Happy Father’s Day!

UNSTUCK

Today is Father’s Day, and we all wish all fathers, Happy Father’s Day, because that’s just what we do. But do we ever think that not everyone associates the word father with joyful and happy memories? Not everyone thinks about their dad with pride and admiration.

How do you feel when you think about your own father? Do you feel happy? Do you feel indifferent? Or maybe you feel resentful or angry?

How important is it to have a dad? When growing up, does it make a difference later in life, whether you have a dad, or not?

Growing up without a father, witnessing my mother lowering her standards, and getting in destructive relationships, choosing my stepdad over me, and ruining our relationship, had affected me in many ways. They say our struggles make us stronger, and that I agree with. But they also make us deficient in many ways. Instead of getting into the college years all equipped with great life guidance passed down from our parents, we struggle to figure out who we are, where we stand in life, and what it is that we want to achieve.

If our goal is to just get through life without getting in trouble, and then peacefully die, then really, is it even worth living? Many of us have a difficult time figuring out what life is all about. If the only thing we saw as kids was hurt, suffering, and lack of love, most likely, finding love and joy would be the main purpose in life.

Finding love isn’t easy. If we didn’t grow up in a home with loving parents who were loyal to each other and devoted their time to their children, we don’t have a strong foundation for love. We end up looking for love in all the wrong places. A lot of us get in destructive relationships ourselves, “make friends” with alcohol and/or drugs, binge on unhealthy foods, gamble, sex, or whatever, and find “joy” in anything that’s not good for us at all.

At some point, you either have to get out, or stay and practically bury yourself alive, because that’s not the way to live a life!

From my personal experience, I can say I have gone through a destructive phase after I left my home in Russia, and set the sail out in the world all on my own. Was I equipped with great guidance on how to navigate this whole new world? Absolutely not! I didn’t have one father figure in my life who could even remotely be a role model. My grandfather and both of my uncles were alcoholics. One of them died on the street as an “unknown” person. Neither of them treated my grandmother with love and respect. My mom and dad got divorced when I was one. I saw my dad a couple of times. He called me on my 16th birthday wanting to meet, but I was so sick of my abusive alcoholic stepdad. At the time I couldn’t handle another “loser” in my life. So, I said NO to my dad, and I never talked or saw him again. When I finally went back home almost 15 years later, I told my mom I would like to see my dad and tell him that I forgive him for everything… Mom said he was most likely dead. Whether he is alive or not, I still have no idea, but that part of my life is going to stay the way it is.

A destructive lifestyle worked for me for a while. Until one day, I realized how really empty my life was. I remember I went to church for the first time. I was hungover. I wept the whole time. I didn’t even understand anything that was said and sung, but the tears were just streaming down my cheeks, and I couldn’t stop.

Long story short, I didn’t go back to church again for a while and continued with my lifestyle. Something inside of me changed though. I started feeling that I was made for more, and that I had to find the way out. And I did.

I’m very blessed to have the husband that I have now. Every day he teaches me how to love unconditionally. I’m the grumpy one, who always tries to be in control, because it’s difficult to let that control go, especially when it comes to a man. My husband is my first man who showed me what a man is supposed to be like. He is a great dad to my son, Noah. Our main task as parents is to show him how to love. Love is everything. Parents are important. Everything we do to and for our children, the way we talk to them and each other, matters!

Next time we wish someone Happy Father’s Day, let’s think for a moment what that day means for that person.

Happy Father’s Day! Or is it?

By UNSTUCK

Author of Rocky Road to Recovery self-help memoir. Integrative Nutrition Health Coach.

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