Google defines the term “dad” as “one’s father.” Yet to me dad and father have two completely different meanings. A dad is someone who is there for his children. A dad watches and actively participates in their lives. A dad helps his children grow up, nurtures them, raises them, attends activities that their child participates in. A dad is present. Now to me a father is more of a biological term than a relationship. A father needs to have sired a child to become a father but doesn’t need to be present in the child’s life. A father is related by blood, a dad can be someone in a child’s life who may not be blood related but cares enough to step up and take parenting roles. To me, father and dad used to be the same in my mind before I found out something my mom hid from me for my entire life.
I was in the car with my grandpa and my brother on our way back to our home where our mom lived. Our parents were separated and there was an hour long journey from each parent’s house to the other. Somehow the topic of child support came up in our conversation and my grandpa had mentioned our dad only needing to pay for my brother and not me which really confused me. When we finally got home I asked my mom about it and she sat me down and told me about how my dad wasn’t blood related to me and how my father lived in another state with a different family. Being only about 9 or 10 years old this was very hard for me to process.
My father, the man whose blood runs through my veins, didn’t want me. The “most important man in a child’s life” didn’t want me. Was there something wrong with me? Did I do something wrong? Was I too much of a disappointment for him? These were all question that ran through my head. If my father didn’t want me, how could anyone else? I thought that my family that I’ve always known just pitied me. Yet the more I thought about it, the more I realized that family doesn’t always mean blood, it can also mean love.
My dad only had to take care of my brother, his son. He decided because I had no dad, that he would step in and be there for me. He chose to love me. He has always told me that he saw me as a cute little bundle and I stole his heart. He is my dad and I am his daughter, not through blood but through the love we share. Unlike my father, my dad was there and he didn’t have to be, he chose to be there. Our family chose to love me as well and I could never picture my life without them. Family isn’t always blood, it can be through love and care for one another. My dad is much better than my father, because to me a dad and a father are very different.