Thank You Dad(s)

This post is going to be very open and honest.  You will feel the highs and lows.  It isn’t meant to hurt anyone, it’s just part of my story and has made me who I am today.  I am very happy with where I am given some circumstances that have happened throughout my life.  By no means did I ever have it bad, but it hasn’t always been easy.

Let’s start with Dad #1 my biological father.  My mother and he were very young when they came to realize I was on my way.  My mom was 19 and my father 23 (I think).  Not married — INSERT GASP.

I only remember a tiny bit from when I was really young.  I remember fighting, a lot of yelling.  I’m not sure what age I was when they realized they could not make it work, but I was very young.  My mother became a single mom.  My father was an alcoholic.  There are very few things I remember about him from when I was a young child.  I do remember:

Sitting out on the front steps waiting for him to come pick me up for a visit, and he wouldn’t show.  This happened a few times that I can remember, it may have been more than a few times, but I’m not sure.  girl-1825353_960_720My mother then stopped making plans for those visits because she was done trying to explain, make excuses, and stop my crying.

From the time I was 3 until 10, I might have seen my father three times.  One was just from bumping into him at the bank.  Even so young maybe 7ish I knew my mom was mad and uncomfortable seeing him.  She must have said we were on our way to go buy a bike, because I remember him trying to give her money.  She wouldn’t take it.  I remember her explanation, not to me, but maybe a friend or sister, I was eavesdropping.  She said he doesn’t pay for her food, clothes, or a roof over her head, but he wants to come in and buy her a bike and be cool for doing so.  She was NOT having that!  Now as an adult, I don’t blame her one bit.

The only other memory I have is going to his house for a little while, eating about 100 cherries and when he brought me home I was throwing up everywhere.  As far as my childhood goes, that is all I remember from Father #1.  I never had any contact with any of his family.  Not my grandparents or any of my aunts and uncles from his side.  When I was around 20ish, my mother let it slip that my grandparents (on his side) never accepted me because I was born out of wedlock.  My mother and father attended a christening for my first cousin (who happened to be adopted) and my mother overheard my grandmother gushing how she was so proud to finally have a grandchild.  I was about 2 years old but again, I didn’t count because I conceived out of wedlock and a sin.  More about this a little later…

Then there were years of my mom being single or maybe she was dating someone but I never knew about it.  She was not that kind of mom who had random men in and out of our home.  It was just her and I for years.  I give her lots of bonus points for that!

mother-103311_960_720As a single mom I know now we struggled, but really didn’t know that then.  I also became very good at not letting anyone else know that things may not have been so easy for me.  I always had what I needed, maybe not wanted but…She worked hard and did everything she could to make the best life for both of us.  Looking back there are so many things that seem crazy to me (because I am now a parent).  Just a quick example:  For years she was a school bus driver.  She would need to be up and out the door for work before the sun was up.  I was in 2nd – 3rd grade.  She would leave me home alone, call the house, with our special code ring, to wake me up.  Then I would make my own breakfast (cereal and milk) and get ready for school.  She would usually stop in quick before I would walk off to school.  Can you imagine in today’s world leaving your second/third grader home alone in the morning and have them get themselves off to school????  Yeah and child protective services would be there in a hot second.  It was because of this, I have always been so self sufficient, independent, and mature for my age.  This is something that just had to be done.  There was no other way around it.  She had to work to support us, and we both had to do what needed to be done.

Then when I was 8 years old she met my stepfather; Father #2.  It quickly appeared to me she had a thing for alcoholics.  Father #2 was an extremely hard worker who just loved his Budweiser.  They got married when I was ten, and had two girls a little later on.  We were a family.  I had a father and two sisters who I adored.  Father #2 may have been an alcoholic but he was also a caring, thoughtful, and go outside and throw the softball around, kind of guy.  He really stepped up and took great care of me.  He wasn’t the best husband, but he was a great stepfather.

After about 14 years of marriage, and a ton of dysfunction, they got divorced.Le divorce
I was an adult already in my 20’s so the divorce affected me much differently than my sisters.  I became a mediator, the middle man, between the two of them.  I would be the voice of reason when they were both just so mad at each other and weren’t seeing things clearly.  I would call them both out on their bullshit.  This only lasted a few years then things somewhat settled down.

Father #2 had a few girlfriends after his divorce from my mother.  These women did by no means have their shit together.  It was one train wreck after another.  Then he reunited with someone from his past and married her.  She did have her shit together.  A good job, four children.  Two adult boys and two younger girls.  However she too is an alcoholic.  Her and Father #2 can be an absolute shit show together and cause a lot of destruction.  She has come in the way of the relationship he and I once had.  I think at this point he has met my boys maybe 5 times in the 2/3 years of them being born.  He will argue that it is my fault because I don’t invite him to things.  The truth is I have sent invitations to his home for things like, birthday parties, and my boys christening.  I have never even received an RSVP never mind him showing up.  He claims he has never seen an invitation, and to his credit he might not have due to someone getting rid of it before he would see it.  Who knows, but unfortunately that is how our relationship is today.

Now on the other hand… At the age of 28, my Father #1 has come back into my life.  I had never tried to fix that relationship because I always felt, I was the child, he was the adult, and I wasn’t the one who did wrong.  I stood firmly on that and wouldn’t budge.  So I bet you’re wondering how did we reunite… Funny story actually!

Around the age of 20 I was working at a retail store name Lechmere.  I was in the furniture department selling things like desks, entertainment centers, and mattresses.  This older couple came in and I helped them but a small TV stand.  While I took their credit card from them for payment I saw the name on the card was Father #1’s name (he was a Jr.).  I asked them, “Do you have a son named _______?”  They then replied, “Yes, why do you know him?”.  I answered, “No but my mother’s name is _______!”  We all were in total shock.  It was weird, uncomfortable, and I never wanted to just disappear in a flash like I did right then. birthday They left and came back about a week later which was my birthday.  They brought me a birthday card with some cash in it.  The card gesture I thought was nice, but the money pissed me off.  I didn’t want their money.  They haven’t been around for around 18 years and they are going to give me this birthday card with money in it while I’m at work.  Uugggh I was mad.  They started coming into my workplace more and more.  It started to become more and more comfortable.  We eventually started going to lunch, then dinner, then eventually even spending time with each other around the holidays.  I did feel pressure at times from them to get in touch with my Father #1, but I would explain with much conviction, my feelings on that matter.  However about 8 years later, he made the effort.  He called, a quick apology on the phone, but explained he really wanted to see me in person.  We made a lunch date.  From there we decided we would try to have some sort of relationship.  It was awkward for a long time.  It wasn’t comfortable, or easy.  However today and for many years now, our relationship has come so far.  It is more than comfortable now.  I have completely forgiven him.   He still bears a ton of guilt but that is not something I can ever change.  He LOVES our boys.  If he doesn’t get the chance to see them for more than a week or so, he is missing them like crazy.  He is an amazing grandfather to my boys.

So in a way, my life has come full circle.  It has been a very weird, strange, and sometimes difficult journey, but this is where I am.  Do I wish some things were different, YES.  However, it is what it is, and we never really know what is next for any of us.  There is a song that every time I hear it, it gives me goose bumps and touches my soul.  It is Daughters by John Mayer.

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