In my hubby's case, fatherhood was thrust on him. We didn't plan to get pregnant when we did (very early in our relationship), he didn't plan to fall in love with a woman who already had a child. We didn't plan to have four children but we did.
I'm sure it has been a struggle for him over the years, and I'm sure that my children think there are things he could have done better in his fatherhood journey (as they undoubtedly think the same of my motherhood journey too) but being alongside my hubby on this journey, I know that he has done the best he can and that he loves each of our children unconditionally, in fact, I know he would lay down his life for them if he had to, even now when they are all adults.
Which brings me to my father and my irritation about who he is as a father.
I haven't had a wonderful relationship with my father during my life, but without him, I wouldn't be ... so the cynical part of me says there is some good in the man.
Am I being too judgemental here though, I can forgive my own husband for his failings in the parenthood journey, but not my own father?
Let's face it being a woman, I don't know what it has been like to be a father for either of them, a parent yes, a father no.
In all honesty I can say that being a mother, while being something I have loved, has at times been the hardest road in my life. So is it even harder being a dad?
As a mother, for me, the joy of having a child growing inside of my body, the bond I felt from the moment I knew I was 'with child' has been the greatest joy in my life. That moment when your child is given to you, all mucky and screaming, when it first suckles from your breast, when it first looks at you with those eyes so full of innocence ... as a mother we get to experience that journey, but as a father, well it cant possibly be the same. Just the fact that they don't gestate surely gives them a disconnect no matter how much they want to be a father.
In my father's case, I don't think he was ready for children in his early/mid 20s. I am not sure he would have been ready for children at any age as he is a selfish man in many ways. I will say that he has seemed to enjoy having his step son come into his life when he was in his late 30s/early 40s, so maybe being an older dad would have given him a better chance.
I am sure, in fact I am positive, that he thinks he has been the best father, and most probably he has, the best father he can be. Why am I so sure, well because he has actually told me what a great father he has been. I kid you not.
Is there such a thing as being a perfect father, a perfect mother, a perfect parent. No, there is not, for no matter how much we try none of us are perfect. As a parent we can only do our best, and sometimes that best is not enough, but it is our best.
I look at these photos and see a young man, awkwardly holding his child (me) and think, he really didn't know what he was getting in for, did he? The responsibility of being a dad, a father in this little squirming baby's life.
So Dad, were you the father I needed growing up, in all honesty, no you were not.
I do however believe you did your best and that is all we can do.
I have lots to thank you for, for no matter what you did wrong (or right), being your daughter has given me many things.
It has made me a stronger woman, it has made me learn to love unconditionally, it has made me strive to be a better parent, it has given me the ability to finally realise that you do love me, maybe not in the way I had hoped for, but that that is okay, for love is love and there are many in the world that have none.
Happy Father's Day Dad xxx