Saturday, October 25, 2008
"It is much easier to become a father than to be one." ~ Kent Nerburn
It was really hard to think of a way to start this post. I've sat here with this window open for some time now. I would stare blankly for a few minutes and then wonder off to do something else. I just didn't know where to begin.
I've decided that I want to start by saying that I do have fond memories of my dad. There aren't too many, but I do have a few. I remember how he outlined my feet on a peice of paper to help me learn left from right. I remember how he patiently tried to explain what the word 'doubt' meant. I remember when I was very young and made some sort of something with construction paper, I stuck them out on the curb with a cup and a sign that stated my 'art' was for sale for $1. I happily went inside and forget all about it. When my dad came home from work that evening he brought in the cup with a dollar inside. It wasn't until much later that my mom told me he had put the dollar in there. I remember how he would make his adams apple bob up and down just to make me laugh. He called me 'sweetheart' and 'pumpkin'.
When I was ten years old my parents decided to get a divorce. I can distinctly remember feeling nothing. I could see my mom was upset, she told me and my sister when we were in the car. I think I might have cried, but only because I thought thats what I was suppose to do.
For years after that my sister and I would visit my dad for weekends. We became accustom to him being late to our birthday parties, or not going at all. We got use to not receiving gifts for Christmas. He always had a reason, an excuse. When I was older, while snooping in my mom's room (sorry, mom!) I found the court papers where my dad was asking to pay less child support every month. By the time I hit my teen years I was pretty bitter about the whole situation. My mom never talked bad about him, but she didn't have to for me to form my own negative opinions about him. I had two eyes and a brain in my head. I could see that it was always her that drove all the way to my dad house to drop us off and it was always her that came back out to get us. I noticed that my dad never felt the need to stock his refrigerator when we came for the weekend. And I noticed that he never felt the need to get us our own beds. I don't think he ever thought of those things.
Now, there is probably more to this story then I know about. Details that I am not aware of. But this is how it happened as I remembered it. My mom was house sitting for my grandparents. So we were spending most of our time over there. I was barely 17, and I showed up there after being where ever I went when I was 17. No one else was there and I let myself in. There was an open letter on the kitchen counter so I stopped to take a look. It was from my dad, to my mom. I read it all. He was apologizing for...well, for everything, I guess. His mother had passed away and he went to California for the service and he never came back. He ran away. In the letter, he mentioned that he loved me and my sister very much. But he had things that he needed to work out. I got in the shower and I cried.
I have not seen my dad since then. There have been a few cards, a few letters, and just recently a few phone calls. I have been sad, I have been angry, I have been confused. I have cried and I have ranted, I even wrote him an ugly letter and sent it. Now I'm just resigned. My dad is who he is. He can't change the past.
Today, I made Thanksgiving plans with my dad. It will be the first time I have seen him in over 11 years. My sister is coming too. And my husband, who my dad has never met. I'm nervous, anxious, slightly guarded, but...excited and hopefully optimistic.