Thank you for this piece~
As the child of a non-existent father and abusive mother, figuring out how to navigate life wasn’t an easy one. You articulated the exclusion felt to life events that most people take for granted. For the few years my father was actually part of my life, I struggled finding cards on Father’s Day that fit — as most were filled with praise of a father who offers advice or love.
It was nice to see myself represented for once. A piece like this would’ve been helpful for younger me, in that, I often felt as though I would never find someone who would love me because I didn’t know how to act around men. Even when a father figure came into my life, I didn’t know how to respond to his kindness and affection.
Like yourself, I look at my loss as a gain. I, too, have raised my boys from the perspective of how not to parent. I often remind them, if they don’t agree with how I am parenting, to change it for their children. Our communication is open and honest and it shows in their love and adoration for me.
I am grateful for your honesty. The best part is that through our loss, we have changed the cycle for our own family. Never will our children know the pain of abuse or lack of affection that we endured. And in some ways, I think it has given us an edge on others because we know just how valuable being present is.