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Tef & me

Tef & me in D.C. about 1985

Today is Father’s Day and it is too late for me to wish my father a good day. He died some 10 years ago and we were at the time as they say “estranged.” I had not seen or talked to him since I turned 21, newly married and with the all-knowing capacity of young men I thought I was right in blaming him for my condition and thus excluding him from my adult life.

For over 35 years I kept him an unspoken piece of my life and because of that he never had a chance to meet my daughter, nor her the chance to know her grandfather. I took that from her without knowing the real cost. Only too late did I finally learn that he was not to blame for my being the “way” I was. Of course my daughter did not know of my problem because I kept that part of me will well hidden.

So my father (and mother) died without knowing the real me. I never gave them the chance to show that they might have had unconditional love for me. But I have given my daughter that chance and though it has been a tough road, she keeps me in her life. I know I can never understand the trauma I put her through, “losing” her father the way she did as I finally had to come out from behind my façade. I know Father’s Day is not easy for her anymore. What do you call someone who no longer looks like your father? Whose name and life are totally changed? I suspect she wonders if people would stare if she called me Dad in public places. Would I be embarrassed? Would she? I go with the flow and answer to “D”. I am overjoyed just to hear her voice and know she loves me. I look forward to being “Bubba” (my favorite grandmother’s nick-name) to my soon-to-arrive granddaughter.

I am a lucky father, and I hope all the transgender fathers out there had a good day too.