A reader contacted me and the more we spoke, the more I felt this would help her. I posted this somewhere else but here you go, darling!
Father (fah-th er) -noun
1. a male parent.
2. a man who exercises paternal care over other persons; paternal protector or provider
It's simple for a dictionary to just give us these words and expect it to be suffice. But, a father is so much more.
He is supposed to be the first man you live with. The first man to tell you that you are beautiful and offer you the world. He's supposed to toss you in the air and chase away those night-time monsters or at least show you that the "monster" is the clothes you forgot to put away.
He is your source of foundation. You watch in awe how he perfectly balances out the superhero your mom is. You fall in love with his smells and the scruff of his beard as he kisses you goodnight. Your father is the first man to give you a pet name. "Hey Pumpkin!" "Good Morning, Babydoll!" "How's Daddy's Little Girl?"
He tells you your worth so that you don't get back the wrong change. He prepares you for the bitter world of the opposite sex because he's "done it all". He wipes away the tears after you fall off your bike when he lets go. He eats your vegetables when your mom isn't looking so you won't sit at the kitchen table all night long.
He lets you sit on his shoulders at the parade so you don't miss the floats. As you get older, he interrogates the guys you bring around. He deals with your PMS because it reminds him that his "princess" is almost a QUEEN. That's what the fathers on TV do, anyway.
I'm sorry, Webster's Dictionary, you didn't provide with me that.
But, neither did the men my mom brought in my life. I've been a Daddyless girl for as long as I can remember. My grandfather was the first man I lived with. But, he was hardly around. Yet, I loved when he'd come home and pat me on the head, "Hey Kid...que pasa?" I look forward to those moments even today. It is the one thing a man has given to me without finding a way to take it back.
I considered "fathers" a lost cause for me. I gave 18 years of my life to men who left me unprepared for life. Alas! Boys liked me. I began to cling to and "love" every guy who gave me enough attention. I was lost in myself. They claimed to see me. How? I couldn't even see myself! I became a blank canvas for them to paint who they wanted me to be. I allowed all these men to convince me that THEY knew what was right for ME. And, I got the attention I so badly craved.They weren't giving me what I deserved, though. Every night, my drawer came up short. I was losing. And, I just couldn't let that happen.
A father is defined as a man who "protects" and "provides". But, THAT'S WHAT THEY WERE DOING.....right? Protecting us from STDS as they Provided me with good/bad sex?!? Protecting me from the "dangers" that happen in movie theaters, museums, and parks while providing me with mediocre conversations and awkward silence while we got dressed after more sex? No? I missed the point? Clearly.
I wasn't trusting myself enough to make the right decisions for me. Maybe it was because I didn't care. If these guys were giving me what I felt I needed, why waste time looking for self-enlightenment. They didn't think I was so bad. Soon enough, that hole wasn't so easy to fill. I didn't trust men in the driver's seat anymore. I refused to be the passenger in my life any longer. I started to look in the mirror and see hints of a face I hadn't seen in a while.
I am a member of the "fatherless tribe". But, I refuse to let that be what defines me. Although, my sole requirement in a man was "someone who will be a great father to my kids", I now fully understand it. I want a man who can provide and protect. Currently, I'm provided with the love I sought from myself. My heart is protected only because I am now wiser as to who's hands I place it in. He's a provider and protector, as well. He doesn't look at me as a blank canvas for him to paint on but, as a mound of clay for Taniqua to shape herself into who she wants to be. He provides me with inspiration and insight to how high in value I am. He protects me from those who are looking to turn me into chump change. I'm no longer trying to turn my dollar into your fifteen cents.