Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Portrait of my Dad

I know it's a few days late. But here is my fathers day post...

Fathers day fell on my birthday this year. Ironic considering I was born a bastard child and felt abandoned by my earthly fathers many times in my life. Years ago I would say it was almost a cruel joke that my birthday would fall on that day. But that was the past....

This post is dedicated to the man I call Dad. Though we share no DNA, when I call out "hey dad" this man answers "Yes?". every time.

He allowed me to photograph him and even posed for these photos. Though I could tell it made him uncomfortable.:-) Isn't he handsome? I used to think he looked exactly like Harrison Ford. In fact my kids recently said that Indiana Jones looks a LOT like "Grandaddy"...;-)

I've known my Dad since I was 2 years old. His mother happened to live in the same apartment complex that my mother and I did. I befriended his mother, who had the most delicious cocoa puffs cereal, out of the box, around. LOL

She just came to visit me this last spring... Here she is with my two youngest daughters that ADORE her!

The story goes something like this, He would come home from work to his mothers house, being just 21 years old, he was just a boy, and I would wait by his front door stoop for him and run to him with open arms calling him "Daddy".

For some odd reason this didn't feel so bad and he rather found it cute, though sad, but still nice to have someone waiting for him. So one day he felt the need to meet my mother and one thing lead to another and in 2 and a half more years they were married and having my little sister.

He was always on my side. Even when I got in trouble with him and got punished. I remember feeling that in all reality my dad loved me and wanted good for me.

Skip a few more moves and a brief stint in the Army and you have this same loving man broken down and falling apart. Addiction and alcoholism and a fierce anger with the world, my dad drank himself into liver failure and after a most violent series of nights of his drunken rages, verbal torture and my fear of him killing my mother that resulted in my 13 year old self running away taking my 6 year old sister with me until he sobered up, he decided it was time that he left us.

Though I felt mostly relieved that I didn't have to worry when one of my parents would die during a fight- that feeling that a dad would always be on my side and would love me, was destroyed. It was gone forever.

That was until about 10 years later. Where I found myself coming out of an abusive marriage with nothing but two babies on my hip and a new awareness of God.

Dad ran to the rescue. But I refused and kept trying to settle elsewhere, anywhere but near him!
It seems God wanted me and my Dad to reunite because everywhere else I went, things just didn't work out.
Finally, humbled, tired and emotionally exhausted, I had $20 left in my pocket and showed up at my Dad's door with my two babies on my hips. Dad was thrilled and took us in, gave us a car, gave me a job and put me on my track to independence and stability that I had never had before. Dad was looking out for me again and it was better because now he was clean and sober and remembered that he loved me. Somehow that allowed me to heal from the past and Dad and I picked up where we had left off.
That is when my Dad became "Grandaddy" to my children. He walked me down the aisle proudly when I was remarried he even bought the wedding cake. He came to visit me, bringing gifts, right away when I had my last two babies. He took to the role of Grandfather very well.

Clean and sober for many years now, he still comes around now and then and on occasion tells his most interesting tales while he puffs on his cigar. He is on his third divorce so I have something to pray for, for him to find someone to love that isn't broken.
These days we get to see more of him because he gets to feeling lonely on some days and we remind him that he is not alone and I am certain he looks forward to the silence of his home when he leaves the chaos here!

We aren't the Cleavers, in fact quite opposite! But somehow it works. and it works well.

And through it all, one thing remains constant... I say "Hey Dad!" This man always answers, "Yes honey?"

Any male can become a father but it takes a real man to be a Dad.


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