With Father’s Day fast approaching, DadsRT will feature a selection of odes to dads but not all of us had perfect fathers. In the pursuit of balance, some of our tales of dad will portray the mistakes of our fathers in hopes to provide an example of either what not to do or how to use the pain of our past to strengthen our futures.
This Father’s Day story comes to you from Tracy at Momaical. You can find her on Twitter and on Facebook where she describes herself as a Mom trying to raise children, clean, cook healthy food, taxi from here to Harlem and back, and have an intelligent conversation with someone other than a cashier while trying to fit into her jeans and locate her cell phone.
Well, this is not a tale reminiscent of the Waltons. But, here it is…
My parents divorced when I was 5 years old. It was acerbic and my earliest childhood memories are of screaming, a glass door smashing and a lot of crying. Suddenly daddy was going to live somewhere else and my brother, mother and I were moving to a state several hours away. It was stressful because I became the carrier pigeons between hateful parents. “Tell your FATHER that you need new shoes.” “Tell your MOTHER that I pay her child support for shoes.”
My dad picked us up every other weekend as per the custody agreement. I was Daddy’s little girl and loved him ridiculously. He was fun, funny and allowed me to eat all the marshmallows out of the box of Lucky Charms. Our time together was precious and cherished…until he married a woman girl few years older than me. Oh, how she HATED MY GUTS and I hers. It no longer was fun to spend time with my dad. It was always “make your stepmother happy” and “I know you’re daddy’s little girl but I’m his WIFE and don’t you forget it, you little b^*#h.” It got worse as I aged.
The time came for me to apply for college. Dad had always promised if I got into a good school that he would pay for half of it. When I got into Syracuse University, his response was “I hope you got a scholarship because I’m not paying.” Wait, what? That wasn’t the deal. When I tried to discuss this, his response was “The day you turn 18, I don’t owe you ANYTHING.”
My mom decided it was time to get the child support increased for my brother – as I was turning 18 shortly. I went to court to see how everything played out. The court decided to increase the support, my father informed me that I was no longer to speak to him. He actually said the words “You are dead to me.” As if that wasn’t bad enough – he started writing “Parasite” on the checks to my mother.
I didn’t speak to him again for many, many years. I didn’t know if I ever would again. It was the birth of my daughter is what opened up the lines of communication again between us. I decided that she deserved to have a relationship with her grandfather – even if I didn’t. She was allowed to dictate the terms of her relationship with him – and he is really trying to make up for lost time. And things have been actually ok. The fact that I didn’t speak to him in 15 years has never once been discussed, just kind of moved past. He’s still married to the witch. She still does not like me (and, the feeling is still mutual). But, he’s making an effort to be a part of my girl’s lives. When I see him interact with them it brings me back to a very happy time in my life – a childhood full of amusement parks, laughter, singing and silliness.
We now live on the other side of the country from him – so the effort really needs to be exerted for him to spend time with my girls. And if it wanes – I can fault distance as opposed to convenience. The damage from the hurtful words will never be totally healed, but for the sake of my girls it is buried deep down inside me. My girls deserve a life surrounded by people who envelope them in love – not weighed down with emotional baggage from their parents. Which makes us a little more Waltons-esque right?
Good night John-Boy…Good riddance wicked step witch…