Friday, June 27, 2008

Like a pin in the hem of my pants. Still holding up in place, but it keeps poking at me. Reminding me. It's still there.

The question I have been avoiding from JC came up this morning during breakfast...

“If Grandpa T is your step-dad, do you still have a real dad?”

Well. Yes, yes I do....

You see, it's been about 4 ½ years since I've spoken to my father. The final days of our relationship had revolved around the death of my grandmother, a long standing family feud and a wit bit of crazy on his part. Me?To sum it up, I was stuck in the middle and finally realized I was done letting my father disappoint me. I haven't seen or heard from him since. It was my choice to never speak to him and retreat from that paternal side of the family and I remain mostly satisfied about my decision. On the other hand it makes me feel so empty , unresolved and broken.

Now? After having the thought of him trickle into my morning, HUGE waves of emotions are flooding back as JC continued to me about my “real” Dad. Reassuring him that yes, he was alive. (Saying that, admitting he was alive, knowing that this man is missing out on the best grandchild's life ever ,was heart breaking.) Honestly? JC has no recollection of ever meeting him. Clueless that his mommy looks so much like this man, he doesn't recall meeting, unknowing that he even had another grandfather.Did I make the right decision in keeping JC and my family away?

So, before we left for the morning I pulled out his birth photos and showed him my father. A photo of the both of them, with my Dad beaming with pride and joy, staring at his first born grandson. Reassuring JC that this unknown man truly loved him with all of his heart, my little man moved on with his day. Me...I tried.

I'm a product of a typical divorced family. Raised by a single mother with multiple jobs, occasional unreliable visits from non-paying father and constant pleads to be noticed. All I wanted was my father to notice me. This man, my father, had no idea that I worshiped the ground he walked on and constantly tried to please him. I tried to be the athlete, I tried to be funny, I tried to be good, I tried so hard. So very hard for him to take notice that I was important enough to actually show up on the weekends (that he had promised to). Instead all I got was waiting at the doors for him for hours. Crying, (why was I not good enough?)

As I grew older, I had friends and didn't mind not seeing him. When his life had some bit of stability in it, he and I became much closer. I actually think he enjoyed me and the time we spent together. There were long motorcycle rides, trips, dinners and bonding. Finally, I felt like I had a dad, not just a weekend joke or a holiday stop to make.

Obviously there were up and downs, mostly on his part his “growing and changing” and his varying years of “stability”. So there are happy memories and hurtful memories full of child hood disappointment. My father was a creative man, a talented man and I spent hours watching him paint signs. To this day, when I smell paint thinner or paint I think of him. Those were boring times back then, watching paint dry, but those are the times I hold on to and miss. Watching paint dry, amazed by his creativity, proud to have my daddy...

Then back in 2004 (I think) in the hospital over my dying grandmother, while in a paranoid state,he accused me of taking sides with his sister and I saw evil and hatred in his eyes that I had never seen, all while he sat and screamed at me. The man I adored with all my heart was screaming at me, dragging me through a family feud instead of protecting me, his first born. My body went numb, I felt sick and at that moment I decided I was never going to let him emotionally hurt me anymore. The last thing I said to him was “thank you for the sperm, you'll never see me or your grandson again, rot in hell”.

I never looked back. To say that I am disappointed and hurt by him is an understatement (obviously). At one point in life I suppose it's better to stop letting people hurt you emotionally and cut ties rather than having them scar you more. Until now, I can't say that I truly believe that, is it better? I hurt. I hurt because I feel I have unfinished business to take care of. Like a pin left in the hem of my pants. Still holding up and together, but it keeps poking me, reminding me to take care of it one day.

Now after having JC ask about him, I can't stop thinking about the past. Everyday I wonder if he thinks about me, my sister, JC and our lives without him. Secretly wishing he feels the pain we've had to carry for all these years. Bastard. Yeah, I think I made the better choice, but I suppose there will always be doubt.


iheartchocolate said...

I am so sorry. My daughter never knew her father, that is until last year. He turned out to be an even bigger loser than he was when I knew him. Poor girl, she thought he was going to be her superman. I wonder if she will ever recover. I hate that I had any part in doing that to her. I hate it.

I am so sorry about your pain.

Not Just Any Jen said...

I am so sorry that you are hurting right now, and unfortunately I can understand every bit of it coming from a divorced family with a very disappointing father, never feeling good enough either.

I vow to never hurt my children in anyway similar, but also I sometimes feel guilty for being so tough on them. I haven't spoken to my mom in what seems like too long, so I totally know that relenting nagging feeling everyday. I don't know what is best, but I hope you can find some peace. Letting him back would cause you to let the emotional abuse continue. You have to do what is best for you.

Not Just Any Jen said...

Just to clarify, tough on them- I meant tough on my parents. I hope I never suffer a broken relationship with my own. That would kill me.

Anonymous said...

My twin sister "divorced" our family 17 years ago because she was unhappy with her life and needed people to blame for her unhappiness. She wrote hate letters to my parents and to me, telling us all of the ways we damaged her life. The whole thing was extremely hurtful, as you can imagine. Eventually our fraught emotions healed. Then, this past April, she just popped back into our lives. For 5 1/2 weeks she went about quietly dumping on my grown children and others, and dumping on my parents about me (their other daughter), with the very same story about how she was totally the victim (we had so hoped she had come back to apologize). Finally, when my mother's blood pressure became constantly out of control, my father called my sister and told her that their relationship with her had to be permanently severed, because there had been nothing but turmoil since she re-entered the picture, and it simply couldn't go on. My kids were shocked (obviously since they were too young to know what really went on 17 years ago and during our childhood, they had no idea how serious the situation was). I was so proud of my father--he had never made such a bold decision; he's a very quiet man. My sister had her chance; it's amazing to me that she hadn't changed at all in 17 years, and that her account of our childhood was so entirely different than what my parents and I remembered (she claimed it was horrible, while I remember having a very close, loving relationship with her and our family). I think she will continue to be consumed with herself and her woes for the rest of her life, but it didn't have to be that way.

You also were in a no-win situation. The choice you made was hard, but I believe it was the best possible of all solutions. Don't second-guess yourself or try to figure out why your father is the way he is. You'll drive yourself nuts.


Ann(ie) said...

I have an eerily similar story, girlie. wow. This really hit home. I haven't talked to my dad for eight years now. Ben's his only grandchild and he's never seen him. He knows he exists, but he has never has reached out. My father has two children (me and my brother) and he's estranged from us both. I don't think he ever got the parental gene. I so feel your pain. On his birthday and Father's day, I think about him and I feel sad for a minute and then it scabs over again. I feel it's his loss and now that i have a child I know the kind of love you should feel for them and never will I be estranged from Ben. I couldn't be. ever. For a second.
I know that I'm destined for this conversation eventually, too.
Hang in there, girlie. YOu're not alone. xo.

Adventures In Babywearing said...

This might be a situation where you just have to wait for him to come around and seek you out before you even think about your decision being the best or not- because bringing him back into your lives could possibly just bring more hurt and negativity. I can see how you are only protecting yourself and your family, and unfortunately this happens much too often.


addhumorandfaith said...

I hurt for you so much as I read this. It sounds like you have made the best decision for your family, but you've paid a price.

Two thoughts:

- If you can, when you do think of your dad, consciously give yourself permission to grieve for what he couldn't be to you, but still try to accept that that's just the way he is, and then re-state to yourself your thankfulness for a mom who WAS there for you. It can't be "fun" being him. There have to be times when he realizes what he has missed and is missing.

-- If you don't already, think about including him regularly in your prayers. I do believe in miracles -- and he might be one at sometime in the future! I hope so, for him and you both.

YOU are in MY prayers. Sandra

Mimi's Toes said...

I thought so hard and long about what comment I would leave you. I didn't want to type just any words. I do hurt for you too. I loved Sandra's comment. It sounds like you did the right thing in distancing yourself. Getting hurt over and over is not healthy. You have grown to become so successful, intelligent, beautiful, wonderful wife and mother. So, your Mom did a Terrific job in raising you. I will give you a bigger hug the next time I see you cause I don't want my Crooked Eyebrow hurting. I too believe in miracles. Love ya, Rhonda

Peanut Butter and Jelly Boats said...

OH CE, I'm so sorry that this is what has come between you and your father. When I was in Ohio I was about to sever the relationship I have with my parents. I was too haunted by an incident in the past. I couldn't take it anymore. One day I was in such turmoil over it. I was in the shower and I just dropped to my knees, sobbing, begging God to help me cause I couldn't get over it. I felt like God told me to ask them to help me get over it. So I called them up and did just that. My parents took ownership and apologized. I was able to forgive them and our relationship has been a little bit better everyday since then. I'll pray for you to have the wisdom to do the right thing for you and your family.

Beth at I Should Be Folding Laundry said...

I am so sorry that he was so blind to your greatness. Something tells me that his heart aches, too, for you and for JC.

I do hope that somehow, some way, you will be back in each other's lives. Not just because he's your dad, but because he LOVES you. That is my prayer.

To Think is to Create said...

I know how you feel, and I absolutely think protecting yourself and your child from the pain was the right thing to do. Hopefully some day things will evolve and it won't have to be this way, but just remember that it's not your fault. It's not you, it's him.

Sarah said...

Our stories are so similar. I too am the oldest child of divorced parents. My father is just as distant and self absorbed. He lived out of town and traveled for his job for months on end. When he would swing into town he'd demand that we go with him and then be hours late to pick us up..if he came at all. He used us as pawns to hurt our mother and tried to convince us she was "unstable".
He didn't walk me down the aisle.
Whether he'll see his grandchildren I haven't decided yet.
Don't feel bad about your situation. It took me years to figure out that we cannot change other people. You've made all the effort now it's HIS turn!

Stacie said...

I could have written this post (mostly) myself about my "real" father...

However, I feel content with the fact that he isn't hurting me anymore and there is no way he can come in and out of my kids lives and hurt them. If I felt dissappointment with him, they will too...if I allow it.

HUGS! Hang in there because what is GOOD for you is also GOOD for JC. (IMHO)

my wonderful men... said...

I feel for you, sometimes the ones we love the most hurt us the most.

I have to believe he is hurting too. You'll know when it's time, if ever to make the move to try and work things out.


Natalie @ I AM (not) said...

I'm so sorry he took out his pain on you. Our earthly fathers can really jack things up that's for sure. I've seen it over and over. I don't know where you are with God and all that, but, honestly, there is one Father who is nothing like the one you were born to. He'd like to take every bit of your pain. He's pretty good at mending broken hearts.