This post is a really tricky one for me to write. I spent most of my life convincing myself (and my mom) that I was just fine without a dad, and really I was. I grew up to be a smart, funny, pretty, accomplished lady. I have a great mom and an amazing extended family. I am lucky in so many ways.
However, over the last couple of years I’ve grown increasingly angry. It came to a head last summer when my dad’s son (my half-brother) died at the age of 22. He and I weren’t close—in fact, we’d only spoken through email. And yet, it killed me. There were months of grieving and being angry at my dad. It’s starting to get better, but I don’t think I’ll ever get over the fact that I missed out on knowing my sibling.
Wedding planning, too, has put an emphasis on the fatherless part of who I am as a person. I can get over my father giving me away on my wedding day. My mom—if she isn’t crying too hard—will be walking me down the aisle, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. The aspects that bother me are things I never could have imagined would come up.
For instance, I obviously won’t be having a father-daughter dance. I’m sure nobody will miss this, but selfishly I also don’t want Mr. Rucksack to dance with his mother. I feel like their dance will put emphasis on the fact that I didn’t get to dance with my dad. Even if nobody else thinks that way, I will and it will put a significant damper on my mood. I feel so selfish and childish thinking that way, but the pain has grown so significant that I really don’t think I can not feel this way. (We will be inviting everyone to the dance floor after our first dance and Mr. Rucksack will dance with his mom at that point while I…awkwardly hug my mom? Not sure yet.)
The other thing that upsets me? I will have to leave my father’s name blank on our marriage license. Since he’s not on my birth certificate and isn’t part of my life, he doesn’t get to go on my marriage license either. For some reason, this is just heartbreaking to me. I looked online for some guidance, and all I found was a book titled My Ancestor was a Bastard with helpful tips for what to do if while researching your genealogy you come across a bastard relative with no father listed. Cue the tears. So many tears. And also a little bit of laughter.
I’ve been really into genealogy and have gone pretty far back (the 1500s!) on both sides of my family. Thinking about how my future relatives would be stuck with one branch of my tree made me realize: I have no right to my father’s genealogical history. It was devastating. Did I mention that I was also reading Game of Thrones at this point? I couldn’t have felt more like Jon Snow.
It’s really hard trying to deal with all of these emotional issues while planning the wedding, especially since there’s no solution. I’ve learned that my dad doesn’t want to be my dad. He’ll occasionally send me an email or a postcard, but I’ve long since given up hope that we’re going to have some sort of Hollywood ending where he suddenly realizes all that he’s missed. I know it’s something that I just need to deal with, but it’s so sad. Twenty-eight years can go by, but the hurt doesn’t lessen.
Who else is dealing with wedding-related daddy issues? How do you “get over it”?