Sitting here trying to decide on a title for the post–it came to me that I’ve heard so many terms used for “a father” some I won’t repeat here, but here’s my list and my experience (just a peek into my life) with each one.
In no particular order: Dad…Daddy…Papa…
Pops… Old Man…Biological Father…Sperm donor…Pa… Father and I am sure there are more!
I’m going to start with biological father/sperm donor. This term is sometimes used by someone whose relationship with their father was minimal, totally non-existent or he/she never even met the man. To me, this is the saddest of all. I had one these fathers. My parents married for 5-6 years bringing me and three younger brothers into this world. Divorce was unheard of in the ‘baby boomer’ days, especially in a strict Roman Catholic home. But, my mother divorced him and excommunicated from the church. She dated numerous men over the next 3 1/2 to 4 years. Several of them mistreated me (sexually)…my mother was not aware of this because she was drinking a lot. By the age of 9 I was ‘mothering ‘ my three younger brothers . During those years I did not see nor hear from my bio dad not once! Neither did he pay child support (not sure about this, something mom told me)
When I was 9 1/2 my aunt introduced my mother to a widower from the Midwest who was intelligent, respected in the community, a successful business man and very well off financially. His wife was killed in a car accident and he was raising 2 daughters by himself. It wasn’t too long after they met that he proposed, it didn’t seem to bother him that mom had 4 children; because he adored her. He bought mom a new car and put a ring on her finger big enough to buy another car. In the winter of my 5th grade year we moved cross-country. They soon married and became a family of 8. He was raised in the Protestant faith. Now we attended a Presbyterian church. That meant no Catholic school, which I was familiar with, so it was extremely difficult to acclimate. I was an outsider. But, this is when I first learned what a “dad” was. He took me fishing, just him and me. He was a strict “dad” figure, something my brothers and myself both needed. For 4 1/2 years he lavished my mom with gifts while being the sole provider for all 8 of us. One day he suggested my mother find work because as we grew, so did the cost to care for 8 of us. She agreed and found a part-time job working as a receptionist/secretary for a booming luxury boat manufacturer. All was well, I was happy! Then wham!! The day of the County Fair, about 3 days before my 16th birthday, my mother (out of the blue) tells me “I am divorcing ___ “. Shocked I started to cry. She said it was because of the way he treated my brothers. “We are moving in a few weeks before school starts back up.” I still to this day can’t explain what that feeling was like for me. As soon as I could, I got a hold of my best friend and told her. She said she thought something was wrong because she saw my mother and her boss holding hands in a diner/restaurant in the city a few weeks earlier. I went off the deep end! From hurt–to anger. (never heard from my bio dad since we left the west coast)
We moved into a house in the community where my high school was. I went from a straight A student, involved in everything to a “drunk”. Yup–16 yr old drunk every day by 10 am. Missed almost the entire 1st quarter of my junior year and my mom had no clue. You see she left for work at 7 am, I got my brothers up for school, fed them and made sure I was home by the time they got home from school. I made them dinner, tried to get them to do their homework and even baked cookies for them. Why? Because when mom got off work at 4 pm–she immediately went to her bosses luxurious home until the wee hours of the morning. It was my junior year, I was class president and a drunk! My poor brothers became the town “bad boys”…not having any guidance at all. Something had to change, but I missed my “dad” so much. Thanks to a very caring music teacher and my dear friends I realized I couldn’t keep drinking–it was ruining my life. By the 3rd quarter of that year, I put everything I had into music!. A few friends started a rock band and asked me to be the female lead–I said yes! That’s where I met my first love.
We moved again to another community into a house belonging to my mom’s boss. I didn’t want to change schools my last year of high school, so I rode to school each morning with my mom when she went to work. My poor brothers were so out of control, but I could do nothing. One week after I graduated high school, I married my first love–the male lead in our small rock band. I was only 17, so my mom had to sign for me. I needed out of that house. Soon after that, she and her boss married. He became affectionately known to us kids as “Pa”!
On our nine month wedding anniversary our first daughter was born. That ended the big dreams of the two of us going to California and making it big (lol in retrospect). I had no idea how to be a mom–he had no idea how to be a dad. We floundered. Right before her first birthday he decided to enlist in the military. During this time, my brothers all had their moments of total confusion, drinking, trouble making, etc. When my husband left for the military, I moved into the house I’d lived in my senior year. The oldest of my three younger brothers was kicked out of the house for drinking, so he moved in with me and my daughter. The relationship between me and my husband went down hill fast–he wasn’t sent overseas to Vietnam; but he wasn’t home. Soon after my daughter’s 2nd birthday I heard from my brother-in-law that my husband was seeing a woman on the West Coast where he was stationed and she was pregnant. I filed for a divorce (back then you had to have a legit reason–mine was adultery) and started singing in the band again. That did not work well. My mom and Pa forced me to quit singing; threatening to take my “baby” from me if I didn’t get a real job. So…
I moved into a small trailer home and got a real job. There was a guy I worked with who came from a well-respected Christian family with a large family. He would be the perfect guy to be a “dad” to my daughter (since her bio dad was like mine), or so I thought. Well, we married when I was 21–he was 18.
That’s when I met my “Father” (and my daddy)
My Father is the point of this entire post. Everything I felt a father should be, I found in Him through his saving grace and my receiving Jesus Christ as my Savior.
He would never leave me, never hurt me and he honestly “LOVED ME”!! He would correct me when I needed it, guide me when I asked for direction. That was a wow for me. I never knew love before!
Today, after this little jaunt down memory lane, I can say with all confidence that if anyone reading this does not know what a Father is–pick up a Bible and just start reading the Gospel of John. I will forever thank Him for everything in my past, because as His Word promises ” old things are passed away(dead) all things are becoming new”.
May I be a delight and pleasing to my Heavenly Father this day and always! Now I know what a daddy is! Praise Him for sending us His only Son Jesus Christ to die for our sins, so we could be reconciled to the Father through Him!
Romans 8:10-20 “ And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors–not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs–heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope”