Any guy can be a sperm donor, but it takes a real man to be a father.
When my sister found out she was pregnant, she told the “guy” all about it, and he decided he didn’t want to be a father. The job description wasn’t one he believed he could fill, so he cut bait and took off. Is that any different from my father-in-law who decided he was good with the job until I came along and he wanted nothing to do with me so he cut his daughter off as well? Or how about my own dad, who disappears for long stretches of time only to reach out in a half-assed sort of effort that falls way short? Are any of these approaches better than any others? Or are they all just more evidence that being a father is more than simply biology?
I look at my own children and I wonder what they think of me, what they will think of me in 10 or 20 years time, what they will write about me in their own blogs. I wonder if all the time I spend with them will be remembered, if they will have appreciated my efforts to be the kind of father I just have never really seen before, not from personal experience anyway. I make it up as I go because I don’t have that blueprint, but it’s not that hard really. Spend time with them. Give them love and affection, even if sometimes it’s tough love. Be there for them.
It’s not hard, so why are so many guys content just to be sperm donors, to give nothing to their progeny except sometimes last names that honestly don’t mean shit? Why should a child take your last name if you’re not involved in the rearing of that child, when they wake up crying every night because you’re not there, because they don’t know you? I love that my sister gave my nephew her last name, because she’s the one who raised him, who was both mother and father to him and continues to be even though he’s in college now.
Because your kids never stop needing you. Both of you.
2 thoughts on “Thoughts on Fatherhood”
You make some great points. I came from a family where fathers were present. My own father was there until he passed, in my opinion, way too soon. I can’t say I understand what it’s like to have an absent father. However, I believe you have the right idea about what it takes to be a great one. My dad was there when I cried. He made me laugh. We played video games together. He made me the quick witted, tough, hardworking woman I am today! He didn’t give me everything I wanted, but I was spoiled. I got everything I needed and more. He tought me to think for myself and not rely on other people’s opinions. He made surd I was punished from the phone when my smart mouth got me in trouble. He said “no”, “because I said so”, and “life aint fair” more than I cared to hear. Just do what you feel. Play it by ear. Your daughters will lead you. I know it sounds odd to be lead by a little kid, but you will guide them based on their personalities, strengths and weaknesses. You have two beautiful little girls, and it seems they will love you, respect you and be proud to call Dad 10 years, 20 years and beyond! You have the right mindset. None of us parents are perfect. Just never give up on them or yourself. You got this!
When I say it’s easy, I don’t mean the day to day. It’s difficult to adjust every second something changes, every time there’s something wrong, every time there’s a situation I haven’t been in before “father-wise.” But the easy part is loving them, in showing them that love, in giving them attention, the time that they need with me. I know how that feels to need the time and not get it. I give them everything I can, and at the end of the day I get satisfaction in seeing their faces light up to be included in this world we create together.