At this very moment I'm eating sugary cereal and drinking a beer, because that's what I do when I'm emotionally eating. Don't judge. Father's Day has always been somewhat of a clusterf*ck for me. This year in particular, though, I'm struggling with the things I want my son to know about my estranged father on Father's Day. How do I even go about starting this very necessary, but emotionally taxing, conversation? By eating some sugary cereal and drinking a beer, apparently.
The funny part about my estrangement from my biological father is that we've never actually said we're estranged. By "funny" of course, I mean totally f*cked up. Sometimes the most toxic paternal relationship can be the seemingly nicest; a kind of parent-child relationship that can make the child feel crazy. For me, I'm constantly asking myself, "If he's not being blatantly mean, am I really justified in my hurt or disrespected feelings? Maybe I'm being too sensitive? It can't be that big of a deal if he's literally not even acknowledging that any sort of conflict has even happened. Right?" Wrong.
As a therapist, as a human, and as a parent, I know that my feelings matter. Having been told that they don't matter my whole life (or at least that they don't matter as much as someone who was assigned male at birth, or someone who happened to choose Christianity as their career choice) it has taken me years to validate what I'm feeling as something more than a product of over-imagination. Realizing I'm not entirely sure I'm sad about my son not having my father in his life, however, is a bitter pill to swallow. Though he is only 5 years old and not quite ready to understand it all, here are the three most important things I want my son to know about my estranged father on Father's Day: