For the longest time I resented my father. I had an immense dislike for him, in fact. For five years, all I could remember about him was the sound of his voice and learned to hate that sound. I heard it roughly twice every six months, but it wasn't on holidays or birthdays. He would call and tell me and my two brothers that on a certain date he would pick us up and to be ready. Well, each time that is exactly what we did; we got ready - for nothing. We'd pack our bags for the week we thought we'd be spending at our father's and wait by the door. Soon, the clock would show that he was fifteen minutes late, then half an hour, then an hour. Before long we would realize he wasn't coming and we'd unpack our things. We would see that he had passed us up again, and we wouldn't expect to hear from him for another couple of months.
It used to bother us that he would conveniently forget about us, but we didn't stop hoping. Each time we would get all our stuff ready and wait patiently. As we watched the clock, we would convince ourselves that this would be the time, the time he would really show up. Unfortunately, that time never came. We eventually stopped taking his phone calls by pretending not to be home. We also stopped calling his house on holidays and his birthday because it was always to no avail. Each time we called, his new wife would tell us he wasn't there, yet we could clearly hear his voice in the background. As far as we were concerned, our father didn't care and was fully consumed by his new family.
The fact was, though, that in his own way, he did care and did love us. It took me a long time and a lot of tears to believe this, however. The most prominent thought on my mind was how my father didn't want anything to do with us when we were little, but when we got older and could take care of ourselves, he was right there. As if by magic, he popped back into our lives pretending nothing was wrong and wanting to be "Father of the Year." This made me resent him even more, I think, and delayed the forgiving process.
Many people agreed with my negative feelings, and most encouraged them until one day I broke away. I separated myself from these influences and feelings and tried to make sense of this independently. I couldn't come up with any excuses for my father (nor did I want to), but I tried to keep an open mind. Over time I learned to accept my father as only human with human successes and human mistakes. As a result of this, it became easier for me to look past all the things we missed together when I was younger, and I gained the ability to look forward to the things we could do together in the future. Although it took me a couple of years, I've decided to forgive and forget the past and to anticipate the future. You are only born to one biological father, and either you make the best of it - or you don't. I've wasted a lot of time being hurt, but I've decided to put an end to that. I love my father with all my heart, and I've decided to give him another chance - something I used to swear I would never do. %
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.