This is actually Doug, a guy I don't know all that well. In fact, this is one of the only pictures I have of Doug, standing next to something he lovingly restored with his own hands. He is so full of pride and love. His baby. Doug is no ZZ Top, you see. He's just my dad.
I've mentioned my dad before. The one who left when I was two, showed up again in my life at 19, and hasn't been back since. I'm 35 now (in case you're counting). He calls every few years to tell me he thinks of me often, but his words have never been worth anything, certainly never made of action. He is daughter less guy. I am his fatherless girl.
Yesterday, I met Doug's brother for the first time. Great guy. He's been married to his wife for 40 years with four children and many grandchildren. He's also a minister. He glowed when he talked about his faith and his family. There were some tears, too.
He cried when he talked about the abuse that he and his four siblings, including Doug, endured at the hands of their step-father after being abandoned by their real father. He spoke of a mother incapable of affection and love. Extreme poverty. No second changes. Hurt, that for years, has gone unhealed in many of them.
I listened. I soaked it all in. I looked at family photos, including this one he gave me of Doug. I only cried once during our visit. It was when he was talking about how he didn't love or hate his own dad, who would come in and out of his life. He mainly felt nothing. I cried because I felt nothing, too. It makes you sad to have that hole in your heart for someone you should love, but simply don't.
It was a tough day yesterday. But it was also good. For the first time, I was able to hear a solid reason why my dad may not have been able to show up to be my dad. It's more than just not knowing how. He may not be capable. And then, even better, I meet someone full of love and warmth that learned to love despite being unloved. It means there is hope for me, too. Hope for us all. The cycle can be broken.
I like this photo. I really do. It makes me laugh to think my dad could really be ZZ Top instead of what he really is. I'm glad he's found something he loves. I have to.