary was a few days later, and once again I was disappointed. This time my daughter was here, but we did nothing together as a family. My wife picked out a movie she knew I didn’t want to watch, my son played video games and I tried not to pout all night. We could have played a game together, had a picnic in the park, watched a movie we would all enjoy, really anything as long as we did it as a family. It is possible that the depression of Father’s Day made our anniversary more depressing to me than it should have, but the pain was still there, warranted or not. I’m probably being selfish here, but it seems like they don’t realize that our anniversary isn’t just the day Anne and I got married, but the day we became a family.

Maybe it meant more to me this year than in years past. My daughter moved out a few months ago and I know my son won’t be around for too much longer either. It feels like I’m losing my family all over again. I want the few times we are all together to be special, especially at the end of June. I know that all parents go through this when their children grow up and I’m not alone in my feelings. I know my mom would love to see us more often, and my dad hasn’t seen me in twelve years. This does not lessen the pain and sadness I felt that weekend.

If nothing else, maybe this will help me remember to call my mom on Mother’s Day, to let her know how much I love her and miss her. I love my family so much, and maybe it isn’t so selfish to want to spend those special days together while we still can.

To Anne, Breena, and Mathew: I Love you guys so much.

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