|My dad with Doug & me and our kitties|
I’ve always just had two father figures though: my birth father and my dad. Barker was my birth father – I am the first of two children from his marriage to my mother. He and my mother split when I was very tiny and he remarried shortly thereafter. My mother didn’t marry again until I was six years old and that’s where Dad came in.
I was estranged from my father since I was 12 years old for good reasons. We had some contact again when I was in my early to mid-20s but nothing past about 1986. Nothing that is until one of my step-sisters reached out to me in 2004, looking to make amends for something she thought she’d done that hurt me. I learned then that Barker had died nearly five years earlier.
Growing up with Mom and Dad and my brother and two sisters, I never felt as though I fit into the family. I am the only one with brown eyes, like Barker, and I look a lot like him. I’ve long felt like I was an alien or some sort of imposter hiding with my blue-eyed siblings. And I always thought that Dad sort of felt that way too, just not quite sure about me or how I fit in – best example I can think of would be when a dog adopts a kitten, and somehow the two species make it work.
Even with that sense of not belonging, of being somehow the alien, I learned a lot from Dad. He might be surprised to hear this, but I think one of the reasons I am so very disciplined is because I watched him and learned to be that way myself. I also learned to stick with things, even when it’s difficult, and I learned to be generous when I have the ability to do so.
Here’s to you, Dad.