By Lana Moline
When I was 11 months old, my father died of a rare disorder, myasthenia gravis. My siblings were 8 and 6 at the time and my mother became a widow at a very early age just a decade into their marriage. Needless to say that’s not quite the stats that anyone wants to register.
I don’t quite recall how I felt about this when I was a lot younger because I had the privilege of uncles, cousins and an older brother who would have moved heaven and earth if I asked him. So I did not spend years of my life searching for love or trying to understand male love because quite honestly, love was all around me. There was a void, however, and I didn’t truly notice it until I got married. You see the thing is, I didn’t always feel safe and secure.
A few years ago I was holding a conversation with my husband about the kids and their fears. I shared with him that one of the things that brings me crazy joy is watching my daughters try just about anything because they believe that no matter what, Daddy will be there to rescue them. In their minds, they know that I will be there to comfort but they look to their father for the security in knowing that Daddy is strong enough to protect them from danger. As we spoke, I realized that security was something that I gathered and learned, not something I simply felt.
I thought about all the years prior to getting married when my brother, sister, mother and I lived together a part of me felt afraid sometimes and I couldn’t quite pinpoint why. It wasn’t until I saw the confidence that my daughters and my son for that matter display that comes from the love of a father that I was able to identify the void. Sure, my brother tried to step up and offer what he could but he as well longed for my dad.
So now, 4 decades later, I still wonder what it’s like to sit on my dad’s lap and tell him about my day at school. I can’t help but think about whether my life would have turned out differently had he been alive. Would I have had the confidence to try something amazingly different? Who knows? But what I do know is that his memory is with me every single day and in every decision that I make. From all accounts, he was a beautiful person, a straight shooter who never claimed to be perfect but loved his family unconditionally.
Nevertheless, I am grateful. For me, there was still a blessing in not having that picture perfect childhood with a mommy and daddy. That blessing causes me to strive very hard to make sure that my home life is healthy, peaceful and nurturing. I make sure to give my husband the space he needs to carve his own relationship with our kids and I relish the times when he is cuddled up with them. I imagine the joy I feel watching it is a reflection of their joy and that fills my void. So ultimately, my heavenly Father allowed me to see through the death of my father how important a father is to his children. It pushed me to truly connect to my roles as wife in mother in ways that I never considered before and gave me perspective on who I truly am. All I can say is “thank you!”
Lana Moline is an integral part of the Blackloveandmarriage.com writing team, freelance writer and poet who lives in Ft. Worth with her three kids and husband Emile. Married 11 years, both media professionals have vowed to maintain integrity in all aspects of print and broadcast journalism.Visit her at Lana Moline Speaks.