- Posted June 17, 2012 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
What makes your Father's Day special?
Father's Day - To All Fathers a Wish for a Happy Day!
Today throughout the US of A, we take time to honor those men who are responsible for giving us life. Today, we say, "Happy Father's Day!"
Yet it seems that what is sad on this day set aside to honor fathers, is that fathers have been relegated to a 2nd class status in comparison to mothers. Fathers are more seen as a paycheck and sperm donor and less as an integral part in a child's life and development.
Why is there such disregard for a father's place in society, in a child's life and development?
Are fathers needed in this age of science when ovum fertilization can take place in a labratory?
So are my thoughts as I sit here in Mark's Den. I am a father and grandfather, but often feel as if I have no role in the lives of my sons.
With my oldest son, Dave, I did not have a place or role until he was 25 years of age. His mother made sure that I did not lay eyes on my son or know his whereabouts in keeping with a vow she made before he was born.
I remember that day well. It was October 31, 1978.
At the time I was in the Air Force. We had been married for almost 6 months. I had gone to work sick. I checked in at the infirmary. I literally was bouncing from wall to wall to make it to a hospital bed to lay down.
I called my then-wife to come and pick me up and bring me home. I was so sick. A little over 2 hours later she arrived to take me back to our house in Peru, Indiana, a few miles from Grissom Air Force Base where I was stationed.
She had just been honorably discharged from the Air Force as her option for being pregnant. As she picked me up, I was bowed over in the passenger seat, unable to lift my head from the illness. As we drove back to our house, she informed me her mother and sister had arrived. The three of them had packed up everything and she was leaving me.
I stumbled into the house both in shock and so sick, so very sick. I managed to make it to the bedroom, falling on the bed and passing out. Several hours later I finally woke. The house was deadly quiet. On the pillow next to me was a note.
The note stated that she didn't love me, never had and had been with me to get pregnant and get out of the Air Force. But what hit me the hardest was how she wrote that I would never see my unborn child. I would never have a part in that child's life.
She kept her vow for over 25 years. I searched and searched, but to no avail until Dave was 13. She finally let me know where they were, but only to get more child support.
At our divorce hearing, the judge gave me an option since she failed to appear. I had the option of the judge granting me custody or keeping custody with the mother. I chose the latter after the judge informed me that a custody order to me would be just paper and no other state would honor it.
At that time, fathers had next to no rights. It was presumed by courts at the time, the child was always better with the mother. Fathers had no place.
When Dave was 13, there was a new child support hearing. His mother and grandmother made the trip from North Carolina to Indiana. She did not bring Dave with her.
I began correspondence with Dave. That lasted a couple of months until the day I received a letter back telling me that there was no such person at the address I had.
I learned later that his mother had a friend of her's in the base post office to send one of Dave's letters to me sent back to him with return to sender as well. She used that ruse to cut off ties yet again.
Then there was that evening when Dave was 25 that we connected online. First Dave connected with my youngest son, Kev, his brother.
After a couple of weeks talking online, Kev and I traveled to Indianapolis to meet for the first time Dave and his wife, Anna. Turns out that Dave had always been looking for me as well. He had met Anna online and moved to Indianapolis to later marry her.
Dave had returned to the state he was conceived and in which I and his brother lived.
That Father's Day was the most joyous of my life. I had both of my sons at last.
Now I sit here 8 years later. Dave is now 33 and father of my beautiful granddaughter, Dylan, and another granddaughter on the way, due September 12. He and his family still live in Indianapolis about 100 miles from the Cornfield.
Kev is married and coming upon his 2-year anniversary in July. He and his wife, Hailey, live in Austin, Texas about 1,000 miles from the Cornfield.
Although I was unable to be a father to Dave growing up, I never stopped loving or thinking of him. With Kev, although his mother and I divorced, I was able to play a role in his life.
No matter the rough times, the disappointments, the depressive ups and downs, it was all worth it to be able to proudly say, "Those are my sons."
I have no greater joy than seeing my sons now grown into men with families of their own. My sons have made and make my life worthwhile.
While society may still see fathers as 2nd class...my sons affirm to me that I am world class.