A shattered dream
I have often been guilty of neglecting the most important issues in my life. It’s easier than facing them. In the same way as rejecting the help of a friend can be easier than letting them in and opening up.
One of these issues is more challenging than others, it causes a great deal of emotional strain. It is the desire I have always had to be a father.
I never contemplated going through my life without having children of my own. The ability to recreate life with someone I loved always felt like a purpose rather than a choice. I believed that the perfect partner would come along when the time was right. Relationships drifted in and out of my life but I was still young, the time to begin my family would come. When I pictured my future it always had that one constant, the presence of a child who I was responsible for. I wanted to be the teacher, the role model, the provider and hopefully the friend. I couldn’t imagine a greater privilege in life.
I would have been a good dad. I truly believe that I would. I am lucky enough to have had great parents to learn from and have as an example. They brought me up always showing just the right amount of love, respect, discipline and freedom. They were not without their flaws, no parents are, but I could learn from that also. I just wanted the chance to do it really well so I could look back on my life and see it as my greatest achievement.
Its not going to happen now. For the first couple of years after the accident I still thought it was a possibility but I have accepted that it will never happen.
Even if I had the choice, it would not be fair on the child or the mother. I would have all the love in the world to offer but I would be so limited in the ways to show it. I couldn’t hold my own newborn baby. I couldn’t be there to steady my toddler’s first steps. I couldn’t take my son to the park to play football. I couldn’t teach my daughter how to ride her first bike on a Christmas morning. I know many never have a father figure but that wouldn’t be my kids. I was determined to be the best father I could possibly be. The kind of father my children could be proud of. The kind of father I am lucky enough to have had myself.
Now I find pleasure sharing my friends journeys through parenthood. I enjoy watching them change as their children develop their own unique personalities. I can’t say that it doesn’t make me jealous, it does. I wonder how I would change and what kind of personality my child would have. I am extremely happy for them and I do enjoy spending time with the little families that surround me but I think there will always be that bit of jealousy hiding in the shadows.
I want to experience the best that life has to offer and I don’t think it can get much better than raising a child. It’s an opportunity to help shape a personality from a blank canvas at birth. An opportunity that comes with great responsibility. The responsibility to be a good example, to show affection, to teach strong morals and to provide a safe environment for emotional and physical growth. To be trusted with that responsibility is a special gift.
I am the proof that we are only one unlucky move away from having that gift taken away.
I love this song. It is a conversation between a father and son, Dutch singer Alain Clark duetting with his real-life father Dane Clark. This is the conversation I dreamt of having with my son one day. It is the way I always hoped my son would talk to me and the way I always imagined my reply.
I used to look forward to that day but now it is a shattered dream. I will never be fortunate enough to play the role of the father. However, listening to that song I can relate to how the son feels. My dad is and always has been the father I dreamt of being myself. I should thank him for that more often.