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Having A Dad Again

Rodric writes about his life. Usually, his life stories include his faith in Christ and his love for religion.


Driving on the way to New York, Rochester, New York, my chest thumps with panic! Oh, no. It’s the good kind of panic, panicked excitement! See, my brother and I are driving up from South Georgia for the first time to meet our dad since we were toddlers.

I remember having dreams of a man in the background--soft massaging to my reaching thoughts--but I can not fully grasp his presence. Love came from the presence. I know it was love. I felt it. I want it in my life! I need it.

Mom never speaks anything but superlatives of him, Dad. I wonder why she ever left him? She won’t tell! She keeps saying words like “You'll see when you meet him.”

She tells me, “You look just like yo daddy!” I know it is a compliment from the way her eyes sparkle.

Those thoughts evade me. I don’t know if it is because I am young or not. She’s married now to a goodish man. He tries to be a good dad, but he is not my dad. I want to see him, my dad. Will my eyes sparkle? Will his eyes sparkle, my dad?

“You look like him too,” Mom says to my little brother. “Just like him.”

What if my real dad doesn’t like me?

I was, like, three when we left him. I remember the lights on the freeway as we traveled away. I loved the lights, but I never saw that man, my dad, for years. At 15, I still want my dad. I want to know that he loves me as my mom loves me. I need to know that he won’t give up on me when I get out of hand. Will he accept us, my brother and me?

My mom’s husband said words to me, hard words, bad words. No, I am not his kid. He might love my mom, but my little brother and I are the packages that come with loving her. He yelled at me a few times. I deserved it, but he’s not my dad. He hit me a few times. I don’t think I deserved that. He hit Mom too.

I bet my dad can kick his ass! That’s what I feel. Mom’s husband did not come on the trip. I'm glad. Mom said my dad fought like a mad man in his youth! If he did not win, he'd keep fighting until the other party let him win! I’m not like that. My brother is! What if we don’t get along?

What if my real dad doesn’t like me? What if I’m not up to snuff? Grandma used to dip snuff, so it must have been good. What if I am not worth him dipping into my life?

Not right now… I won’t think about it. I will think about how the car smells like fast food. You know, fries and burgers--not a bad smell either. We just ate. My milkshake is getting less thick. My fries are starting to get cold.


Mom has a smile on her face.

I get to see MY dad! All these years of jealousy of those other kids who have their dads at games and celebrations, will they be swallowed up by one look from him?. My cousins’ dads teach them how to fish and play ball. All I have are uncles and older cousins. Most of them make fun instead of showing me things. Will my dad, our dad fix that for my brother and me?

No, I am pushing the negative feelings down! I will not be angry that my dad was not there when I needed him. I will not blame Mom for not being with my dad, for running away from him and exposing me to all types of men. No! I am going to see my dad for the first time since being a toddler!

Mom has a smile on her face. She claims to still be in love with my dad. We do not say it in front of the husband. We have a code, Mom and me. We know when to talk about certain things. It would be so cool if Mom and my dad would get back together. She is happy when she says his name. He never beat her like her husband did--he changed, though! He hit my mom; so, I hit him. We won’t talk about that right now, though.

The drive is long. I don’t feel it. Beating heat from the summer sun. I don’t feel it. “I’m coming,” I say in my mind to my dad. Excitement rolls through me in waves of giddy! My brother and I feel the same. ...smiling at each other. ...funny faces at each other! We want to see our dad! Being teenagers, we're too old to make faces, too cool! We aren't cool today! Today we are happy!

Scroll to Continue

Waiting is fine. I waited until now.


Meeting Dad

At my sister’s house, we arrived a few minutes ago. Mom came to Rochester to see our sister and her new baby.

...hadn't seen our sister for a long time either. ...used to push me in my stroller. I remember it. She was a teenager, I remember it! I'm an uncle now! That does matter, except--nerves! Our dad said he would drop by.

Waiting is fine. I waited until now. Excitement becomes fear becomes excitement becomes fear...

Will he accept me? Will he accept my brother? Will he really come? Why did Mom leave him? Is he like Mom's husband? Will I need to protect us from him too? Will I see myself and know who I am in his eyes?

In walks an older version of myself after a few knocks on the door. I am taller than him. He is handsome. His smile is genuine. I feel the old familiar love massaging from the back of my skull come to life. Hugs commence. Laughing leaves his jaws rocking, happy laughs.

"You are so big," laughs out his mouth. Accepting tones.

Comparing, my little brother resembles him most! My voice is like his, tenor, fun, manly. My mannerisms are like his, witty, pleasant, unassuming. Our hands seem the same. His hands are large like mine. His feet are large, like mine. Pictures, taken, hellos said, and stories dramatically recalled by the adults, I finally get to say, “It's nice to meet you, Dad.”

Dad's Army Days


© 2021 Rodric Anthony Johnson


Rodric Anthony Johnson (author) from Surprise, Arizona on June 15, 2021:

Brenda, thanks for the encouragement. It was a story from long ago. I love my Dad. You are so right about knowing and accepting "self." It made life so much simpler to know him and see that there was some "him" in me, to aid in that process. Genetics is a fascinating thing when it comes to behavior.

BRENDA ARLEDGE from Washington Court House on June 15, 2021:

I'm so glad you got to meet your natural father after all this time, but please remember you are your own person.

You are strong & you don't need anyone's approval to be yourself.

It seems like your dad is going to be there & that makes me smile.

Your story certainly expresses what it is like for you to take this journey.

Rodric Anthony Johnson (author) from Surprise, Arizona on June 15, 2021:

Yes sir, John. I can remember it like just happened! Bill Hollan had me wanting to follow up with the next part, how the meeting went. I don't think it will be as intense, but I will try it.

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on June 14, 2021:

This was wonderfully written, Rodric, and very nostalgic. It must have been both exciting and a little scary to meet your dad after so long. The emotions shone through.

Rodric Anthony Johnson (author) from Surprise, Arizona on June 13, 2021:

Takako, thanks for your feedback. I want to do another one. I don't know if it will be like the first one. I want to try a different type other than free-flowing poetry. I think rhyming is more challenging to capture a poem based on true events. That picture is beautiful! I found it on the web during a search. It looks just like driving through western New York during the fall. I had to use it! Granted, it is a picture of a country road outside of Metro New York City.

Rodric Anthony Johnson (author) from Surprise, Arizona on June 13, 2021:

Your are welcome, Pam. I wish no evil on the man, who became my mother's ex-husband shortly after I met my dad. He did earnestly try to be a dad to us, but I was too old to want that. I had a dad. My mother's next husband did not try to be my father. I love him for that. Being a dad myself, I cannot imagine not being in my kids' life and some other man taking my place. I hope and pray against such a thing. I love my kids' mom and hope to always be the only pair of parents they have unless one of us dies and remarries.

Rodric Anthony Johnson (author) from Surprise, Arizona on June 13, 2021:

Nell, thinking about how things were back then brought me so much joy! Looking at where I am and see from whence I came helps me to appreciate where I am and where I hope to go.

Rodric Anthony Johnson (author) from Surprise, Arizona on June 13, 2021:

Thanks, Bill. My Dad was awesome! I plan to write more about it. My muse made me go back to when I was a kid to remember my pre-meeting jitters for some reason. I enjoyed remembering.

Takako Komori from Yokohama, Japan on June 13, 2021:

Your emotions leading up to meeting your dad are very well described! It took a while for readers to get to the most important part, when you actually met your dad. As billybuc mentioned, it would be great to know how the rest of your meeting went. the picture of the autumn leaves in the beginning was beautiful, too!

Pam Morris from Atlanta Georgia on June 13, 2021:

What a lovely poem on having a dad again. It was well thought out and put in words. I enjoy reading it. I agree with you no matter how good a man is to a child. If he's not their dad, he just doesn't take his place. A child looks forward to having a dad again. Thank you for sharing a beautiful poem.

Nell Rose from England on June 13, 2021:

How lovely that you got to meet your dad! The past can be so hard, but to get where you are now is the making of you back then. Bless you.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on June 13, 2021:

Well give us more, please. Enough of the foreplay. I want more!!!

Bravo to you for meeting him. I'm looking forward to finding out how the meeting went. I love that you followed through and did this.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on June 13, 2021:

I am so glad you got to meet your dad, and he smiled at you. It sounds like it was a very good time as he accepted you and your brother. Your life has been hard, but you earn from it and trust God as nothing stays the same forever. I do not think any man should hit a woman, so I hope you learn from the also, as it sounds like you have to be the strong one. I pray that God will bless you throughout the rest of your life.

Misbah Sheikh from — This Existence Is Only an Illusion on June 13, 2021:

Although you had a difficult childhood, everything happens for a reason. I am confident that the upheaval and sadness you witnessed and felt as a child will never be repeated in your children. You must have learned a lot. I'm glad you were finally able to meet your father and that he accepted you. My father is my superhero, so I've always imagined fathers as superheroes to their daughters. I wish God to Bless you with all the happiness and goodness that you deserve and desire. Amen!! Life is too short to be sad. Live it to the fullest.

Blessings and Peace!!

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