Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The A, B, C, and D's of Fatherhood

  *I want to add a very quick addendum before you start reading this entry. A friend of mine said that as she read this the music play list below automatically chose the song Finally, by Fergie. She said that as she listened to it the thoughts I shared coincided with the words of the song. I decided to pull up that song myself and re-read the entry and I must say....if I were to choose a theme song for this entry...that would be it....and I even found it very powerful. So you may want to consider scrolling down the page to my play list below, scroll through the songs to number 38 (currently)  and click on the song Finally by Fergie and let it be the background music as you read this entry. we are again, you, me and this funny thing we call a blog. I would be lying if I said I didn't miss being here, I very much did miss this quirky little internet cavern. There have been quite a few times that I sat here staring at the screen with my fingertips resting on my leopard print keyboard and waiting for the words to come......LONGING for the words to come. However, they just wouldn't. No matter how much I tried to will them out and no matter how much I attempted...the words were silent. I've been creatively writing since I was 5 and in the first grade....that's 30 years that words have been flowing out of my heart and fingers....and only twice in that time have I suffered from what I can genuinely call, "writer's block". The first was a few years after I moved to Connecticut and it lasted for YEARS. The second began just hours after my last post here...and if I succeed in completing this entry, it will have ended today. Sooooooo..........remember how I mentioned that I had a BIG pearl in my life that God was working on? was during my writer's block that God began to really work on that little treasure, so I suppose I should start now.
Now in case you wonder...I am purposefully skipping the letter A for now and you'll understand why shortly.

B is for my father in law, my Tatu, Michael Babij. Within hours of my last posting he was rushed to ICU and five days later he was gone.
   He had been in a convalescent home recovering from a broken hip for several months. We just knew he would be coming home, he was sharp and tough and a survivor. He had lost his father when he was a young child to an absolutely horrific farming accident and as the oldest child of  nine, he was suddenly thrust into the role of "man of the house" too. Then, before the family had time to finish mourning the loss, their country was thrust into the throes of Holodomor, a Ukrainian holocaust by all accounts. Survival amidst the dying became paramount and the scared young boy went into hiding as a hard working, bread winning young patriarch was born. Of course he forgot what it was like to have affection from a dad or see affection between his parents because his dad was taken too early. It wasn't a problem really until it came time for him to be a husband and father and then the abundance of lack became painfully clear. Quite simply, you cannot give what you don't have....and when you don't know where to draw your knowledge from...the chances of those areas being filled with the wrong things are exceedingly high. For many years Tatu drew his knowledge from the wrong places.
  Of course by the time I came into the picture Tatu had changed significantly from the man he had been and he was a much mellower and engaging person. He wasn't perfect by any stretch, but for nearly ten years he became more of a father to me than my birth father. He would call to talk to me just because he wanted to talk, or he wanted to ask my opinion on something. We shared a common love of old movies and so the three of us (Ben, Tatu and I) would sit for hours discussing them or watching them together. He also had an amazing green thumb and would save me plant cuttings he had started or give me whole plants that he knew I loved and would appreciate since I had a significantly less green thumb. I can't tell you how hard it was for me to give a friend of mine one of his cherished Christmas Cactus plants after he died....I felt like I was betraying him somehow...and it felt like I was giving away a last living part of him that I really didn't want to give away, odd I know, but true. All these things don't seem like much......but when the little girl inside is desperately longing to have a dad love, cherish and dote on listen, actually LISTEN uninterrupted when she speaks and treat her like she has's priceless. That's why, even though I wasn't as outwardly crushed and overwhelmed like I was when Momchu passed, Tatu's passing affected me far deeper than anything I imagined because quite frankly I didn't realize how much I had looked up to him. My adopted (by marriage) dad, the only dad I had really had a real relationship with for ten years of my adult life, was suddenly gone....and with it went my words to write. There just were no words that I wanted to say.

C is for Howard Cunningham, played by Tom Bosley on the popular TV sitcom, Happy Days. He passed away last week and I was so sorry to hear that. Although Mr "C"was a fictionalized comedy sitcom character, he was such a warm representation of paternal guidance and affection to me when I was young.  I used to love watching him relate to his wife, children and their friends as they encountered different issues of life and I remember listening to his advice as if it were coming from my own dad. I couldn't help but wonder if dad's like that really existed out there.....and if they did....what was I doing wrong as a kid to warrant NOT being treated like that by my own dad. Surely it was my fault, my fault for being a daughter instead of a son, my fault for not being smarter or prettier or blah, blah, blah. All those lies that rejected people both young and old hear whispered in their ears and then believe because they've never been told otherwise. If only there were more real life dads like Mr Cunningham.

D is for my own dad.
Can a daughter feel truly loved by her father if the only time she sees him is when he goes off to work or comes home to eat, watch tv and sleep? Does she recognize him as a good provider? Yes. Does she learn to probably adopt the same work ethic, potentially becoming a workaholic herself? Probably. Does she struggle with massive and overwhelming feelings of abandonment and rejection at having an absentee father? ....sadly....very possibly. Finally, does she forget the happy memories that must have been because all she can remember is the times she felt rejected. **sigh** ...usually.
Please don't misunderstand me, I love my dad....I mean I really love him..and long to have a relationship with him.Unfortunately, just like Tatu, he also couldn't give me what he didn't have....if only I could accept that as easily as I did with Tatu.
So here is the big pearl in my life that I referred to in previous posts. My dad.
Do I believe my dad loves me? Yes...even though I sometimes forget that and even though it rarely feels like it. Do I wish he was more like Howard, heck yeah. Do I wish he was more like the Tatu I knew....yes, painfully so. My dad's birthday is coming up in just a few days...I haven't sent him a card in years, but this year I decided I'm going to. It's ok if I get no response, and it's ok if our relationship remains stagnant, because this year I won't be doing it in a desperate hope to find my dad's love.....THIS time I'll be doing it because I love my OTHER DADDY....and He wants me to take a step of faith and show the love my heart may not yet feel.
 A is for my other daddy, my Abba. For years I had a really hard time calling God, Daddy. I never called my own dad just sounded too babyish to me, and far too affectionate for anything I ever felt in my heart. So the thought of calling God that always sounded immature to me and ridiculous. Although ever since I was a little girl I have felt such a reverence, love and affection for God that far surpassed simply calling Him, GOD....that you would think the term would roll off my tongue quite easily. Well, it didn't....not that I didn't WANT it just wouldn't come off my lips.
Then came time for God to do some intensive work on my "Dad pearl". When we lost Tatu I felt somewhat like an orphan because my emotional dad file was suddenly empty again. Then one by one God began to remind me of the many "dads" He had put in my life to show me the love and affection that my birth dad would have shown me if he were able to. (Now before I go any further, let me say something. I know full well that my birth dad has the physical ABILITY to be a dad for me, but I'm talking about emotional ability here.) Suddenly, over these past several months I have realized that for YEARS I have been overwhelmed with wonderful, Godly men who have loved me unconditionally and poured into my heart and spirit as if they were a dad to me, some of them even though they weren't old enough to even be a dad to me. Men that gave me loving advice and wise council when I needed it, men who just gave me a hug when I needed a "dad" hug. Men like Frank M., Terry B, Sean Q, Ray L, Will M, John R, Bill M and Rich B.....and the list goes on and on.... As I realized that my dad file really WASN'T heart began to heal and the rejection began to fade. I was finally letting God cover that grain of sand and turn it into a pearl.
Then I began to really open up my heart EVEN MORE to my heavenly dad....areas of my heart that I didn't realize were hurt, were suddenly not hurting anymore and for the first time, quite by accident, that name, Daddy rolled off my tongue one day as I prayed. It shocked me at first and I sat there thinking how much even the thought of using that term made me feel awkward. Then as I sat there processing it I realized there was nothing awkward about it. God really is my daddy. He saved me from an abortion when my mother was pregnant with me, He looked out for me my entire life and continues to do so and He loves me unconditionally. Now it rolls off my tongue without a second thought as I talk to Him in prayer, in fact now it feels odd NOT to call Him Daddy. Interesting how that worked.
**sigh**.........soooooooo all of that to say, I am really back now...back to my blog (although I cannot promise how often my schedule will let me post) and back to life with a new pearl to add to my life strand. Thanks Daddy!!! xoxoxo
So please be encouraged by all of this, because I don't share it to brag to you, I share it to give you hope. If you have a pearl you are struggling with, maybe for years like I have...don't give up hope. Your heavenly daddy is looking out for you, even if it doesn't feel like it and He is going to bring you through to the other side, I can promise you that!

Romans 8:15 (Amplified Bible)

15For [the Spirit which] you have now received [is] not a spirit of slavery to put you once more in bondage to fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption [the Spirit producing sonship] in [the bliss of] which we cry, Abba (Father)! Father!


Melissa said...

FRANNIE, I love you for who you are and all that you are. You are my sister in Christ and I value what we have as friends. This post spoke tons to me and I can relate very much with it all! I also share "He saved me from an abortion when my mother was pregnant with me, He looked out for me my entire life and continues to do so and He loves me unconditionally." You are a dear sweet friend and I truly love you.!

Loriwas said...

Beautifully written and expressed : )

PJ said...

Beautiful tribute to your Father-in-law, your dad, AND Your Heavenly Dad. You make them ALL proud I'm sure. I'm also glad you're back.

God Bless,