Fatherhood, as defined by wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn is : the kinship relation between an offspring and the father. What does that mean to me as I venture forth onto the starting line of “fatherhood”? Not much really. “the kinship relation between an offspring and the father” doesn’t really explain much. What type of relation is it?
If I looked around a bit at the people in my life and in this world, I would have an even harder time defining it. My stepson’s father hasn’t seen my stepson in more than 5 years. Is that fatherhood? My nephews father stops in every year or two to say hello and preach the gospel to his ex-wife. Then leaves. Neither of them have sent a cent to help in the raising of the children. Is that fatherhood?
There are men I know who spend holidays with their kids, talk about how they need to act, then watch as the kids return to their mother’s house. A thousand miles away. I don’t know that I would call them bad men, but if I were to judge, and I do, I would say they weren’t good fathers.
Then there are those fathers in my life who I can hope to imitate a bit here and there. I never once doubted the love my father had for me growing up. My brothers. My older one raising a son and daughter into happy, healthy and my younger, raising his son alone, never once giving the thought of walking away.
Maybe because I’ve lived a large portion of my life without having children, I can be a bit more objective. Some might say I don’t really have a right to say anything since I have no idea what they’ve been through. I dunno.
What I know is, that I don’t want to be those first mentioned men. Perhaps that’s all the judgment I need to have. I’m certainly not perfect, and I expect the next few years to bring out my imperfections more than any thing else ever has.
I look at the past five years or so spent with my step-son, whom I’ve come to regard as my own, and wish I hadn’t come in late on that. Now that he’s a teenager, trying to find how that relationship fits is even harder than it might be for others.
I wasn’t expecting to be a brand new dad at the age of 40. I had resigned myself to living vicariously through the lives of others in that regard. Here I am though, and I find myself looking in the mirror every morning, trying to contemplate the next 20 years.
More than what kind of man I want my son to be, the questions is, what kind of father will I be to my son. When it comes down to the wire on why men are the way they are, why they act the way they do, what kind of father they had is the biggest consideration to take in.
Maybe that’s just me though.