GC is a little tired this morning. Overslept after trying to get caught up last night from my sleeplessness the night before. I don't regret a thing! I still believe that I was priviledged to witness what I think will be a defining moment in American history. Anyway, I still managed to get to work on time, thanks in part to erratic and frantic driving...kidding!
So, from the title of this post, I bet you think I will be blogging about my sweetie, J. Well, sorry to disappoint you. No, this blog is about my father. The man that set the standard, as it were. I have long admired him, but really didn't "connect" with him. Recently, I have come to realize that my distance from him emotionally and physically were not doing me or my son any good. So, without further ado, here is my story...
As I was growing up, my father always set the standard for living truly and without prejudice in a world wrought with hatred. His acceptance of others in our society have always been my benchmark for my own treatment of people. He always taught me that people were people. They didn't have red, black, yellow, or white skin. They didn't give anyone cooties. They were flesh and blood.
He also taught me to respect myself and to take pride in anything I do. He always taught me that anything worth doing, was worth doing so well that I would WANT to admit that I did it in the first place. He was a great influence on my job ethic. Be the first to get there and the last to leave - that was his motto. Set an example. Be a role model.
So why the strain on our relationship? Well, let me 'splain....
My dad and I are SO similar, we butted heads all the time. When he would challenge me to do better (even if I got freakin' honors, y'all!) I would take it as an insult that he wasn't proud of what I did accomplish. I only saw the negative when he would push me to finish what I started. As an aside, I believe I had ADD growing up and that this was a source of frustration for him when I couldn't stay on task. In any case, he would push, and I would push back. Hard. I felt like I was never good enough because all I heard was "you can do better" and not the "I'm proud of you for doing this, but..." .
He was also VERY strict as I was growing up. No makeup, boys, or late nights for me and my older sis. No, we had RULES. I have always hated rules. Still do. As the younger siblings grew, the rules changed and they were given a bit (ok, a TON) more feedom. Why? Don't really know. Not important. What is mportant is the fact that I resented it. I felt that I wasn't trusted and that meant that I didn't meet his standards....
The funny thing is, my dad was my hero and I don't really know that he knows it. Even during the angst ridden teenage years where being a rebel meant that I put makeup on BEFORE I left the house, just to get his goat. Even when I made stupid choices or did things I knew that he would not approve of, just because. Dad was always there for me and always trying to make me see the value of being a better person.
Don't get me wrong. Dad has his faults like any other human. He is stubborn, hotheaded, and sometimes doesn't see the forest for the trees. Hmmmm, sounds awfully like some red-head I know and see in the mirror each day, but I digress. He also gives in to my mom WAAAAY too often and tends to keep his head in the sand when it comes to her. That alone can be another post, so I won't go into it now. But something changed after I was married. My dad and I pulled away from each other. I believe it was because of my treatment of my mom. I distanced myself from her because of her insanity (yes, she is nutty, but I am referring to the drama she creates). This may have led to him thinking I was "ostracizing" her, mainly because I am pretty sure she was telling him this. Suddenly, it was a different relationship. When MFE threw a tantrum and threatened me, Dad really just disappeared. I felt like they were leaving me to my own devices. It hurt, and I began to understand that I was on my own when it came to really tough situations. Mom did the same thing. She suddenly stopped calling. She would stop asking me about my life when she did call, and instead started to update me on the constant actions of my siblings. I lost the desire to even talk to them.
I did stay in touch with them, though. At least until I had my etopic pregnancy. Mom threw me into a tizzy with a very strange, crazy, and upsetting phone call. Dad didn't call at all. I made only the feabilist attempts at staying in contact and only had sporadic visits. As my marriage was disinigrating, I sunk deeper and deeper into my own world. It was a tough time for me, but I tried to put on a brave face and pretend everything was ok. It wasn't. I knew in my heart that my parents HATED the treatment I received from my then-spouse, but they wouldn't say it. MFE would openly berate me in front of them, and they still kept silent. Then, my ex-FIL passed on and all hell broke loose in my life. MFE became even more abusive (fueled by depression) and I withdrew even more. It was my sisters that pulled me up and forced me to see what was going on. Without them, I would be in misery still.
Once I decided on divorce, I called my dad to let him know. He wasn't surprised. He said he would pray for me. That was it. For some reason, I felt so alone and couldn't reach out to him to have him help hold me up. I didn't want to burden him with my issues. He had enough to worry about with my crazy mom doing stupid things and basically freaking everyone out. I felt like my issues shouldn't be his priority at that moment.
Still, I wanted and craved his guidance. What should have been a time to bring us closer together only served to force a wedge deeper to widen the chasm. What COULD have been the perfect opportunity for me to reach out was lost. I chose not to. I also thought that by trying to get closer to him again would only open the path to the insanity of my mom and what she did to my psyche.
My brother's recent issues with his life and marriage led him to share with me the fact that he has forged a new bond with our father. I started to look at my own relationship and realized that I need to do the same. Thanks to my brother, who showed me that Dad is an honorable and respectful man who just didn't want to meddle in my affairs. He was just waiting for me to reach out again. Patiently waiting.
It makes me sad that I let so much time go by. So much wasted time. But I am awake now. I see him in a new light, and also my poor mom, who can't help her mental instability. I am trying to make a new connection. I called him last night. He immediately handed the phone to my mom. I think he is hurt, and who wouldn't be? I ignored him long enough to cause pain. But I intend to do something about it. Hopefully, I can repair the rift quickly. After all, time is not on our side.