I am celebrating my amazing husband today, his commitment to our 9 month old baby Adrian and his willingness to work out every bump in a road so we can have an extraordinary life.
As my husband is calling his dad to wish him a Happy Father’s day and I am browsing facebook to wish it to my friends who have become fathers, I am feeling the bitter sweet.
My father is in Croatia and has lived there for the past almost 30 years. I saw him briefly at the airport in Belgrade 4 years ago. I was flying back to Montenegro after my green card interview in US Embassy after much stress. He came with his grown up younger son and I felt so completely awkward. We had less than 30 minutes together and during that time his son, my half brother, was insisting that his/our dad takes him to see something in the city since they already made the trip. When I got on a plane, I just wept. It was the happiest day of my life as I was granted a green card, something I have wanted for over a decade yet, I was filled with deep sadness for the lack of connection with my dad. That day at Belgrade’s airport was the first time I saw him after 25 something years. And even though I am his first child, somehow I felt like I no longer had the right to have him in my life.
Maybe this sounds like a sad story. What I am sharing here is not nearly as sad as the days of my childhood when I was longing and trying to understand why my dad is not more committed to being my father. It was tough to figure that out: I was a smart kid, talented, pretty, straight A student, ambitious, but his lack of presence had scarred me for life. Over time, I learned to pretend I don’t love him or miss him because everyone else thought he was a jerk, so it took years of work to undo the feelings I have buried so deep inside because I didn’t think how I felt was accepted in the world.
In 2005, I did transformational work that helped me heal. It allowed me to find gratitude for my life that wouldn’t be possible without both of my parents not just my mom who was there for me through thick and thin, loving, committed and above all PRESENT and AVAILABLE. I was able to stop wanting to change the past, the years of lack and missing and focus on what is in front of me. I stopped blaming myself and thinking that I did something wrong – probably what all children do when their parents divorce. I realized, just because my dad wasn’t there for me, doesn’t mean I can’t have a man in my life with whom I can create family and future. So I worked on it, slowly, diligently, step by step. My amazing marriage is a product of that journey and my commitment to having love in my life.
So today, I celebrate my beautiful husband. I send love to my dad as I realize how much he missed. I celebrate my mother for being both mother and father to me… and I celebrate myself for how much I grew despite my circumstances.
Love to all fathers out there!!! Love your children! Love your daughters!