My mother wasn’t a single mother. she was married to my stepfather as long as I can remember. When father’s day came every year, we gave our stepdad cards, and presents to celebrate him as if he was the loving parent he occasionally portrayed.
My sister and I knew better.
Very rarely do we experience moments of thoughtful father, and grown more used to his unreasonable fury: the man that used to choke me at the slightest mistake, or call my sister names whenever she did something wrong. He was the man that doesn’t respect my grandmother (his mother-in-law), obviously preferred his true-born sons, and received tokens of appreciation every year to orchestrate the illusion of a relatively normal family.
I somehow recall a father’s day card that stood out from the rest, the letter praised of the lessons I learned from him, I signed my name with my heart in my throat as I feared what he would think of this complete bullshit. I knew with all the cells in my body that I wasn’t writing for him. I was writing for my mother.
My mother was never on the receiving end of his dagger. The nights that the pain was enough not to let me sleep, she chose to turn away. Although that was a fact, she taught me more about being a father than my stepdad ever could.
My mother taught me about true dedication, thinking more about other’s first than herself. I learned that a father’s duties didn’t stop at financial stability and discipline. Just like how a mother’s responsibility didn’t stop her children’s births. Yes my stepdad put food on the table, paid off our schooling, but it was my mom who kept the house a home as much as she could, she planned birthday parties and decorated the house for special occasions, going above and beyond so that her brood would feel as special as she believed them to be. She was there when we won, and when we had important losses.
My stepdad was only there to exist. It was my mom that taught me that a father should be understanding, attentive, and most of all, present. And she was present enough for the both of them.
My mom is the reason why I believe in true love. She never once let us feel that we weren’t worthy of her hard work, or patience (especially when we fucked up the worst way that we could). Even at her most livid anger, she reminded us that her love was endless and forgiving. There was nothing we could do to lose it.
My father loved us, but only when it was convenient for him. My mother taught me that a father’s love should be constant, as her’s was constant enough for the both of them.
My mother taught me about respect. That it was truly earned and not forced or taken. My father demands respect. My mom survived without it.
When I felt like nothing, my mother made me feel like I could be everything. I could only wish that I could be that person for her as much as she was for me.
Thank you mom, I love you, and Happy Father’s Day.