This is a tough one to write, I’ve tried to write it the entire weekend. My earliest memory is me, 6 years old, being dragged out of bed by my ankle and then the spanking started, leather belt, yelling, cussing and craziness. The reason? I was making too much noise with my sheets and I wouldn’t go to bed. The next day I remember being kept home from school and a sleep over I was supposed to go to so no one would see the bruises that covered my back from ankles all the way up to my shoulders. Nothing happened to him, no one stood up for me, my mom saw what was happening (I’m sure the neighbors heard) and did nothing. This kind of thing wasn’t irregular, but then again I don’t think anyone’s childhood is. I remember having fun, every once in a while, but mostly just tried to stay out of the way to avoid him. As I got older it was less physical abuse and much more verbal, shouting, degrading, controlling. I admit I wasn’t the easiest teenager, strong willed women rarely are, but mostly I was just seeking escape from past pain. You see, my dad isn’t a bad person, he’s just an asshole who makes bad choices, who lost his father when he was 15, who has no social skills, a raging uncontrolled temper, irrational thoughts and should quite honestly seek mental and emotional help. He never will though, he believes everyone is out to get him, that he has shitty luck, and that life is awful and hard and joyless. Because of his beliefs, that’s what he’s created. I work really hard every day not to be like him, whether it’s genes or a product of being raised that way, I fight it. I use yoga, wine, and every creative outlet I can get my hands on to let my demons out so my kids don’t suffer the way I did. Some days I win, and we laugh and have fun and some days I lose, I get overwhelmed and lose my temper, I shout and send them to time out. I always try again though, because we’re all human. Over the years I’ve tried being angry with him, that obviously doesn’t serve anyone, I’ve tried pretending he doesn’t exist, I’ve reikied past hurt, I’ve cried, I’ve laughed dismissively over how sad his life must be, but now I’m forgiving. Forgiving his human-ness, forgiving his words, his actions. Ultimately it’s his karma not mine. He gave me the greatest gift in not believing me or supporting me, he gave me a reason to find my own strength, if I had an easy childhood I doubt I would’ve sought yoga, if my gifts hadn’t been questioned or judged would I have even noticed them? So on this Father’s day I get to celebrate, and truly feel joy for the amazing fathers that are around me, My sweet husband who isn’t just a father to Lucy, but a father to my big girls, he cares for them better than their own father could ever imagine to himself. I’m lucky enough to have Jake’s family so I can see what healthy father relationships look like, who knew that people supported their kids interests, had conversations, took pleasant family trips?! I have that now, my kids have that. “I loving release the past and speak only love.” Happy Father’s day to all of those amazing dads present and those no longer with us!