DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: When I was five my mother booted my father out of our house. My parents were never married, only together for a real long time.
My father and his brother were into crack and I remember my mother and him screaming at each over his addiction and what he was starting to do to feed it. I can still remember the final fight they had that ended with my mother telling him to clear out and go to hell.
My father didn’t last two months away from us. We heard about one OD he survived. The second one he didn’t.
My last memory of my father was at his visitation. My grandmother and grandfather were crying, and my aunt had to be taken home by her husband because she was so upset. I remember my mother crying too, and my grandmother getting in her face and saying to her my father would still be alive if she hadn’t kicked him out on the street.
It is one of the worst memories of my life, and now that my wife and I are expecting our first child, it all keeps coming back to me.
Worst of all is how it makes me worry about what kind of father I will be. I don’t do drugs and only drink when out with friends, so I don’t worry about that.
I just have this idea of fatherhood tied up in my experience of my father. My mother never did marry, although she did have men in her life, but none for long enough to take the place of my father.
I know my father’s early death still gets to me, and I have nightmares about not being there for my son the way my father was never there for me.
Do you think it is normal to feel like this? --- SCARED FOR THE FUTURE
DEAR SCARED FOR THE FUTURE: You’re not your father, that’s the first thing to remember.
Next up, I think it’s safe to say that nearly every parent has, at some point or another, had thoughts of the absolute terror of not being there for their child. If you ask your wife, you may hear how she fears the same thing.
You and your wife are facing the biggest, hardest, and best job you’ll ever have. Don’t be reluctant to reach out to professionals and personal connections to get some guidance and perspective on how best to tackle it.
In time, you’ll find your own way, but everyone could use a little help figuring things out, at least in the beginning.