Seven years ago, I was standing in a Hallmark store choosing a Father’s Day card, tears running down my face. It was the first time in my life I had gotten to visit that section of the store, where the cards read: “To My Dad”.
Until I was 39 years old, I had lived with the fact that I had no father. I knew that was biologically impossible, but I was told not to ask about my real father, and never to tell anyone my real name. Growing up, my mother gave me the last name Holmes, but it was a lie. That was the name of her boyfriend, who was basically a stepfather to me for the five years he and my mom were together. Gene Holmes was a good and kind man, but unfortunately, he was a short chapter in my life. The truth is…I am not a Holmes, I am not a Dexter.
Today I’d like to introduce you to the real me.
Hello, my name is Hollye Fisher. I am the daughter of Ted Fisher, a hard working man, a Baptist preacher who teaches bible study at the Second Baptist Church of Galena Park. My father is an oil painter, a gardener, a recovering addict, an ex-con and a huge sports fan. He reads the newspaper, the bible, and loves his family above all else. He is human and flawed, with an enormous loving heart. I have never heard him say an unkind word about anyone – ever. I have never heard him swear. You’ve heard of people who would give the shirt off their back? He recently gave his cell phone to a young couple who were struggling financially, and still pays the bill. That pretty much sums him up. Although my father was only present for the first three years of my life, he still left his imprint upon me. It is from him that I got my heart.
Although we’ve built a loving relationship, this year I found myself stuck in that Father’s Day section of the card store. There are no Hallmark sentiments that encapsulate the complicated relationship and history I have with my father (and I suspect that I’m not the only one.) Considering that he spent the majority of my childhood in prison, ours was not a Father Knows Best scenario. But he is the man who brought me into the world and set me on my unique path. I carry his blood, his genes, the fallout from his damages, and his history. I no longer struggle against that fact, I embrace it, and am grateful for all of it.
I feel that is an important thing to reflect upon and honor today. We are our father’s children, for better or worse. We carry their legacy in our very bones. What we do with it is up to us.
Today I not only honor my father, but I honor myself in claiming the truth of who I am, and who I come from. It is with deep gratitude that I say:
Thank you Dad, for ushering me into this crazy world, and for all the love, blessings and insanity you have handed down.
Now why can’t I find a Hallmark card like that?