The assignment was to take a word that has a different meaning to you than the dictionary writes. I chose "Dad".
It has been said that anyone can be a dad and only some men are capable of being fathers. As far back as you can look in the history of our humankind a male has been necessary in the production of children. However most men only enjoy the tasks involved during the production and often try to avoid the end result. Bill Maher says â€śChildren, because even sex needs a penaltyâ€ť. This seems to be the overall opinion of all men towards what having children and being a father means: a penalty. The Oxford dictionary defines a dad as â€śones fatherâ€ť, so even Oxford tries to not give a straight answer when it comes to being a dad. When you dig deeper and define father you find two results; â€śa man in relation to his natural child or childrenâ€ť and â€ś(in Christian belief) the first person of the Trinity; Godâ€¦â€ť. It would appear then that the dictionary is not the source to go to for deep meaning; rather it is good for a blunt non-descriptive obvious answer. The literal meaning of a dad is to be a dad, though a dad has much deeper meaning than that if you were to ask any common person on the street. There are many different types of dad and Iâ€™ve had my share of nearly all of them.
Traditionally it was thought that the proper way to grow up was in cozy home, white picket fence, perhaps a dog, and two parents with an undying love for each other. This was a pipedream even when people tried to pretend it was possible in the 50s and 60s. Today in this modern era we have modern families or what were previously known as â€śbroken homesâ€ť. Much like many others I am included in this group. Please acknowledge that Iâ€™m not complaining or lamenting that I wish things were different and that if I was raised in a perfect family that by any means Iâ€™d be better off or a better person. Quite the contrary could be true, there are plenty of families that are trying to live the 50s/60s pipedream and so the married coupled, despite how much they hated each other, stay together in order to keep the normalcy. I believe this kind of environment is just as bad or if not worse for a child to be raised in. From the moment I was reintroduced to my father at age eight and from this point today I know truly what kind of man he is and I am glad that he didnâ€™t play any deeper of an influence on my life than he did. I cannot say my father is a bad father but through my experiences with him Iâ€™ve definitely learned how to NOT be a father. He enjoyed the process of making children but he did not want the end result and he was reluctant to wear proper protection that would help his desire. Thus I came to be and as quickly as I arrived my fatherâ€™s youth and reality came crashing down. The responsibilities of being a father fell onto the man who was still just a boy. Pressure was too great and he was not able to give my mother the support she needed, so, he left. My dad is the kind of dad that shouldnâ€™t have been a dad, at least at that point in his life. He was/is immature and was a terrible example, (especially for the new family he had developed while I didnâ€™t know him) he also carries a lack of empathy, patience, and even reasoning. There are of course worse dads out there and on the brighter sight I now know just to do the opposite of nearly everything my father has ever done in the process of raising me: to not respond in anger when your son/daughter doesnâ€™t know something, to not punish a child for the actions of another, to not shun a child away until they are capable of pushing a lawnmower, to not be dishonest, and to be a father more than a â€śfriendâ€ť.
After my dad went out of the picture my mother was left alone to support a chubby pink blob of screaming joy. She needed someone to support her. The answer came from a stranger who just arrived in the valley from out of town, in fact far from the American border and into the Canadian Provinces. To seal the deal my mother forgot to take her birth control and of course in Methodist fashion a marriage was necessary. My sister was born but had complications that required her to have seven sessions of brain surgery before she could be allowed home and basically spent the first year of her life in a hospital. My first memories of my sister were seeing her behind glass always with a hundreds of different tubes to help her Hydrocephalus. Over the years she would have to return for at least three more similar surgeries. However after the first year the strain of seeing his daughter in such condition was too much for the Canadian and he found his release through alcohol. I do not believe drinking changes the person you are but rather reveals the true inner person within you and I quickly learned that my new stepfather was a disturbed man. My mother and I were abused in nearly every definition of the word and a new kind of dad was discovered. Often I would awake in the middle of the night to the sounds of my mother screaming and furniture breaking, as well as being awoken by the monster himself. Looking back I often wondered why we didnâ€™t move out or call the police earlier, I suppose that is partly the fault of my father; my father left her in such a way that left my mother desperate for a partner and she didnâ€™t want both of her children to be fatherless. Besides when he was not drunk he was just your typical goofy, dumb, awkward Canadian, though the alcohol brought out the demons he was carrying due to his own fatherâ€™s treatment of him. With that in mind it shows the true importance of being a good father; the scars of not being a good dad go much deeper than just your own children. On a less serious note the man had an outrageous obsession with Celine Dion and as a father you have no position of being an out loud Dion fan.
Time went on and my mother continued to try to find â€śMr. Rightâ€ť, â€śMr. Right nowâ€ť or anyone that would be willing to support a woman with two semi bastard children. One â€śRight nowâ€ť was a man older than my grandfather who was also much wealthier than anyone I had met before in my life. Their relationship hurt me: to see my mother pretend affection with this old man in order to support us. The fact that my mother would willingly subject herself to such a life said a lot about her, however I also thought that even if they did get married the guy would die in matter of months. Then for the first time in a good while for my mother some luck happened her way and on the day of the old guyâ€™s move from mansion A to mansion B my mother met the owner of the moving company. She immediately dropped the old fart like a rock and after four years of dating he became dad number three. To this day they are still married and although weâ€™ve had rough patches he has still been a dad longer than my actual father. Though I donâ€™t believe he has been as much of a dad as he is more of a provider to the family. I am grateful for this and I do not expect him to ever be a father to me in the same way he is to his new daughter (who was born about a year ago). My years of needing a father are behind me. Though from him Iâ€™ve learned the importance for a father figure to be able to provide.
As I look back on my life Iâ€™m not sure if even I know what a dad truly is. Perhaps the dictionary is right in only saying that a dad is ones father, leaving the definition open for interpretation in mind that no label could be put on a dad. We know what we expect from a dad and hope for from a dad but the quality of a dad is critically dependent on the quality of the man himself. It is in good men that you find good dads and, as most women agree, itâ€™s so hard to find good men these days. Though what makes a man good? Does it rely on the perception of what women expect from a man? If so than how good a man is and how good of a dad they are is based on personal diagnosis. To me a dad should be the male version a mom. The dad should do everything a mother cannot do, and if youâ€™re a feminist than you probably believe that doesnâ€™t leave much for the dad, though for me Iâ€™ve felt after all these years there is an empty gap of life that should have been filled by such a dad. Instead I placed myself in that place and had to support myself (or in least attempted) in the ways a dad could have. There is no way of knowing how things would have gone if they went in any other way and we are left in life with the results of what has happened. All we can do as people is learn from our experiences and in my case learn from the events of my different dads in hope to one day become the father I never had.