Father’s Day as a Care Leaver, and Why It Sucks

So, every year, the shops and the internet burst out into the world proclaiming that it’s time to celebrate all the fathers out there in the world, with cards, gifts and special days out to celebrate all things paternal.

As someone who didn’t have a father growing up, or indeed, any proper parental influence for that matter, it’s a day that I always dread.

Every time I see a Facebook status, Instagram image or tweet from a friend gushing about the amazing relationship they have with their father, it feels like a kick in the teeth. I spend all my time in the shops or town with my eyes firmly trained to the pavement so I won’t be bombarded with front window displays celebrating all things Father’s Day.

You could argue that people who have lost their fathers, or are estranged from their fathers won’t have it easy tomorrow either. And I won’t deny that at all.

But as someone who didn’t choose to not have my father in my life, it really sucks.

Every day I’m reminded of what I could of had growing up. When I see families in town shopping, or having a lovely day out in the play park. Seeing the wonderful relationship Matt has with both of his parents, who love and support him no matter what. Even friends bitching about how annoying their parents can be sometimes when they might not get their own way, or misunderstand something they feel is important.

Sure, I had my foster mother. I adore her so much, she was the one who was fundamental in getting me to where I am today, and I’m always going to be so grateful to her.

But it’ll never really be the same.

I last saw my biological father when I was nine years old. My half brother was still a tiny baby at the time, and my father came to visit me whilst I was visiting Cadbury World with a fostering group. My sister had come with me.  I remember that he was very tall, had bright blue eyes and wore a leather jacket and rode a motorcycle. I was allowed to sit on his shoulders for ages, and pretend I was a giant. He promised that I could stay with him and his then wife for a few weeks in the summer.

But I never saw him again.

And I guess every year, when Father’s Day comes around, that’s what I remember. That wound gets reopened, and it still stings.

I often wonder if he thinks about me, wonders what I’m up to, who I’ve grown up to be. Does he look for me online? It’s not like I hide my existence from the world.

So, as someone who was abandoned, forgotten and ignored, for no reason other than for his own convenience, as a little girl with nowhere else to turn, I pretend Father’s Day doesn’t exist. I’ve never acknowledged it as an adult, and will continue to do so until I have children of my own, and for them to have a father to share it with.

Tomorrow I’m meeting Matt for ice cream, which will be lovely, so I guess I can forget the sadness of the day for me.

But it doesn’t mean that I still won’t be hurting.

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