My Father

Just writing the words “My father” is setting off something inside of me.

My father is the man who raised me…

except, he didn’t actually raise me.

He provided for me.

That is all he did.

And is that really the same?

My father has always been a self- absorbed man.

The kind of man that you would think is too wrapped up in himself and his needs to have children.

Except he did.

My brother was born when my father was 36. He turned 40 a few months after I was born.

Except on my birth certificate it says he was 36. He lied about his age because he didn’t like getting older.

He lied on my birth certificate.

My mother was his THIRD marriage.

Apparently, the other two woman before her came to their senses and ran from him.

You know the kind of guys that you date when you’re younger that have no direction in life or plan?

That was, and is,  my father.

My father traveled the world before he settled down with my mother. He lived in Denmark and spoke Dutch. He traveled across Europe with his brothers.

I think a part of him settled before he was ready.

He would always talk about his travels when we were kids, always complaining about living in NYC and how much he disliked it- but never did anything about it.

I was a Daddy’s girl when I was younger, always closer to my father than my mother. He would never berate me, or yell at me, or judge me…. or… parent me.

I only now realize  that it wasn’t him being a good father, it was him not being a father.

He never took a day off of work to see my plays, or asked me about homework. He never fixed my hair, or changed a diaper. He never asked me how my day was, or inquired about what was bothering me.

He just didn’t.

He never hugged or kissed me.

Wait, that’s a lie.

He kissed me maybe once or twice- for no apparent reason. When I was 22 years old, he walked past me, hugged me, and kissed my head.

It took me aback.

I went into my room and started crying.

As a grandfather, he is much more warm than he was with my brother and I. He kisses the girls a lot and plays with them as much as he can. But he NEVER EVER buys them anything.

 Not even a trinket.

That bothers me to no end- because it’s not about the superficial:  It’s what it means. It’s the thought.

I am a VERY giving person. Some would say too giving.  So I cant even comprehend being stingy to those you love.

I remember when I was a kid, my father took my brother and I to Six Flags (Amusement park). It was a lot of fun. As a 9 year old, I wanted a gift from the gift shop. He took us in, but refused to buy us anything (mind you, we were doing well at that time). Instead, he told us to gather next to all the stuffed animals, and he took a picture.

Yes, he did that.

 

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Or the time when we went to Disney World and he wouldn’t buy us anything.

I would NEVER do that to my kids. Ever.

And again, I know that it may just seem materialistic- but it’s not.

He could have just bought us something small and stupid- a key chain, a  trinket.

But he chose not to.

He chose not to do a lot of things.

Until THIS DAY I do not have my high school year book. The year book I pretty much wrote myself.  I was handed the yearbook on the graduation stage with my diploma, but it was promptly taken away a few moments later. Why you ask? Well, there was a tuition balance of about $500.00 and they wouldn’t give it to me until it was paid.

He still hasn’t paid. I still don’t have the year book.

IN MY LIFE I would never do that to my child. Embarrass them like that? Really? for $500?  I would hook on the street to get that $500 if I had to.

He just didn’t care.

That seems to be a theme in his life.

He always manages to just get by.

I just don’t think that’s enough anymore.

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25 thoughts on “My Father

  1. moosh in indy.

    that took my breath away.
    the internet hasn’t hit me like this in a long time, so thank you.
    i hope that in hitting publish you feel the release that it had to have been write it.

    Reply
  2. Sandy

    Thank you. I know how hard it is to put into words. I have one just like that. It’s not easy. But I have come to realise, after many years that it’s his problem, not mine. It still hurts like hell though. Lots of love to you x

    Reply
  3. poobou

    Wow. That was amazing. Good for you for writing this.

    I’ve had a post about my dad in my “drafts” folder for a long time. I’m so afraid it’d be the one time he’d find my blog and read it, and it would break his heart. Because he broke mine, a long time ago.

    Reply
    1. geminigirl64 Post author

      This had been in my drafts for a while… just needed to hit publish. you can do it too!

      Reply
  4. amy d

    I really related to this. My father has been the source of great sadness and anxiety in my life. Into my 30’s it is still affecting me. I too would love to write about some of my experiences but am fearful it would crush him. Funny how children are so protective over their parents even when they hurt them so much.

    Hopefully our children will never have to be disappointed in us that way.

    Reply
    1. geminigirl64 Post author

      The day my children feel the same way about me, is the day I know that I have failed as a mother.

      Reply
  5. Sandy

    Reading the other posts, I realise that there are so many of us who have suffered similarly by the hands of the person/people who we trusted to love and protect us, as we do our own children, unconditionally. I am in my 40’s now, having brought up two lovely girls (now 19 and 21) as a single parent, without any support since they were 1 and 3. To have parents who behave in this way is a form of abuse. In the sense of emotional, mental and psychological. I had my parents on a pedestal and repeatedly returned them there. No longer. They have feet of clay. It is no coincidence that I’ve had bipolar since early childhood, a condition which can be triggered by trauma. Recently my mother emailled to ask why I was keeping HER granddaughters away from her and to say that she loved them still as much as she did the last time she saw them. They said “you mean not at all then?!”

    Like Amy D, I sure hope my girls think I did a better job as a mum. I would be devastated to think that they could ever think of me in the same way as I think of my father (and mother).

    Remember, we all survived despite or because of our experiences and are stronger for having had them.

    Wow.. didn’t intend for that to turn into “War and Peace”!… maybe I should start my own blog! x

    Reply
    1. geminigirl64 Post author

      Sandy- I love war and peace comments!!! I am so glad that you didnt repeat your mother’s mistakes. Your grown daughters are proof of that.

      Reply
  6. Eileen M

    I’ve never commented on your blog but this post requires that I do so. I have been reading your blog for more than 2 years now. I came over from Stacie’s blog right before you had the twins. My daughter and Stacie are email and blog buddies from an old infertility group.

    What a brave girl you are to confront your past and then so generously share it with others who may have “suffered” the same as you did. I, too, had a childhood much like yours with a Mom pretty close to yours and a Dad very similar also with how they related to their 5 children. As the oldest I was more a co-parent than their child and I truly know your pain. I vowed never to live my life like they did if I was given a chance to have children of my own. Lickily for me I had a beautiful daughter and a handsome son who brought, and still bring, me much joy daily.

    I am in my 60s and had my first grandchild ( a son from my sone) in 2005 and my daughter’s little girl – finally came – in May 2008. In fact my daughter and I went shopping today to a little girl’s shop quite a ways from our home and then had lunch. I felt so incredibly lucky that I was given a chance to get to know my grandkids and spend time with them and to buy them things whenever I wanted. On our long ride home today, my daughter and I were talking about you. (I must have been picking up your vibes-ha!) We were talking about the blogs we read and saying what an incredible writer you are and how you seem like such a genuine, down to earth person. You can tell how much you love your girls and that you NEVER take it for granted that they are a gift to you every day. We both said if we ever came up to NYC from Florida we would want to look you up and meet you because you seem like such a great person to know.
    Isn’t it sad that your Dad is going blindly through life not realizing that YOU and YOUR BROTHER were his gifts to cherish, love and nurture? His loss though, honey, not yours. Sadly however, he’ll probably never know that. But you should know that by your sharing with your readers you confirm to the universe what a great Mom you are all of the time and that you are truly worthy to have been given the precious gift of your daughters to share their life.
    Enjoy them every minute the time goes so fast – before you know you will be looking at the back of their wedding dresses as they walk down the aisle and wonder how THAT happened! Take care special girl.

    Reply
    1. geminigirl64 Post author

      Eileen… your comment made me cry as I sit here in my office. Your words have reached into my soul. You have no idea how much I needed to hear that. To know that I CAN break the cycle, that I can be the mother/ parent that I never had. You my dear, are proof positive of that.
      Thank you.

      Reply
  7. Rachel

    Unknowingly, your father gave you the best gift: he showed you that being a parent isn’t just a title, it is a VERB. I look at that picture of you with the stuffed animals, and my heart breaks…and it breaks again now, because I know that you are like me, and have probably spent Gd knows how many hours trying to make excuses for his behavior, the missed calls, the bizarre encounters. I don’t know you, but I am SO PROUD that you were able to say, I am Gemini-Girl and I am separating myself from this crap. Congrats! Now go home and kiss those babies of yours.

    Reply
  8. Nanette

    I was going to echo the first sentence of Rachel’s comment — He showed you the kind of parent NOT to be. So sad it couldn’t have been the other way around. But through it all a wonderful and powerful woman was able to emerge.

    This is a great post, and I can only imagine how great it feels to get that off your chest.

    More hugs to you!

    Reply
  9. heather...

    I am glad that your father is being a better grandfather to the girls. But, as you said, it’s not really enough, and it’s unfair that you repeatedly have to suffer because of his shortcomings.

    I love you to pieces, and you will NEVER be the kind of parent you had. I know this about you. I can see it in your soul.

    xoxo

    Reply
  10. eden

    Wow, Gemini. Your post, and all these comments, gave me goosebumps. I have wondered about your dad … what was he like. He looks kind and gentle in photos, but that’s not a true indication.

    Thank you, for voicing that even though your father may have been “there”, he wasn’t REALLY there at all. The lack of my own father has left a kind of gaping wound in me – yet you have just shown that even though your dad was around it still was pretty crap.

    Maybe this is why we really “get” each other, having been parented so very badly. I am FURIOUS about your Yearbook! Surely he must have known?? F*ck, tell me what school you went to and I will get you one. That’s just dreadful.

    Finally, I am loving your resurgence into blogworld again. I have been reading your posts on other sites, power to you, GG.

    LOVE YOU!!!! XOXO

    Reply
    1. geminigirl64 Post author

      Love you too Eden aka Topcat. I def think that our upbringing with our shitty parents have really shaped us and the kid of mothers we are. I hope I can be as awesome as you when my girls reach max’s age as well…

      Reply
  11. pillarr1

    After I started reading your blog entry today, I thought, is she writing about my father? My mother was my dad’s 3rd marriage also. In fact, my parents were married, divorced and married again. So he has been married 4 times. I don’t really have many memories about my father because he was always gone out doing what ever. When he was around, it was always tense. My older brother and I wished every day that he would die in an accident. We hated him. When I was in college I found out that he had another son who was born when I was about 20. My mom was devastated and humiliated. But they are still married. We do not talk about the child, who is now in his 20s. I have never told anyone about this. But when I read your blog I just felt like I could finally share this with you and everyone reading. I just want you to know that I understand your pain. I always wonder why people have children if they do not want to be bothered with them? Having children is a choice. Our fathers and those like them could have just said “no I don’t want to have any children.” That is what a responsible person would do. My husband has a bizarre father too. I told my husband that we should be the best parents we can be. Even when we are tired and frustrated, even when we want to sleep in on weekends (will that ever happen again?), even when Rachel is pushing us to the limits. I am so proud to be her mother that I just smile and cry all the time when I am looking at her. I think we all have to remember that our pasts do not define our futures or who we are.

    Reply
    1. geminigirl64 Post author

      Thank you for sharing pillarr. It sounds like our fathers are so similar. I hope you are in contact with this brother that you have. sound sliek your father probably didnt parent him either. hugs.

      Reply
  12. Redneck Mommy

    Your father sounds so very much like my mother.

    It breaks my heart for both of us.

    I guess all we can do is move on from the scars we bear on our heart and try to ensure our children never know this pain.

    My heart hurts for you my friend.

    Reply
  13. Jo

    Wow. The beginning part of this post could have been written about my father.

    “My father is the man who raised me…

    except, he didn’t actually raise me.

    He provided for me.

    That is all he did.

    And is that really the same?

    My father has always been a self- absorbed man.

    The kind of man that you would think is too wrapped up in himself and his needs to have children.

    Except he did.”

    I sincerely believe that my father’s parenting is what has resulted in my inability to form healthy relationships to this day. While he and I are estranged, I still deal with his bullshit in the form of my sister. Oh, and I married a man who is eerily similar in many ways (though I hope and pray not when it comes to parenting — but that’s a whole other story).

    Suffice it to say, as someone else commented, a parent CAN “be there” and yet, not.

    So glad you had the courage to share your story.

    Hugs,
    Jo

    Reply

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