Go ahead a read this and tell me I need to be a bigger person. Try to tell me to put my big girl panties on and get over it. Convince me somehow that taking the high road would be better. You would not be wrong.. but damnit if I’ve had just about enough and don’t really feel like validating the shitty treatment I’ve been subject to for the vast majority of my life because my father is passive and never stuck up for me in the face of his dominant wife and her self-important offspring (let alone himself).
I get it.. I have the tendency to be passive too. I get that from him, but just try to cross me about my kids and I will cut you. Earlier this year I broke down in tears on the phone with him explaining how I’ve felt so hurt for so many years. I provided all kinds of the examples and let it all out. It felt good to do that but what came if it? What happened next? Absolutely Zero.
So what did I say today when he texted to ask if I was coming to her birthday party tonight? We’ll here’s what I was thinking…
Has he ever made any effort to make me feel less like the red-headed stepchild? Less ignored at family gatherings whose children he will never know because he’s too busy raising a dozen children, grand-children, and great-grandchildren who share no blood or name. Did he even offer to meet once outside of saying “let’s get together soon” on the obligatory event phone calls? No.
It’s a total “Cat’s in the Cradle” situation and I’m the son whose never coming home again. Except I never aspired to be just like him. My aim is a lot higher than that. My goal is for my children to look up to me and respect me and I never want them to think I will not hesitate to be on their side.
That all sounds grandeous and overly dramatic but there’s weight behind it. Since the day he met his wife, we (my siblings and I) took a backseat to her and her kids and endured years and years of their drama.
Strike 1.. I found out from a total stranger at a football game when I was a freshman in high school that he had gotten married.
Strike 2.. Not attending my college graduation (both of them).
Strike 3.. Letting her crew ransack my grandparents house for anything they wanted before letting us know we could come over and see if there was anything we wanted.
Strike 42.. Basically supporting her offspring through pregnancies and failed marriages and financially shelling out literally thousands and thousands of dollars in clothes and furniture and lawyer fees and paying bills. We never asked for anything because we were responsible and independent.
Strike 347.. babysitting my children less than a dozen times during their upbringing because they were “busy” but somehow finding the time for babysitting everyone else’s kids – on regular basis.
Strike 522.. completely dismissing my 40th birthday when I was literally in attendance at one of the kids’ spouses 40th birthday gathering. It’s like People didn’t even know it was also my 40th birthday. Not to mention I attended countless other birthdays, baby showers, and weddings. As fate would have it Martin (the husband turning 40) had an affair and left about a month after that.
Strike 890.. the endless drama we always have to endure at family gatherings. Someone is addicted to drugs, or being taken to court, or wound up pregnant, or something else. They have 12 great grandchildren now, about half were teenage pregnancies.
That’s enough strikes – I’m Out.
Some of that rolls right off me, like the financial stuff. I don’t give a crap if they paid a million dollars out to those people. I didn’t need it. It’s the emotional stuff that stabs me. Seeing my father painting the toenails of one of the granddaughters in a picture on Facebook with the caption that says “when your princess requests her toes painted, you can’t refuse”. No.. MY daughter is the princess and you won’t even ever know her. EVER.
So today when my dad texted me out of the blue less than 1 week after my 45th birthday and asks if I’m going to his wife’s surprise birthday party what am I supposed to say? Oh hey, I got it.. the answer is “no”. It should not be a surprise because like I said, this all came out this past spring. Nothing changed. If I went, it would just be validation that it’s still ok to keep on doing what you’ve always done. They can have their party and I’ll be better off hanging out with my kids at home.
He briefly pressed me on it.. “I thought you would go”. My reply? “I just can’t”. Simple enough that he can take it anyway he likes. If it makes him feel better to think I already had plans, then fine. Perhaps that’s chicken shit of me (guess it’s hereditary), but what good would any other response do? Nada. He could also take “just can’t” as in, I’m unable to muster the emotional courage to take the high road and sit through another family function, invisible. That would be fine too. If he’s hurt by it. That’s fine too. It’s all just fucking fine.
The command decision was not to go and my kids were thankful and we hung out at Jim’s house and then went to dinner instead. Now as I type this I’m sitting in the bay window of my bedroom in my beautiful house watching an incredible storm rolling in. Yeah, it’s rumbling in all right.
Tomorrow we are supposed to go out to dinner with them (yeah, I know, good grief). A plan to do an obligatory annual bday dinner together since our birthdays are less than a week apart. I swear to the Universe and all the sub-atomic particles in it, if anyone asks me why I wasn’t there, I’m gonna let them have it – all of it!
So that’s a wrap for this Saturday night rant. I’m not taking the high-road on this one anymore. Go ahead and try and talk me out of it. I’m listening.
Let the Storm Rage!