As I washed dishes this morning from my tamale making adventure yesterday – Yes, there is a post coming about it soon! – I thought about my father. Really, I was trying to figure out how to explain our relationship to someone else. I was always a daddy’s girl. I would go with him hunting and trapping and ride along in the airplane and later he would teach me to fly a helicopter and skin an animal. But, things were not as rosy as they might seem.
|Little ballerina Emily
The first ballet recital I remember he missed still nearly breaks my heart. That was about the time I started making excuses for him. Our relationship really headed south after my parents split up. We, my mom, brother and I, moved in with my grandparents. – Living with them ended up being one of the best, most positive, defining times in my life, more about that in another post-.
|Me and my Grandpa Frank
Days when my father was supposed to have us he was often late or never would show up at all. I learned I couldn’t depend on him. If that was the only problem we had it wouldn’t have been so bad. I have always been independent, opinionated and strong willed. My father never could deal with that in a child. He was just a little bit of a control freak-something I inherited from him- and we clashed about every possible thing. He could be heartlessly cruel and manipulative. I spent most of my childhood and part of my teen years being disappointed, upset, unable to trust, mad and depressed because of my father.
I always loved him and I still do. If you have had a good relationship with your parents you cannot understand what my situation was like. I am glad you can’t! People tell me all the time how my father has changed and I should give him a second chance. I spent the first 15 years of my life doing just that. They have no idea what happened and frankly I don’t want to tell them because if he has changed I don’t want to drudge up the past to beat him with. All I ever wanted was for him to change. Eventually I came to a point where I stopped trying to give him chances to redeem himself. I decided my dad was just going to be what he was and my best bet was to avoid situations I knew from experience would end badly. That point where I changed my way of dealing with him was when our relationship started improving. The definition of “situations that will end badly” has changed and will likely continue to change.
Since I went off to college my dad has came through for me in some really big ways. If you had told me five years ago that he would help me move our entire menagerie and household in a time of crisis I would have laughed at you. But that is just what he did when my husband broke his hip last August. There are plenty of people who gloss over their family problems, especially on Father’s Day. I can’t do that. I love my father dearly and in spite of our issues I am glad he was and still is, in my life.
I hope you found information and inspiration, come back soon!