Tuesday, October 23, 2012
A *Real* Father
I grew up without a father.
I know who my biological father is and I refer to the man as what he is, my sperm donor. I am his oldest daughter and just 1 of his 16 children (several different mothers). My two older brothers have always been close to the man and he was a great father for them. Always at their games, taking them fishing, celebrating their accomplishments, etc.
While I saw the man often when he was around for my brothers, he would rarely even acknowledge my presence. I've said at times that I doubt he can even spell my name. This bothered me a lot when I was younger. From probably about age 6 through 13 or so, it upset me that I wasn't "good enough" and I did everything I could to get the mans attention. I excelled in school.....he didn't care. I was an athlete.....he didn't care. I caused trouble.....he didn't care. Good or bad, it never mattered......I never mattered. That is a pretty hurtful realization for a kid......I wasn't good enough, I didn't matter.
My sperm donor is now on life support and his wife is calling his children to ask our opinions on pulling the plug. Of his 16 children, 10 loved the man and 6 of us didn't. I wasn't mean to his wife, I simply told her that I had no preference and didn't care to be there and she should ask the 10 children that were close to him. It would be more appropriate to call me an acquaintance than his child. She seemed put off by the fact that I wouldn't want a chance to say 'goodbye.' She went on about how I would grow to regret my decision, how I needed to 'fix' the relationship, how I was being bitter and heartless.
I'm certain I will not regret my decision to not be present for his death. Her notion of 'fixing' the relationship was confusing......there was never a relationship in the first place, which means there is nothing to fix. It isn't like we were close and had an argument that distanced us; we never had a relationship. In fact, my brother gave me away at my wedding and not my sperm donor.
I, personally, don't even want listed in the mans obituary. I am a human being, not an accomplishment of his. I find it disgusting that anyone born beyond say 1880 would have 16 children in the first place. I don't think I am being bitter or heartless. I have a heart, this man simply isn't in it. I don't feel that I am bitter, I am not trying to be mean or cruel, I don't hate him......I simply don't care. The opposite of love is not hate, it is indifference. I am trying to be respectful and sympathetic to his wife and to my siblings. I will fly home for the funeral to support my family; but this is not a personal loss for me.
Providing sperm for conception is *not* being a father or daddy......it is simply becoming a sperm donor. That is the easy part and most any man could accomplish the feat. The *real* work is raising your child. Setting an example. Teaching right from wrong. Providing support, discipline, love, guidance. Celebrating my successes and helping me to learn from my failures. Demonstrating for me what a man is, what a father is. Setting boundaries & limits and enforcing them. Providing for me an unconditional love, a safe place to fall, a shoulder to cry on, a man to look up to, a confidante and friend.
I have been a mother only 4 years myself, but it is without a doubt the most difficult thing I have ever done......but it is also the most rewarding. Parenting isn't an easy task but it comes with the responsibility of creating a life. I was not important enough for him to accept that responsibility.....his loss.
I made it to 26 without ever knowing what it would be like to have a *real* dad. The man who donated the sperm to make my life possible is *not* my father. That was his choice.
I have been lucky enough to experience over this last year what having a father feels like. Professor has chosen to show me what my sperm donor never would; and I will never be able to thank him enough.
He isn't biologically mandated to care for me, but he does. He volunteered for the daunting task of "raising me." He has taught me so much and continues to teach me every day. He is the man I want to call when I am having a bad day. When I am struggling with something, I know he will provide me with the advice I need and support me. Whether I am good or bad, I am still *his* and he loves me regardless. He cares enough to put his foot down and to tell me "No!" He sets limits to protect me and provides consequences when I cross those lines. He is the first person to tell me he is proud when I succeed and the first person to insist I learn from my failures. When I am lost, he will provide direction. He encourages me, supports me, disciplines me, teaches me, guides me, sets an amazing example for me......he loves me........not because he had to, because he chose to.
I used to say, "I made it to 26 without a dad and I don't need one now." That statement is half true......I did make it to 26 without a father........but I *did* and do need one. I will always be appreciative of Professor willingly meeting that need for me. The admiration and respect that I have for him is what I imagine most little girls feel toward their father.
He didn't have to..........He chose to. I have learned more from Professor in the last year than I ever did from my sperm donor. I would honestly be more concerned with Professor having a cold than I am the passing of the man I never knew. Yes, we share some DNA but I am losing nothing with his death.
When I need advice....when I need support....when I have a question....when I need a shoulder to cry on....when I need to talk....when I need encouragement....when I deserve to be punished....when I need to feel that paternal love & connection.............my *real* father will meet those needs, as he has from day #1.
Thanks Professor. :)