Sunday is Father's Day. Rather than marking it with declarations about why our fathers are the greatest, or how-to guides on buying Dad the best ties or tools, Yahoo News solicited first-person anecdotes about the contentious or disagreeable moments we've had with our fathers. Here's one reader's story.
FIRST PERSON | Though my father influenced my progression more than anyone, the journey that led me to fatherhood was not one my own father easily accepted. As a result of that struggle, the wounds from an earlier point in our relationship were real. Too many words in anger were uttered, while expressions of healing were withheld.
In fact, I wondered if these injuries would cicatrize for us to enjoy the new roles of parent and grandparent that entered our lives. Through the healing power of time and forgiveness, my father and I indeed learned that strong bonds can withstand even the most trying of circumstances.
Slightly more than a decade ago, and only months after completing the task of surviving law school and becoming an attorney, I informed my dad, Tom, that another challenge had entered life. While he expected me to concentrate on the rewards of career achievement, I was busily planning a family in my mid 20s. With news that my girlfriend, Dana, was pregnant, I proposed marriage to the woman I loved. We awaited parenthood while hastily planning a wedding, and we informed everyone only after those decisions were made.
As my father's oldest child, this was not the scenario he had envisioned, and he let me know it with harsh words. In fact, we went weeks without speaking, just when I needed him the most.
This was not the playbook my now-67-year-old father had followed, as he lived life conservatively and made every move by the book. Dad wanted me to get my finances in order, live according to prototypical planning, and prepare for marriage with plenty of patience. More succinctly, he believed that student loans and long hours at the office would soon damper my happiness. In his mind, the chance of marital success was bleak, and Dad bet against us.
Yet, those same challenges did not deter me. I focused with laser-like precision on the approaching wedding and fatherhood that would follow. Placing those roles above all others, I confronted my dad with sincere disappointment that he would not support my decision.
You see, my mother had passed away 12 years earlier, when my brother and I were still young. I then witnessed my father overcome his grief in order to dedicate his own life to raising his children. I simply did not understand why he could not empathize with my desire to do the same. And that hurt.
Dad attended the wedding, but it felt as if a ghost were in present. He did not allow himself to enjoy the moment. I will always wish that day was fully jubilant, as it should have been.
However, I did not dwell on regret because I was now married, and needed to concentrate on that. As the days until my daughter's birth dwindled, so too did any animosity with my father dissipate. I realized Dad was enthused about being a new grandfather and that excitement created opportunity for him to believe in me once again.
When my daughter, Anna, was born, I relinquished the hard feelings from this rocky patch in our relationship, and I believe he did too.
Though the circumstances did not occur ideally, life's script played out sufficiently in the end. Dana and I are still happily married and are now parents to three wonderful children.
And you know what? Tom Briscoe is a pretty darn good grandpa, as well. I am very glad that a loving father-and-son relationship cannot be easily undone, even by difficult times.
Father of three rambunctious and loveable kids, Jeff Briscoe is an attorney and writer from Port Charlotte, Fla.
- Family & Relationships