Guest post by Darren Beggs from Bearded With Boys
Father’s Day is usually a bit of a bittersweet day for me… on one hand, I am a dad to 2 of the most amazing boys and on the other hand, I don’t have my dad around to celebrate with.
My dad passed away 12 years ago, after battling an addiction with alcohol.
Struggling with emotions
Over the last week or so, in the build-up to Father’s Day, I have been struggling with my emotions. The boys want to buy me gifts and make a fuss of me, but I have been thinking that I don’t deserve all the fuss.
When my dad was alive, I rarely made a massive deal about Father’s Day. I’m sure that there were years when I didn’t even see him on Father’s Day or even buy him a card. So, why should I be getting anything from my boys?
My head has been all over the place. I’ve been thinking that maybe if I had put more effort into my relationship with my dad, he might have found it easier to fight his addiction or perhaps he wouldn’t even have had an addiction in the first place. The funny thing is, I know that all these “what ifs” don’t mean anything and won’t change the past.
I have worked with men who are struggling with addiction for the same amount of time that my dad has passed. I know the reasons why people struggle with addiction, why they continue to use alcohol or drugs and how they can overcome their addictions. But that doesn’t stop me thinking, what if I did this or what if I had done that.
I wouldn’t say that my relationship with my dad was bad, but I know that it could have been better. He was never aggressive or violent towards me. He was probably one of the softest men I have ever known. This always makes me wonder why I didn’t put more effort in when I was younger. Maybe it was because I was a child & we lived in a different town. I can’t be sure. The problem now is, since I have become a dad myself, I know the joy, and sometimes the pain, that the boys bring me. It makes me look back and think “what if…?”
This week, I have been really grumpy and easy to anger, because of all these emotions. I have been cross with the boys, I’ve been giving my wife the brush off anytime she mentions Father’s Day, all because I feel like I don’t deserve the fuss.
So, after finally talking to my wife about where my head has been at recently, I have come to realise something. By trying to deny the boys the opportunity to make a fuss of me, I am denying them the very thing I regret not doing with my dad on Father’s Day.
Living in the present
Looking back on the past and wondering “what if,” will only ever wreck your mind and play havoc with your emotions and will probably even make you unbearable to live with. So, from now on, I am going to try and right my past wrongs with my future relationships with my wife & kids. I am also going to try and focus my thoughts on the positive memories I have of my dad. I still need to learn to talk to my wife, as soon as possible about how I am feeling, instead of letting my thoughts fester to the point when they come gushing out in an emotion-filled cryfest.
To all the dads, let your kids make that fuss of you, because if they feel like you deserve it then you must do.
Happy Father’s Day Dad, I miss you and love you. My present to you is to focus on my boys and not focus on the past.