I’m still here blogging my way through November, NaBloPoMo style. We’re in the double digits with Day 10, and today’s theme is Fathers. Yesterday, I blogged about my experiences at boarding school, which my own father was nice enough to pay for.
Shout out to my dad, who is another member of the November birthday club. When I think about it, it makes perfect sense that my dad and I would have birthdays so close together. We’ve always been kind of in sync.
Now if you ask my dad about me, the very first thing he will tell you is that he held me first. You see, he and my mom kept having all these babies together, and it was starting to annoy him that she always got to hold the babies first thing after they were born. (I mean, I think she kind of earned that right, but whatever). Anyway, when I was born, my dad allegedly insisted that he get to hold me before I was passed over to my mom. And thus a special bond was formed. You can guess how much my siblings love hearing that story.
My dad was amazing when we were growing up. He devoted a lot of time and energy to raising us, and he was always around. He encouraged our imagination, our education, our physical prowess. He invented fun games that we played for years and years. He made up characters and told us stories on long car rides. He was the perfect tutor and the perfect coach. He was a shoulder to cry on, always.
He was so good at his job as a dad that I didn’t realize how rough things were for him sometimes behind the scenes. Not only were finances extremely tight in the early years, but he was also suffering from a dangerous depression. I was oblivious to all of it; he was my hero and I thought I was the luckiest girl in the world. So I really think that’s a testament to him.
Of course, as most people do, I grew up and realized my parents aren’t perfect. As I moved away and was able to analyze our relationship with a little more objectivity, I discovered that my dad was just as flawed as everybody else. He was emotionally manipulative, belligerently opinionated, overly critical of others. I found myself having to take a step back from the close bond. It was important to preserve my own independence, and I couldn’t do that if I regarded his opinions above my own.
And in the midst of all those adult realizations, my parents went through a heartbreaking divorce. Heartbreaking for me, anyway. It put a huge crack in the foundation of my relationship with my dad because I couldn’t help but feel like it was his fault. You see, my parents got married really young, after only a few months of dating. And my whole life, it was uncomfortably obvious that my mom loved my dad more than he loved her. He was the center of her universe, but you couldn’t help but feel like he was just staying together for the kids. So my mom walked away from the marriage heartbroken, and my dad walked away relieved.
And as I was healing my heart, trying to accept that this lifelong bedrock was gone, my dad moved to a new country and married another woman. Someone he only knew for a few months beforehand. It didn’t help that he married her secretly, without telling us when it happened. And then a few months later, she was pregnant with his child. Just in time for him to bring her to my own wedding with a full baby-bump on display. My poor mom.
I could forgive that my dad moved on with another woman and had another kid, though I would have loved for him to wait a little longer before doing it. What I can’t forgive, though, is that he made himself miserable all over again. If he would have paused for a second before marrying this new woman, he would have learned that she is certifiably crazy. Instead, he just made the same mistakes all over again. Met a woman, fell passionately in love in a matter of months, got married, had a child, and then was stuck in another relationship he wanted out of. He is still hurting. Which makes me hurt. Which makes me mad. I know that sounds self-centered, but it’s how I feel.
So here we are in present day, working to mend a relationship that was never explicitly broken, though I think we both know we fell pretty far from the paradigm. Luckily, our hearts are open and we both want the same thing. And what’s really helping bring us back together is the common ground we share in my own kids. One thing I couldn’t appreciate more is that my dad is an excellent Grandpa. Of course, he doesn’t like to be called Grandpa, he thinks he’s too young for that. Haha, time to face the music, old man.
Until next time,