“I hate him,” a reader said to me as she described her father. “I don’t forgive him for abandoning me and making me feel neglected. . .I do not forgive him for forgetting he had a child and moving on with his life. I can’t forgive him.”
In the court of popular opinion, her sentiments are justified. It is hard to forgive any man who willingly chooses to abdicate the responsibility of fathering his child. There are no excuses that would substantiate this behavior.
For many, it’s difficult to imagine why a man would not be present in his child’s life. I can still remember the Cheshire cat grin that spanned the width of my husband’s face both times the sonogram revealed we were having a baby. I have watched this same excitement govern his interaction with our sons.
For some men the sheer joy and privilege of being a father seems to permeate their existence, and for others the mere thought of bringing a life into this world terrifies them or doesn’t seem to impact them at all. Thus, countless men and women grow up without a father – I did.
My parents met and married with limited knowledge about one another, and as a result, their marriage ended shortly after I was born. I have a few memories of supervised visits and gifts left on the front porch of my grandparent’s home for birthdays and Christmas, but for much of my childhood, my father was absent from my life.
Photo Credit: Unsplash/Thomas Kelley