Thoughts by Richard Bleil
Today (as I write this post) is “National Daughter Day.” Many of my friends are posting pictures and comments about their myriad of daughters (and in some cases granddaughters), and although it’s not their intention, as I see them, it kind of hits me hard.
I’ve always wanted to be a father, but, as I’ve said before, I’m too old. There comes a moment when you’ve been as lonely and single as long as I have that you just realize that it’s too late. I’m too old to find somebody, and if I did, it’s certainly too late to become a father. So, I look at these pictures of children, and wonder what I would have been like if, well, just, if.
I would like to think that I would have been a good father. My own father was rigid, critical, unsupportive and frankly uninvolved. I think about how I would love to spend time with my children, teaching them how to throw, supporting their dreams, teaching them to believe in themselves.
Religion is a point I’ve often thought about. I’m very spiritual, but unaffiliated with a church or faith. I often thought of this as an advantage. I believe the structure of a religion is good for raising a child, but to a point. Because I’m unaffiliated, I would have been able to adapt the religion of my wife, something that we can bring our children into, but on the flip side, I also wanted to teach them to think critically and be true to their own beliefs. Even now, without children, I have a little spiritual center in my house, filled with items of various faiths and beliefs, and before I sold my library, I even had the books of a variety of religions. I thought it would be nice to learn about various beliefs around the world with them, look for the common threads between them, and teach my children to not just respect various faiths, but also to consider if there’s something out there that better fits their own views of the world.
On my social media page, I wrote, “Today is apparently daughters’ day, which has me thinking about my daughters, never born, always wanted. I wish I could have known you.” I wonder if parents of daughters ever think like this. I have no daughters, so I think it’s natural for me to wonder what my children would have been like. My friends who have children (both daughters and sons) know what they are like. They’ve seen them, they’ve watched them grow, they’ve held their children in their arms, something I’ve always been denied. Never will I know what my progeny will look like, what they will sound like, what they will enjoy, what they will fear. All I can do is wonder, and the wondering brings to light the hole in my heart left unfulfilled.
As I’m writing this, it’s sounding whiney. That’s not my intention. My life is what it is, and that I’m alone is nobody’s fault but my own. I accept that, but I also want people to know that there are those like me who hurt. We have missing pieces in our life, and yes, we feel this loss deeply. And if my readers feel as I do, you’re not alone. We’re in this together.
It happens in so many holidays. This time it’s not even really a holiday, just a day to celebrate daughters. I often complain how I hate Christmas, but I don’t. Not really. I hate spending Christmas alone, and when I see happy families and children, it’s just a constant reminder of how I’m alone. It’s hard to feign happiness for those around us when we feel so small and insignificant, so, yes, on holidays, I hide in my house. I stay away from everybody and anybody, especially those who I love and who care about me because I don’t want my darkness to taint their holidays. These holidays should be for families like those I always wanted but will never have. So, I want my friends and loved ones to enjoy them, and the best chance for that to happen is without me.
So happy daughter’s day. I hope that my readers never know the emptiness that I do, and for those who do, I’m so sorry for you. You’re not nearly as alone as I feel I am today, and I want you to know that I, for one, understand. For what it’s worth.