Father’s Day has been an odd day for me through the years as I’m sure that there are many others who could say the same. I was fortunate to have 2 fathers. I didn’t get to share this love until later in life but there were only a few brief years I didn’t have a “father” with me and even then I lived with my grandfather who played the father figure role.
When I was adopted at the age of 11 I had no contact with my biological father for around 5 years or so at this point but I wanted to keep my birth name for some reason. I was proud to be a Junior of a man I had yet to know. I heard good and bad stories from family and even fictional stories from my mentally ill biological mother through the years.
After a year or so of settling in with my new parents I celebrated Father’s Day with my new dad I called by his first name Bill. He raised me trying to be the best father he could and did a decent job despite my already wacky ways. He wasn’t the type to celebrate holidays much Father’s Day wasn’t a big deal. We’d have a more formal meal or go out to eat and I’d get him something but as I got older all it came and went.
In my 20s my biological father came back into my life. It took a couple years to drop our baggage and become friends and it was worth it. Then I had 2 dads. Some years I divided my time and other years I neglected my real father. I give him a lot of credit for hanging in there with me. I haven’t been the best son to him but he tried to be the best father. We’ve been building since. We started slowly but eventually started getting together once a week and did lunch and we kept with it until we both were broke and changed it to once a month and we still get together.
Meanwhile my adopted father was getting sick on and off from 2006 or 7 to 2009 when he finally died. I moved in with my adopted mother and him early 2009 and he died June 19th 2009. I became closer to him than ever before he died and take comfort knowing him better.
I still hung out with my biological father and every year I begin to appreciate him as a father. This past May he took me to Atlantic City for my birthday because it was the closest town with a Hooters. We used to go to Hooters every Monday for luck for over 2 years. Maybe 2. We walked the boardwalk and even the beach that day and I had a lot of fun. We were both relaxed and enjoyed ourselves. I realized later that I was subconsciously reliving my early childhood bonding with my dad at one of the beaches he actually took me too as a kid.
I realized I don’t give him enough credit as a father and all he has done for me through the years since reconnected.
We’re getting together on Tuesday June 19 for lunch to celebrate father’s Day. I realized later that it was the 3-year anniversary of my adopted dad Bill’s death. I think it’s appropriate. They were both great Fathers. Rich Hillen Sr is the underrated one and it’s time to give back whatever I can and be a son.
Happy Father’s Day.