I did not have the best relationship with my father – I should put it out there now. We used to live in the ghetto, and it was common in such a place for kids to not know who their dads were. Hence, some people were like, “You should be thankful that you have seen your father while growing up. Others have not had that experience at all.”
I did not want to sound more privileged than I already seemed to those people, but I genuinely wanted to reply that I wished I was among those fatherless children. Oh, is that too bold and harsh? While I know that, it also happens to be the truth.
You see, when you do not have a dad, you have the freedom to be idealistic about his traits. “Is he generous?” “Did he like taking care of me?” “Does he like apple juice like I do?” Sometimes, you even get to believe that your mother’s behavior is the reason why your father has not been able to stay.
In my case, though, reality practically slapped me. Hard. I had never seen work in my entire life. Often, he would be out drinking and gambling with his friends. If he ever came home, that’s because he needed more money from mom – money that she did not have. She would try to talk back to him, but it would always end with her on the floor with a black eye or a swollen cheek.
I used to tell people that the happiest day of my life was when my father left us for good. From what I heard, he met a stripper and decided to turn his life around by moving to another city to get a job. It sucked that dad could not change when he was with us, but I was glad to have no longer him bothering mom and me.
Since my parents never got married, it became easy for mom and her new boyfriend, Bob, to get married. I liked Bob because he did not look down on us even if we came from the ghetto. I liked him more as a father because he did everything for me that my biological dad should have. He took us as far away from the ghetto as possible, toured us worldwide, and sent me to the best schools. Who could fault him for that?
When I became an adult, I chose to become a therapist. The decision primarily stemmed from the fact that I wanted to know what went on in other people’s minds. How did they perceive something? How many emotions could they go through before settling on one? Mom and Bob supported me all the way, so life continued to be a breeze.
After receiving my license, I established my practice at the heart of the city. I was not picky about who I would treat. Whether you were rich or poor, you could knock at my door. I was also getting popular, considering my face and name were on a massive billboard that Bob paid to promote my clinic further.
In other words, I became successful. Gone was the young girl stuck in the ghetto and did not know how to get out. A confident, well-educated woman replaced her with lovely parents.
But Then, Trouble Went Knocking On My Door – Literally
Just when I thought my past was behind me, my secretary hurried to my office one afternoon and said that some woman was making a scene at the receiving area. I asked if she got the woman’s name, but the latter merely noted that she was my stepmom and that we had to talk urgently.
My heart sank to the ground. I never saw the stripper that my dad left us for, but for that woman outside to claim to be my stepmom, it had to be her. I asked my secretary to escort her to my office as calmly as possible.
To my surprise, I did not see a woman who was proud of wrecking a home. All I saw was an intimidated woman in shabby clothes. When she sat down, she introduced herself and told me that my father was at the hospital due to renal failure. He did not want to bother me, but his new wife thought I was his last chance at survival.
I acted without thinking twice and went to the hospital to see my father. He cried when he saw me and apologized, and all my anger melted away. I made sure he got the best healthcare, and we worked on rebuilding our relationship once he got out of the hospital.
Why Did I Do That?
A lot of people could not understand why I took care of my previously abusive father. The simple answer was that I forgave him, and it was my duty as his daughter to look after him. The years lost no longer mattered; it was not cool to dwell on them anyway. All I wanted was to make amends with my biological dad and genuinely move on from the past. Mind you – it all starts with forgiveness.