One by one friends changed their profile pics, honoring their fathers, making an unspoken declaration: “My father was a good man.”
You see, if he was a bad man, you wouldn’t give up the coveted “profile pic” spot. Let’s face it; that piece of real estate is a big deal on Facebook.
As I notice each alert (“So and so has changed their profile picture”), it brings back a familiar feeling from when I was a little girl, the feeling of being left out.
In grade school, while my friends bragged about their dad near the monkey bars, I stood nearby in silence. An overwhelming nervousness would overcome my entire body, almost to a near panic. And in my silence, a herd of thoughts would run through my head, my eyes darting from side to side.
“I wonder if they know what my dad is really like.”
“Maybe their dad is like that and they’re just making stuff up.”
“Maybe I should make up stuff, too!”
“Are they getting suspicious? Should I just say something, anything?”
But I never partook in the dad bragging ritual on the playground. And I can’t partake in it on the social media playground either.
“My father was a
good bad man.”
Thank God for my mother. She was more of a man than my father ever was. And I mean that in the most complimentary way. If my mom is reading this now, which she is, (Hi, Mom!) she’ll read this with the most understanding heart because she gets me.
Despite my father’s sins, I turned out OK. I have my mom to thank for that. She was my mother and my father. She was the disciplinary, the consoler and the provider. (This piece of history repeats itself in my own failed marriage, but more on that later.)
I’ve come to realize that my mom was literally the only adult in the house. When she says she was raising three children, I get it. She was raising me, my brother and my father.
When I told her that my marriage had unraveled, that I had done everything I could to save it and that I was moving out with the kids because he refused to leave, I told that I needed two things from her:
1. I needed her to accept my decision.
2. I needed her to not ask questions. I was too fragile.
She then did the most beautiful thing. Without judgment, she said, “Tell me what I can do to help you.”
From that moment on, she’s been there for me in every sense of the word “there.” As in “there” to pick up my kid from school when my ex said he would then didn’t and “there” to pass me the tissue box, hold me and tell me that everything’s going to be OK.
So in honor of my mother, I’ve dedicated my profile pic on my (private) Facebook page with a photo of a beautiful young woman in her 20s, wearing a peach-colored, polyester a-line dress, holding hands with her then 4-year-old daughter.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you mom and Happy Father’s Day.
Te quiero mucho, mami…