A Journey of Healing from the Pain of a Father's Rejection
by Dina Washington
Teddy was a father, but not a parent
Life without a father’s presence seen through the eyes and heart of a girl who longed to be a daughter.
Dina Washington’s father was simply never there. He didn’t want her when she was born and his first reaction when he saw her was to actually reject the week-old girl with a slap. Throughout her life, on the rare occasions when they met, she was proper and respectful and he was drunk and critical. Every meeting started with hope but every word and action shattered her dreams of having a “daddy” into smaller and smaller pieces.
The honesty and openness with which Dina shares her story helps anyone who has grown up with a parent who has been unavailable, either physically or emotionally. Each of her recollections concludes with a letter to her father, baring her thoughts and feelings so we can understand and benefit from her experience.
The evolution of how Dina views her father over time is reflected in the way she starts her letters. Initially it’s “Dear Daddy.” Then just “Daddy.” In her teens it becomes, “Teddy.” And, finally, she simply writes “To My Father.” However, there is never a sense of victimness. Instead, this progression describes a woman coming to grips with a reality in her life and expanding in understanding of what it has meant to grow up with memories of a father who neglected her from birth.
Rather than a sad tale, this is a positive reflection of a strong, confident woman who hopes her story will help people who are unaware of just how important it is to be present for their children.