This was written in about a half hour. I had been thinking about my father, and how fortunate I was to have had, however briefly, both a father and a daddy. For me there is a certain distinction between the two. I thought about several friends I have had whose fathers or mothers were abusive, but who still, once their child was an adult, demanded their respect and admiration and time, none of which they had earned nor deserved. So this just poured out of me.
Having not written a blog in almost a year – though I have been productive in writing other things – I decided it was time to write something, and this is the first thing that showed up in my mind. It might not be relevant to many, but it might apply to someone you know. The gist is that love is something to be given freely, not demanded, and if someone deserves it, it is probably not necessary to demand it.
Some people have a man in their lives who is their father, or their daddy – the man who contributed to their birth, and then stayed around to nurture and raise them. If they are lucky, they got both – father and daddy. .
A daddy is a treasure, and is frequently found in the same body as a father. Daddies throw you up in the air when you are a baby. They tickle you, delighted by your laughter. They hurt when you are sad. When daddies get home from work, you run to them as if you haven’t seen them in forever, and then leap up, to get the biggest hug. Daddies play games with you, squirt you when you’re swimming, make you laugh, and always have your back. They will teach you sports, or math, or whatever it is you need to learn. And if they can’t do it, they will find someone who can. In general daddies are cheerleaders.
A father is the man who is there for you as you grow up and mature. He listens to you, takes your ideas and concerns seriously, and from his experience and integrity he is able to guide you through the difficult challenges and circumstances that from time to time assail you. A father answers your questions, or guides you in finding the answers. A father is a teacher, a guide, and hopefully a role model. If you are really lucky, he also provides a moral compass for you as you mature.
Most people in the daddy role are also fathers. Sometimes you get someone who is more one than the other. But he is one of the most important people in your life. The wonderful thing about this person is that you never need to earn his love – it is given freely, continually, and never falters, even on the occasions when you do something unforgivable or unthinkable. Usually at that point this person will cry inside for you, but his love will be there when you realize that you have been less than your stellar self, and he will show you, with his love and his compassion, that you still are your stellar self, you just messed up a bit.
There may be a time when your father/daddy and your mother/mommy split up. If both of them are mature and nurturing, they will still keep up their roles, and be there for you no matter what. Sadly, this is not always the case.
Since this is an essay about fathers/daddies, I will say this: when a man contributes a sperm but nothing more to your existence, he is not a father or a daddy. He is a sperm donor. When a sperm donor turns on you, is unkind, unwilling and unable to nurture, support, and contribute to your well-being, he cannot claim the title of father or daddy. When his emotions run more towards anger, derision and dismissal, he is dishonoring the title he could have had, but has forsaken. Father/Daddy – these are sacred titles, only bestowed on those who fulfill the role with honor.
A sperm donor cannot make demands on your time or your affections. These are given freely by you, because they are deserved, but they are not subject to demand. So – if you have such a person in your life, even if a guidance counselor in your school says to you, “Of course you love him! He’s your father!” – you do not have to love him, except in the more abstract sense that we are all One, and he is part of the One.
But – and this is a big thing – while you may not be able to love him, what you should work on is forgiveness. You do this not for him but for yourself. Do not hold on to all the negative emotions this person evokes in you. Rather release them, forgive him, and show compassion for this person who is, in fact, isolated by his own misery, in a prison he began creating years ago in response to whatever things in his life made him so hurt and angry and afraid to be kind.
Sometimes, by the way, if you have been unfortunate to have a sperm donor instead of a father/daddy, someone else comes into your life and takes on that role. How fortunate you are! These are often the best of the best. If you have someone like that, count your many blessings.