Growing up without a dad

I want to start off by saying Happy Father’s Day to my husband, my step-dad, and my father-in-law. I love each of you. I have been thinking about this topic for a while, and after seeing some posts by my friends who don’t know or didn’t have a dad, I thought I would write my story.
For the first five years of my life, I had a dad. I thought he was perfect. I thought he was the best dad a kid could have. However, at age five, he went away and wasn’t a part of my mom’s and my life very much. As I grew older, I found out things that I wish I didn’t know, and I disowned my father.
I have a hard time leading up to Father’s Day. I see my friends post on Facebook all these wonderful pictures and stories about their fathers, and I feel this huge, gaping hole where I lack all those wonderful memories a kid should have regarding their father. My father missed everything! My dad made bad choices and because of those choices, he missed out seeing me grow up. He was not there for me to confide. He was not there for all the things that I needed him there for…learning to ride a bike, birthdays, learning to drive, dances, graduation. He missed everything.
The worst part is that I did not know and never could give credit where credit was due. My mom let me think he was a good person. She let me think that this all was not his fault. She even went as far as to buy gifts and put his name on them…all the while she was working so hard to fix his mistakes, like the debt he left my mom. She worked herself sick to make sure that we did not lose our house and that we got to do fun things now and then. She let him have credit for things he did not deserve. I do not blame her, and I am thankful that she tried to protect me to let me be a kid.
I have a step-dad. I call him “Dad.” He has been in my life since I was 10 years old, but our relationship was not always the best. We have a pretty good relationship now, but it has taken a while. We have dinner dates when I come home, and my kids love him.
I think the hardest thing for me about my dad is that I really looked up to him. I did not find out a lot of the things that caused me to make one of the most difficult decisions in my life until I was 19 years old. When I was 19, I disowned him. I cut all communications. I took him off the pedestal I had him on when I finally realized he did not deserve it. I made a decision because I found out he was not a good person and felt I needed to protect my future. It was the right decision, but it sucks all the same. It is not a decision I made lightly, nor is it one I would wish anyone would ever have to make.
There are so many things I wish I could say to him, about how he missed out on getting to know the awesome person that is me, that because he is who he is, he will never know my family, and that his mistakes and stupidity really made it hard for me and my mother.
I am glad that my step-dad is such a good grandfather to my children. As far as my children know, he is my dad.  My children have seen pictures of me with my dad, from when I was younger, but my mom and I just tell them it is someone we once knew.
For all of you who did not get to know your father (or mother), I am sorry for you. I am sorry if you have ever experienced the pain I have. I also urge you to find other role models if you haven’t already.
Also, don’t be afraid to tell your story, whether you are the child who didn’t have a dad or the mom who is being both parents.  This hasn’t been an easy thing for me to write, but I am glad I did.



  1. Heather
    June 20, 2011 at 3:44 am

    Thank you for writing this. You know my story. This post was so wonderfully written 🙂

    • bearhaven
      June 20, 2011 at 3:08 pm

      Thank you. I wasn’t sure whether to post it or not, but I am glad I did because in a way, I feel better for saying this.

  2. anysnail
    June 20, 2011 at 3:48 am

    my wife and i have a similar experience involving her mother. i can empathize.

    • bearhaven
      June 20, 2011 at 3:09 pm

      I am sorry for your wife Phil. Hopefully, she has other strong females in her life.

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