This is one of the few pictures I have of us. Very few. I don’t have any of the baby pictures of him holding me, milestones or the like. I met my dad for the first time in my life at age 21 for reasons too numerous and private to mention.
I won’t bash the adults that made those decisions here or anywhere else.
I learned a huge lesson in forgiveness and how far-reaching the effects of it are. Even to the third and fourth generation. There are many of us, biological fatherless daughters, walking around. And we smile, pray for you and greet you with a hug, but we are forever impacted by the absence of that presence and that voice. I was fortunate, I had my grandfather, uncle and a best friend’s dad that did all they could to fill that role. But I didn’t have the vocabulary to describe the void.
This is my dad walking me down the aisle on my wedding day, Dec. 16, 1989. The largest ice storm to hit Richmond, Virginia (as of that date) arrived the day before. But I’m a New Yorker. It didn’t slow my people down at all from showing up.
My father died last week and it brought up so many emotions. One of my BFF’s reminded me of the chapter I wrote in "Dear Fear 3" about that journey. Another reminded me of why I do what I do. "Life Coach" may be the new catch phrase for some or a way to create income from a side hustle. But these pictures are why I do what I do.
Parenting is hard — for dads, moms and the kids left in the wake of having to figure it out. This isn’t my “side hustle” or a leisurely pursuit.
I’m passionate about helping mothers understand the importance of avoiding Supermom syndrome, establishing self-care systems, knowing your core values and so much more. I have done a lot of work to overcome feelings of abandonment. That’s not to say I don’t get triggered still, but it is to say that I am aware of it and have to face it head on.
If you are a mom struggling on the inside and smiling on the outside or crying as quietly as you can at night so no one hears you, I see you.
I SEE YOU.
Mothering doesn’t have to happen alone. Reach out. Let’s unpack it.