Dad circa 2012

I don’t know how many of you will be able to relate to this next Journey of mine, but I have waited to put this one down. Mainly because I didn’t want my siblings getting upset with me. But I had to realize this isn’t about them it’s about me. Selfish right?

My parents were married for 23 years when they decided to split up. I was only 4. Having been the “boo boo” baby, this would be a major upset for me. I don’t have many memories of my parents together and the few I have aren’t exactly happy ones. I remember a lot of yelling and my mother crying.

My siblings had a completely different experience due to their age and their memories are different than mine. Being that they are way more detailed and have a lot of the build up to the divorce. I’m OK with not having those memories. LOL

I am not writing this to lay blame on either my mom or my dad. But Dad just wasn’t around a lot when I was a kid. I don’t know why and I have already had it out with him as to how this made me feel.

But being a child of divorced parents did set me apart. In the 80’s this was not a common thing. Most of my friend’s parents were together and seemed pretty happy. I spent most of my time with these friends and they were unaware of how envious I was that their dads cared. And were present.

Oh, Dad came around, in fact for a couple years we would spend every other weekend together like clock work. He lived in Portland and we would go do some really fun things. He tried hard but not knowing him too well I wasn’t sure how to act. And I never knew if something I did was going to make him angry, not that he got that way often. So I was usually very quiet and that made it hard on him as well.

I remember him coming to one of my Jazz Choir Festivals down in Sutherlin. This shocked me to my core. He was there and he was there for me. It was nice. I liked introducing him to my friends and knowing that he would watch us perform.

Then he got re-married.

This would change everything. His wife was so nice, an ex school teacher, she knew how to talk to me and made my relationship with my dad a little easier. Of course I was still young when they got married but it still didn’t increase the amount of time I would spend with them. But she had more money than my mother had ever had. So she ran in some very different circles.

The few times I visited, he was trying too hard to do things he thought I would like. Once, he took me to an Art Fashion Show, which was horrible. I was just a little country girl and I had nothing to wear to an event like that. I didn’t know what to do or how to act and he felt terrible. I was more a zoo kind of teenager, or Omsi, or walk the waterfront. Not a dress up and rub elbows with high society. Poor man. He was clueless.

But he does try in his own way.

He had disappointed me so many times that I wrote him off for a long time. In fact, I had my brother walk me down the aisle at my wedding instead of dad. Needless to say, Dad didn’t come to my wedding. This decision I will forever regret. Not that I didn’t love having my brother do this but it’s a decision I can never take back.

I have had to come to terms with my Dad and our relationship the last few years. I had to realize that he was not going to change and that I needed to just accept him how he is. I needed to not expect things that he could not deliver. And this has helped me tremendously.

I tried to be there for him when he lost my step mother, but I didn’t know what to say to him and he had taken to raising her grandchild. She being just a couple years younger than my daughter, made it feel like he didn’t need me. So I stayed away.

Recently my father has become a double amputee. And it’s changed him. Not only physically but mentally. He has had to swallow his pride and accept help. He’s had to realize that he may have permanently damaged his relationship with his family. But I have been able to see him and not be disappointed. I have brought my children to see him and he’s treated them equally, which has not always been the case.

I guess the bottom line is, that I have forgiven him.

No matter how hurt I’ve been through the years, he’s still my dad. He’s the only one I’ll ever have and if I can’t forgive my own father then what does that say about me?

He was simply not there. He never hit me, never berated me, never did anything inappropriate. He was simply gone.

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And that’s something that can be forgiven.