My words may be clumsy, stumbling, likely sound self-involved. Perhaps they are.
Honesty and raw feelings don’t always translate smoothly onto a page the way my heart wants them to. But the hope is there. That this will be taken as it is intended…humbly and with respect.
Glancing through Twitter hundreds of colourful posts fly upwards from my scrolling thumb.
I smile, and read, and retweet a constant stream of words that remind me I am not alone. Not the only one that is tired to the point of tears. Thoughts and feelings from parents, like me; sharing our joys, fears and snapshots of our children’s epic tantrums. Crayon on walls and sick on shoes. For fun, for support, for a living.
Yet, there are some posts that sometimes the content I find hard to read. That I skip over.
To make it clear I am in NO WAY an anti-daddy blogger, or anti daddy for that matter. Mummy and daddy are both Y words. Different but equal. I don’t see anywhere in the definition of a ‘good parent’ the specification of requiring boobs instead of balls.
You are fighting to be seen as you are, as loving devoted dads who are witty, knowledgeable and present. With your children in your arms, there is no room for perceptions of the father’s role as ‘secondary’.
And that is why I find it so hard.
Because however grown up I am. However many wrinkles frame my eyes, part of me will always be the little girl whose daddy left her and I am jealous of how you love your children. I read your posts and admire your pictures but it incites a bittersweet joy that for me is coloured grey by the sharp tone of loss.
Of missed chances.
Until I was six, maybe seven, the definition of dad’ was an absent space. An empty chair. An imaginary hand that held mine. He had no place in my world.
Didn’t I deserve one?
I would observe my friend’s dads, always a little cautious, and try and figure out their role in family life. Friends before school plays would happily say, ‘my daddy is coming to watch me.’
I knew that mine never would.
There are sepia toned pictures of the day I met my dad.
I was dressed in my best Christmas dress even though it was not Christmas. It must have been nerve-wracking for him and my mum. He was handsome with a dimple in his nose. I could see nothing of me in him. My mother says otherwise, that I have his temper and tilt of head.
In school I was proud to tell people, at last, that daddy came to see me.
The word felt unfamiliar on my lips.
And for a while the odd weekend was spent with him, his wife, and eventually my half siblings. I did adore them but would not recognise them in the street now. Two little people with his dark hair and olive skin whilst I was blonde and fair. I never quite felt like I fit in.
It was hard split between two families. Could I truly have a place in each?
We slowly drifted out of contact, did not understand each other.
When met with reality I found myself disappointed.
People are not perfect.
Do I wish we had never met, so my imagination could hold onto the idea of a good dad? It would be easier than holding all these regrets.
He wanted the little girl he had left and he was awkwardly trying to fill the shoes that my grandfather had stepped into when he cast them off.
What does it mean to be a dad?
Spending most of my childhood crawling round the floor pretending to be a pony, grandad must have hurt his knees. In his workshop I hid his best hammers. He would put water on a comb and quiff my hair up like a teddy boy. Travolta chic. Memories are filled with grass, sheep, wood smoke and brown leaves. A man of little words. Of reassurance and bad jokes. The jokes have faded with age.
He gently murmurs to his horses and mutters at my grandma under his breath when she tells him off for overcooking the parsnips.
It is me that needs to change.
To grow up and leave that little girl behind.
So, when I read posts from dad bloggers they should remind me of how men can be loving, protective, there. I should see my grandfather, and not the father that left.
See the man that stayed.
Dear daddy bloggers, thank you. For redefining the word dad for me.
For reminding me what it means to be a father and what it is to earn the title.
No apology needed we are the product of our experiences!
This just popped up in my early AM twitter timeline. I would forget about us dad bloggers. Yes, okay, so I’m yet to meet a dad blogger who isn’t trying their best at fulfilling their role, I guess we would be at the (i choose my words carefully) better end of the parenting spectrum. I’m glad we have shown you good fathers are out there. Even so, we still, like the mum bloggers, take time to get our Instagram images perfect etc. Experiences with your father clearly were negative and there are similarities with my background as it happens. It’s the dads in playground, dads in the park, dads working compressed hours to spend a full day a week with their kids even the stay at home dads. These are the best examples of fatherhood. That said, I’m glad blogging and bloggers have shown you that good fathers do exit. .
What a brilliantly written heart felt post.
Why is the sky blue? Because, child, the degree of scattering of light is inversionally proportional to the fourth power of the wavelength. OK? Now, as for where babies come from…
Seriously, though, I welled up at this lovely piece of writing. ?
Thank you:)…haha you should see my Mumsplainations post I answered where do babies come from haha xxx
What a great post. Thanks for sharing. I am sorry for what your dad didn’t do. A friend once told me, “Maybe God didn’t allow your dad to raise you because He was protecting you from some traits or behaviors that your dad had that would have influenced you negatively.” That acknowledgement began the slow process of changing my perspective. Eventhough I am very involved with my daughters (& a daddy blogger..sorry), I feel perplexed as to why my dad would willingly miss out on my childhood. I have accepted it, but it has made me determined to give 110% to my kids. I want to be the complete opposite of him. My girls will never have to question my love for them.
Lovely heartfelt piece. Sending much love from a Single Adoptive Dad blogger. X
Jade I read this and feel that you’ve made assumptions about those dads and images. Possibly because of your emotion towards then and what they represent. My twin brother and I was left behind because Reece was disabled and my so called father deserted us. The desire to write about my life with my girls and record every moment is slowly filling those cracks in my existence left behind by someone I do not know, yet shaped my whole being.
Please don’t feel sad.
I do probably make loads of assumptions and I know my view is totally biased by my own upbringing 🙂 I just don’t want to come across as someone anti dad as there some amazing fathers out there in or out of the social media view. My heart hurts for you and your brother and your experience in a way that I hope is not condescending, I am so glad you have your girls and the cracks are fading. Much love J x
What a beautifully written piece. My husband has an absent father, he knows nothing about him at all. He is the most fantastic father to our two children and I know Since becoming a father he has wondered how his own father could have left him and not fought for him much more. Such a lovely post so moving , open and honest. xx
Thank you lovely, I think being a parent yourself makes you wonder how someone could be apart from their children, whatever hardships, but then in a way you also understand more too as you know how hard it can be..x
Every little girl needs a daddy, and every little girl that doesn’t have one wrenches my heart a little more. It’s our fault, I hope you know. The daddy’s, that is. No little girl is ever to blame for anything. They’re sweet little things that take a man and melt him, melt his pride away, and forge him into something he’s unable to describe. I guess some irons cone out brittle, and it’s a tragedy. Still, I tip my hat to you. You strike me as a courageous soul despite what your daddy didn’t give you, and your blog is plenty evidence that you’re doing something right.
I cant write the type of eloquent heartfelt response I would like as I am to busy sobbing at your beautiful reply. I don’t feel any ill will towards my dad, I know parenthood is heard, but I can still be sad for missed chances..My experience is what made me fight so hard for my son to have a positive relationship with his dad after we separated and I a so glad for that x
I always feel a different feeling when I read posts from dad bloggers.
My dad died when I was 3 and my brother was 2 weeks old, and our mum never met anyone else. So all I knew was the few good memories. Yes I feel a little jealous that others had their fathers, and it’s created me as who I am. I know our life would have been very different had he still been alive, less money scrimping but also we’d have been unlikely to have been as independent, we’d not have moved where we did, we’d have missed out on the friends we have had and often still have. But I’m more likely to compare them to my OH than my dad. Because I expect a lot from the OH as a dad, and how I expected my dad would have been. I’m more sad for N having a dad who doesn’t go on holiday with us or take days off work, than I am for not having had my dad in my life. Because we’ve come out the other side of our loss and turned out pretty well, and well adjusted considering we had no men in our life.
I wonder whether dads in a similar situation without a mum, feel the same as you reading mummy blogs?
What a lovely post….and not what I was expecting from the title. I have thought a lot about what makes a good dad, and worried about whether I would be able to give what was required and do what was needed to have a positive relationship with Effy. I’ve come to conclusion that I don’t think I will ever really know the answer, but I will always be there and always try my best.
I think being there and trying are the two things that are the most important! Thank you for such a lovely considered comment xx
This is a wonderful post, I must say it struck a chord with me. My mother left my father when me and my brother were 4 and 5 years of age. My mum remarried and all I recall from that point onwards is missing my dad. We lived quite far away although I didn’t know that at the time. Me and my brother would go off looking for him. My mum used to go mad when we had been out all day and she had been left worried sick. After years of my mums really abusive relationships as we grew up we finally moved back to our home town. When I was 18 years old I met my Dad for the first time in all of those years, I visioned a perfect relationship with him from that point onwards but unfortunately that didn’t happen. Now I try extra hard with my kids as a result and sometimes spoil them a little too much.
Parents in general who do not pay their children attention aren’t worth our words or worry! Your mother has clearly done an exceptional job and I truly hope that writing this post gives you some closure… good luck
Ps This is one of the best heart felt posts I have read. Thanks for being brave and sharing.
Thank you for such a wonderful comment, it made me choke up. I am sorry you didn’t get the relationship you deserved but your children have a dad that adores them and there is nothing more they could ask in the world xx
I don’t think you’re going to be alone in this. I for one haven’t had a Dad in my life since I was a small child. But I agree completely. Daddy Bloggers are wonderful people. It’s so refreshing to know that there are Dad’s out there who are so fantastic, you can let ours slide (kind of). I mean I see it everyday in my own hub-to-be and our daughter. It does the world of good to just express yourself in writing, even when the content is a personal, close to home one like this. You did yourself justice. Beautiful. #brillblogposts
I’ve just discovered your blog, loving your photography skills! Anyway that was a side note. What a beautiful, honest and mature post – it made me well up. So many people out there are left without fathers and it must be so difficult to grow up without one in your life. #brillblogposts
Your post made me cry. I was lucky, and my Mom and Dad are very much a part of my life. But, my ex-husband has had nothing to do with our son for pretty much his entire 16 years. Just a few days ago he turned 16, and he asked if his dad posted anything on facebook about him. It broke my heart to say no, it breaks my heart to think my son has to check facebook to even see if his Dad remembered or cared. I know there are so many levels of hurt and anger a child deals with not having their dad there. I am so sorry. #KCACOLS
Oh this comment made me cry, your son has the most amazing mother to be there for him and that means the world. My mum and I are so close. It is hard for you having to be both mum and dad and your son will know how much you love him xx
You’re very brave writing this down. My husband has changed my opinion of what a husband and father should be, for the better. Im sure seeing the man that stayed not the man who left is easier said than done.
Thank you, Its my clumsy half-hearted way of sharing my gratitude. I am so glad your husband has changed your opinion 🙂 xx
That’s really brave of you to say this, thanks for sharing the post and for being so honest. Some parents, mums or dads (and more often dads) can be a real disappointment when they don’t live up to their responsibilities to their children. No good dad would be anything other than on your side when reading this.
Thank you 🙂 I just wanted to write something from the heart that showed my gratitude for good dads, and not come across self involved or judgemental. Your comment means a lot xx
Everybody is going to view life through the lens of their own experiences. I’m sorry that you’re dad wasn’t there when you needed him and am glad that some of us are successfully doing our parts to change negative perceptions. #KCACOLS
A lot of daddy’s are doing amazing jobs, and its nice that the blogging world provide windows to see you all kicking parenting ass, it does make me happy xx
I have grown up with my father living very far from me, so my visits to him and his family were far and few in between. So I know how you feel. I am trying to be the dad he couldn’t be to me.
I’m glad you had a father figure in your life because it means the world to children.
Thank you for this blog #KCACOLS
I am sorry for your experience but am so heartened that in turn you are being an amazing dad to ensure your children don’t feel like you did xx
There’s definitely a lot of great dads out there.
Although I was always closer to my mum, because she was at home a lot more with me than my dad, I’m really glad and feel lucky that they’ve both had a positive influence on my life.
Really sorry you didn’t get to have the relationship you deserved with your dad. #KCACOLS
There definitely is! My relationship with my dad taught me so much about being a good mum and doing the best I can to encourage my sons relationship with his dad 🙂 xx
This has made me cry. You have written about him before but your grandfather just sounds like an amazing man. It’s understandable that seeing dad bloggers has brought up complex emotions for you and as always you’ve written beautifully and from the heart I think it’s lovely seeing all these brilliant Dads sharing their stories. As you say so eloquently – there is no requirement to have boobs to be a good parent!
Haha I always have to throw off my deep heartfelt writing will balls, thank you for the beautiful comment darling xx
Thank you for this. I’m so sorry your dad wasn’t really in your life. I hope to not be that kind of dad.
awww such an honest and heart felt post x
A lovely post, my dad left us when I was 16 and was terrible at keeping in contact, I wouldn’t hear from him in months on end and gave up trying to contact him. I feel jealous of people with great dads too, mine was good when he was there but pants when he wasn’t. #KCACOLS
This brought a lump to my throat Jade. I’m so sorry that you didn’t have a strong paternal influence growing up but yes, I completely agree that some of the daddy bloggers out there are just amazing and restore my faith that there are some brilliant daddies raising their beautiful children. #tribe Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next Sunday.
This is so lovely, and I’m so sorry that you don’t have your dad in your life. I have been so lucky to have a wonderful Dad, I know that many do not, and I love to read Daddy blogs to see that there are some wonderful fathers out there too. Thank you for sharing. #KCACOLS
This is a beautiful post, it choked me up. While my Dad has been ‘there’ (albeit separated from my mum most of my life) there have always been issues. My Husband is a completely different man to our boys than my dad was with my brother and I, and I couldn’t be more grateful. xx #kcacols
Wow, what an honest post. It must have been so hard growing-up without your Dad as you did. But it’s great that you are opening yourself up to the Dad bloggers out there and there is a lot to learn from them! #KCACOLS
I love this Jade. I can relate on so many levels, such a great post to all the Dads out there (including the father of my son) who are amazing, wonderful and supportive : ).
Oh Jade this is so beautiful. It must be really hard to not have your Dad as part of your life – I think it is wonderful how you take some so positive from reading Daddy blogger’s posts xxx
Oh, what a heartfelt post. I feel choked up. It must have been so difficult for you not having a dad around. #triballove