You are enough - The impact of father figures
First off i'd just like to say a huge thank you to everyone who took the time to read my last blog post and sent messages and shared and commented. It was amazing! and YOU ARE ALL AMAZING.
So thank you and with that in mind here's blog number 2 in the series:
Several years ago
In my mums kitchen something happened that quite literally set off a chain of events that have altered my life and my being (for the better)
One of my good friends who i've known since we were in reception together, Who i've grown up with all my life on my estate was sat at the kitchen table and I, myself was atop the kitchen unit.
Chatting away, She uttered two words that set off a domino chain of moments and memories, events if you will, in my life that have been falling one by one ever since.
Those words were
Now before I go any further I just have to establish and clarify that she wasn’t telling me she was pregnant with my child.
No No No
She was telling me as a friend that she was pregnant and didn’t know what to do.
She wanted advice and an ear to listen.
Little did I know back then, the bond that her son and I would form.
The impact he’d have on my heart.
The impact he’d have on my life.
And vice versa - The impact i'd have on his life.
The day trips to Cardiff on the train to go birthday or christmas shopping
The cheeky Nandos
The cinema trips
The sing alongs
The love of Avengers and Marvel Superheroes
The silly games we play
The adventures we go on.
She named him Jace.
Remember that name for later.
Lately, looking back and reflecting on myself and the relationship Jace and I have formed over the years has really made me
1) Treasure the moments we get to create together and the effect he has on me
2) Be thankful for the people in my life who have been like ‘Father Figures’ to me over the years
Now for me, growing up without a father was tough as i’ve already established because I craved answers.
Like any child would.
And as I acknowledged in my last blog, I blamed myself (And my mum) for a huge part of my childhood, primarily my father not being around.
Im not good enough
Im not deserving enough of his love and affection
Whats wrong with me?
Why doesn’t he want to spend time with me?
All those negative and destructive thoughts because the one person I longed for was not interested in being
My best friend.
My role model.
My go to.
And because I longed for a dad I guess I started bonding more with male figures in my life and seeing them as these sort of “father figures”.
The first one was my Uncle Red.
Who I can honestly say I idolised as a kid.
He taught me how to ride a bike.
Took me out for food.
He took me on days out to feed ducks in Roath Park and paddle boats in boating lakes.
He would take his hands off the steering wheel when driving for a split second and I would be in awe as I’d think it was the coolest, most badass thing in the whole world.
He gave me a childhood.
He gave me love when I needed it most.
He was my first superhero.
The second one was my next door neighbour Jodi
He showed me how to shave
He gave me my first (unofficial) driving lesson (and we survived!)
He would debate with me as a teenager on the world and the future
He would let me sleep on his sofa when i’d had a bust up with my mum (frequent when I was a teenager)
He would let me raid his fridge when I was a poor, starving student in university
He taught me how to be a man.
He was and still is to this day my dad. (Or the closest thing I got to one)
And the final one is my Grandad. (My mums dad)
Now my Grandad doesn’t really say much. Never really has.
He's just been, well, Grandad.
The talkative one is my Nan.
Hence why my Nan and I are so close.
But recently I found out that on the night I hit my mum and I rang them (more specifically my Nan) to come and bail me out it was my Grandad who said to my Nan “No Janet i’m going to get him because for once he needs a man in his life”
That same night he turned to me as we got into his Rover to drive from the police station and he said to me that If I ever laid a hand on his daughter again then i’d have him to answer to. Id have him to fight.
Baring in mind at that point I was a 14 year old teenager consumed with rage and with no disregard for my actions and he was a 70+year old man but he had no fear.
He showed me that night what it means to love someone whole heartedly and what it means to be courageous beyond expectations.
He was and still IS my role model.
I guess throughout my life even if I didn’t realise it at the time, I have had these figures to guide me, to help me, to advise me as I grew into the man I am today.
All these things that they have done with me and for me over the years no matter how big or small have stuck with me and combined with my mums guidance and upbringing have moulded me into the Connor who writes this blog and stands before you today, because in a small way they showed me what it was like TO be enough. TO be deserving of love and affection.
And to them they may just see it like they’re being genuine people or it may not seem like much but to a little kid (and later raging teenager) who just wanted a dad and longed for a relationship with a man who he thought he could get answers from, It meant more than words can express.
It truly meant the world.
So to my father figures, Thank You.
A few weeks ago as I was getting Jace (told you to remember that name) ready for bed after an evening of doing homework together and catching up, he flung his uniform down on the bedroom floor and started getting into his pyjamas.
I proceeded to pick his uniform up and fold it ready for the next day.
As I was doing this and Jace was getting his PJs on ready for bed he said the following to me whilst doing so:
Jace: You know Con you’re like a cousin to me because we’re that close
Connor: I’ll take that little man.
Jace: Or a brother? Yeah more like a brother because we’re that close
Connor: giggling you’re like a brother to me too. Best friends ini
Climbing into his bed
Jace: Actually, you’re more like a dad to me
Now this moment hit me at first like a first great western train
Many people in mine and my friends life laugh and joke how I’m like jace’s second dad or step dad at times due to the relationship and closeness we share but when those words came out of his own mouth I was speechless and that isn’t like me at all.
‘Anyone can be a father, But it takes someone special to be a dad’
Now at this point I tucked him in and said goodnight but once I got home afterwards and reflected on it, my cheeks started to get all wet as tears streamed down my face.
I started to cry and I cried because I was seeing my past playing out in front of me.
A child looking for guidance and love from a male perspective.
And it was at this point I remembered and truly valued the ‘Father’ figures I had in my life.
Tupac once said it best in Dear Mama - “I finally understand
For a woman it ain't easy trying to raise a man"
Now that takes nothing away from mothers.
What so ever.
Mothers are absolute QUEENS and utter resilient bosses.
My mother did and still does an amazing job as I spoke about in my last blog.
All the mothers/mums that I know, are some of the best women I have in my life because the strength and love they show is awe inspiring and contagious.
And my friend does an exceptional job day in and day out and loves Jace more than anything in the world but sometimes, when we have absent fathers we just want answers.
We crave guidance and speaking for myself I thought I was going to get that guidance and get those answers from my father or as I wanted it .. My Dad.
Turns out I never did.
And that’s ok.
I got my answers from elsewhere and i’m so thankful to those who have helped me find those answers over the years.
The point i’m making is NEVER underestimate the impact you can have and the relationships you can forge with the people that need it.
The power of ‘Father Figures’ and positive role models.
You never know how much being there means to people and how it can have a massive impact and difference on them.
It can be the smallest thing in the world but it has the potential for the greatest impact.
Make a huge difference
Wether that’s now or in years to come.
People you can look up to and rely on
It can show others that THEY. ARE. ENOUGH.
That they CAN be valued and appreciated and most of all loved in any and every possible way.
Never underestimate the power of love and affection.
It really can heal and change peoples lives.
Make them feel valued.
Give them a different perspective and outlook on life and the various situations that arise.
And as a kid, looking back and reflecting, that’s all I wanted, Was to be loved and valued by one person in particular and it never happened.
So as a result if I can stop that toxic thinking from happening to other kids then it really is a no brainer only because those thoughts and feelings I had as a kid manifested themselves into rage and anger which got directed at my mum and others around me.
And it was detrimental, and unnecessary. Because looking back I WAS loved and I WAS valued, I just didn’t realise it at the time.
To all the kids and teenagers out there, Never let the insecurities consume you.
Surround yourself with figures that will inspire you, help you, nurture you, value you and most of all love you.
The father figures I had have
1) Nurtured me and taught me so much about myself
2) Showed me how to value myself and value that I am enough
3) Been great role models and go to people and
4) Showed me love
To finish off
Jace you’ve given me strength, love and hope throughout all these years you’ve been a part of my life.
Hope that I won’t turn out to be like MY father.
Hope that I CAN be so much more than who I used to be.
And because of that, I’ll give you strength, love and hope whenever and wherever you need it
Because I NEVER want you to even think as I did as a kid.
I want you to know that YOU are more than enough
YOU are more than deserving of love and affection and good times and fond memories.
You’re my best friend and I love you