I remember the day I found out my dad wasn’t my biological father. Adults need to be careful what they say around children. My aunt owned a daycare so naturally the whole family attended until grade school. When my younger brother and I (3 years apart) were enrolled in this daycare, another child came to us and told us we had different fathers. I must have argued that entire day with the kids because there was no way he wasn’t my father. He had always been in my life. Besides the occasional rants from my grandmother I had no idea there was another man claiming me as his daughter. After that day it all started to make sense. For many years it made me very sad. I started noticing that I didn’t look like my brother. I felt like an outcast, a bastard.
Why didn’t my biological father want me?
Why didn’t my parents tell me?
Did my dad really want to be my dad or was he just tolerating me?
After finding out there was some other man out there who I looked just like, my grandmothers murmurs became more clear. This so-called father was most consistent with being inconsistent in my life but for some reason my grandmother loved him (that’s for another post on another day). Eventually, I moved literally a few houses down the street from my father and he did not increase participation in my life. Instead, he would get me occasionally and make me sit through painful hours of self praise while proclaiming “you only have one dad” when I would slip up and claim my dad in front of him. Fast-forward to college and he shows up to my dorm in a truck telling me I am going to be a big sister with a woman my age pregnant in the back. Months later, when he finally reappeared, per the usual, he said she miscarried and that he’s glad he “dodged that bullet.” This statement led me asking the following questions the majority of my 20s:
Was I a bullet?
Why did he equate our lives with his death?
Why do I hate this man? Do I hate this man?
Why does this make me so emotional?
Why do I feel so fatherless when there is a man who has never left my side?
Do I really have daddy issues?
So here I am at age 27 and I may not have all the answers but by taking the proper steps to healing I am in a much better space. I can confidently say that I DO NOT HAVE DADDY ISSUES. While my biological father has made many mistakes and was not there, my dad ALWAYS was. One of my favorite childhood memories is when my dad came to get me from my grandmother’s house to go swimming. She yelled and threatened to dial 911 and he took me anyway. I sat on the side of that pool and must have pushed his head under water a million times and he popped back up a million and one more just to make me laugh. One time I had a really bad cold and had a seizure and his face was the first one I saw when he saved my life. I cherish the times he took me out to exercise when my mom complained about my weight. The money he uses to bail me out during trying times. The jokes. The hugs. The tears he has wiped for 27 years and counting. His family. My family. OUR FAMILY. They have never made me feel like an outsider.
To my biological father, I forgive you. I also thank you because had it not been for your absence I may have never been able to experience my dad’s presence. I also know that you have always loved me and I pray for you daily.
Shaina M. Minyard
(or as you will soon know me Nurse Honeybee)