I was commiserating the other day with someone about what horrible, toxic, deadbeat and emotionally unsupportive fathers we each have. I was wondering how much farther ahead we’d both be if we had grown up with men in our lives who encouraged us and made us feel safe and loved. I can’t even imagine what that must be like. (If you can, then call your dad right now and tell him that you love him. Seriously. Do it right now.)
But my wise friend said that she’d keep her crappy dad, because otherwise she wouldn’t be who she is. (And I’ve got to say that she’s pretty darned amazing.)
She makes a very good point. We may have sprung from the loins of a couple of really rotten human beings, but that’s part of what makes us who we are. Without the trials and tribulations and struggles that came from being raised by single mothers, we wouldn’t have the intestinal fortitude that we have. Without the financial stress, we wouldn’t have the work ethic that we have. Without the deprivation, we wouldn’t appreciate what truly matters in life, and here’s a hint: it sure isn’t money.
And then there’s also the DNA contribution, I suppose. That can’t be discounted. I guess they were good for something.
So, if I had actually had the opportunity to meet my father before he died his sad, alcoholic death, I might have said to him, “Thanks, Crappy Dad! You taught me much about the kind of person I would never want to be!”
Come to think of it, that’s quite a gift. I just sort of wish it had come packaged a bit differently.