Wednesday, December 12, 2007

daddy dearest. not.

during one of our 7868905674 trips to paper source this weekend, i found this adorable book to document the bean's babyhood: it's got pages like "how mom and dad met", "how we picked your name", spots for shower invitations and birth announcements, fun stuff like that. i'm trying to figure out how to accomplish the foot and handprints without making a major mess. heh.

anyway, looking through the book reminded me of my own baby book, which i used to love perusing when i was just a wee wan. sadly, it's lost forever - left behind when my mom and i moved out of the house that we lived in with my dad. and these thoughts brought me back to a time when i still had a dad.

my buddies monkey, nanette, and tater have all posted lovely entries about their own dads recently. two have sadly lost theirs, and one is building a stronger, more loving relationship with her father. and me? i don't even know where my dad is.


watching the hub with the bean and the kid, i'm reminded of how my dad used to love me. for the first twelve years of my life, he was there every day, to hug me and make jokes and cook wonderful meals and even discipline and punish me when i did wrong - which happened pretty regularly. hey, i was a kid. but i loved my dad so much and thought he was the greatest - so much so that i'd convinced myself that i was going to live with him when he and my mom decided to separate. i never thought i'd be one of those "divorced kids", but life happens, and after going through it myself, i can totally understand how that can come to be.

but then i saw the hurt in my mom's eyes, and i knew there was no way i could let her move out alone. so i dutifully packed my stuff and went with my mom to our new life.

and in those early weeks and months of the separation, i saw my dad pretty regularly - like every weekend, and even during the week whenever we could squeeze it in. i'd even take the bus for the 20-mile trip after school so i could be there when he got home from work, so we could have dinner together, and then he'd take me back home. we'd go shopping - he was a MAJOR shopaholic, so now you know where i get that from - and we'd walk the mall arm-in-arm. but not in a freaky, creepy way. not like this girl i saw at mimi's cafe a couple of weeks ago, who sat in her dad's lap and was very touchy-feely. FIL and i watched in bemusement (and slight disgust), as he would hold her close and she would stroke his cheek. there's loving your dad, and then there's
loving your dad. it was gross and just looked wrong. but i digress.

dad still had close family in the homeland, so it wasn't out of the ordinary for him to take off and visit them for a couple of weeks at a time. i missed him, but he always brought back all sorts of great hello kitty stuff and snacks for me. and you know i love me some snacks. hee!


then when he returned home from one of those visits, he was...different. happier. excited about life. and it wasn't hard to figure out what had happened - he met someone. a very young and pretty someone. someone who was quite excited about the prospect of coming to the states to see what kind of life she could have. *cough*golddigger!*cough*

and it wasn't long before he was headed back again - this time to marry this girl and bring her home. he was 42, she was 24 - they thought that was just. so. cute. [retching] even at 12, i thought this was gross. but i tried to keep an open mind, and looked forward to the day i could finally meet the woman who had captured my dad's heart and put that twinkle in his eye.


and at first, she was cool. hell, she wasn't much older than i was! we'd giggle over tv shows and sneak all sorts of stuff into the shopping carts when my dad wasn't looking and even hold hands while we strolled the mall. i thought she was fun and pretty, and didn't even notice when the visits became fewer and farther between. and when they had the baby, i fell in love. i couldn't wait to come over to play with her and help take care of her. she was gorgeous and cuddly and as fun as a little doll.

it was actually because of that desire to see the baby all the time that made me realize that all of a sudden, i was the only one making the effort to spend time with them. i wasn't getting any more phone calls, didn't get picked up anymore, and the visits were always initiated by me. and a few times, they said they were coming to pick me up, and never came. i was sure they'd forgotten all about me. i even tested it - i stopped calling and waited to see how long it would take for them to realize that they hadn't so much as talked to me.

i waited so long that i got tired of waiting. i gave in and called. i missed my dad and i wanted to see my sister, dammit.

but then another month went by with no contact, and i got frustrated. no one was answering the phone, and so i put pen to paper and wrote them a letter that told them how i felt. i talked about how i felt left behind, that i missed them, and how i couldn't understand why they didn't call me anymore. i explained that my feelings were hurt that they never made an effort to see me anymore, and that i felt like i'd been replaced by the baby. i read and re-read that letter, had my mom take a look at it to make sure i wasn't out of line or disrespectful, dropped it in the mail and hoped for the best.


two days later, i finally got a phone call. but it wasn't my dad. it was HER. and she was PISSED. she told me in no uncertain terms that my letter was stupid, that they'd never forgotten to pick me up, that the baby came first now, and that they didn't want to see me anymore. i hung up the phone and cried and cried and cried, and from that very day, part of my heart was cold, hard, and broken in a way that couldn't be fixed or healed.


when i was 17, i gave it another shot. my boyfriend (who later became the ex/the kid's dad) took me to where my dad still worked with two of my uncles, and we waited for him to come out. and when he did, it was awkward and weird, but i couldn't help but note how good it was to see him again. not a word was said about the letter or the bitch who banished me from their lives, but he told me that i had a brother. um, and he took the opportunity to talk shit about my mom for "allowing" me to have a boyfriend. yeah, because his ass was around to be a parent, right? sheeeeeit.


and did he make any more efforts after that? nope. in fact, when i was 21 and sent him an invitation to our wedding, the RSVP came back with a big, fat "no". oh, but there was $100 thrown in the envelope. because that makes it better. "here's some cash, have a nice life" is how i read that. and my heart broke all over again. i wasn't going to have him walk me down the aisle anyway - that was reserved for my mom, who was there for me all along - and family members kept assuring me that "he'll be there, just watch - he'll be in the back of the church, watching."
nope.

i made one final attempt to bring him back into my life - when i was pregnant with the kid. i thought for sure that he'd want to be part of his grandchild's life, at least. and when i talked to him and invited him to come to our home, he sounded excited and said that he had a "surprise" for me. well, okay. i like surprises. usually.

when the day of the visit came, i was absolutely TERRIFIED. i was about to face that horrible woman again, but this time i was older, stronger, wiser, and determined not to let her get to me. i was going to be polite, even gracious, and show that bitch that she couldn't hurt me anymore. the doorbell rang, and i pushed the visions of me putting that whore in a headlock out of my head and answered the door.


and there stood my dad, my sister (oh, but she'd grown up so much!), and my brother. no sign of the trollop anywhere. after awkward hugs and greetings, dad said "are you ready for your surprise?"
 

oh, shit. 

he left and came back with a completely different woman whom i'd never seen before AND another little girl - a 3-year-old sister. apparently, he'd finally split from that tramp and remarried, and this woman was his very first girlfriend (even before he'd met my mom), but this little girl was still a product of his unholy union with that snatch. i found it amusing that while he was going through what sounded like an ugly divorce, he and the golddigger had still managed to conceive yet ANOTHER child. [eyeroll] sur-fucking-prise, indeed. "hey, you have another sibling, surprise! yay!" rainbows and fucking lollipops all around! whoopee!  how very fucking magical!

the new wife was nice enough, and the visit turned out to be a fun one after the initial awkwardness. and we had another handful of visits after that one - the kid was born, they visited us, we visited them, and then...nothing. the last time i saw my dad was just before the kid turned a year old. and he got laid off from work, so i have no idea where he is anymore. last i heard, he'd moved back to the homeland. nice. leave the country for good and not even tell your kid.

i googled him once (the magic of the internets!) and found a picture from five years ago at some retirement party. he looked the same, just older - although what did i expect, tattoos and a nose piercing? anyway, that's all i've seen of him in ages.

so much time has gone by and i've tried to convince myself that it doesn't matter anymore. i tried and tried and tried to hold on to a relationship with this man, and he simply didn't care enough to put in even a half-assed effort. i have plenty of family who loves me, i've got a wonderful husband and two fabulous children, awesome friends, and a life that i'm extremely proud of and grateful for. i don't need him. right?


damn you, bio-dad, for treating me like shit and leaving me behind once you'd built a new family that you could have a fresh start with. shame on you for taking your love away from your firstborn child and not realizing that it is possible to share it with your new children AND your old one. i'm half your age and i'm far wiser about this shit than you obviously are.  i mean, how the hell can you be someone's PARENT and just forget all about them?  i don't understand that.  not even a little.  even those who aren't parents would have trouble with that, i'm thinking.


and damn me for still caring and hurting and crying over you. and for still being that sad and lonely 12-year-old who has a dad, but doesn't. not so much.

21 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing this story. I'm sorry that he made such a horrible choice. It made me tear up.

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  2. hi, i've kinda been "lurking" on your blog for a while now - found you on Nanette's blog

    anyway, i feel like i'm prying into your life everytime i read your blog - especially this one. but i just wanted to let you know that i think you are someone that your bio dad would be proud to call his daughter and it's unfortunate that he is missing out on all the good things that have come into your life, including your children and husband.

    this particular post was very well written and i could really feel the emotion you put into it. thanks for sharing :)

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  3. I'm yet another person with dad issues, so I could relate to this entry. Our situations are different, but still - I could relate.

    Thanks for sharing.

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  4. I'm a fellow lurker. The story about your dad made me want to post. I hope some day, your father will realize what he's missing out on. I have a somewhat similar experience, except it's with my Grandfather who left my Grandmother and the rest of my family (cousins, aunts, and uncles) for another woman. I feel like I missed out not having a Grandfather.

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  5. Wow, this made me tear up for sure. I'm definitely sad for your dad...he doesn't even know how awesome is daughter is, how beautiful his granddaughters are, and he's missing out on so much. I can definitely relate with the whole "meeting new wives" weird feeling, and that is NEVER easy.
    Thanks for sharing this {hugs}

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  6. What a moving post...you are bringing out all of your lurker friends!

    Based on the your on-line personna, you've got it goin' on, girl! Not to be cliche but you really have what life's all about. I hope that you know that on some deeper level, your dad has to know what a success you are and he's proud. I am sorry for your pain but so happy that you have such a beautiful life.

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  7. I'm a lurker/ infrequent poster from the OC nest...this post made me cry..this is my story...a few details are different but I can SOOO relate to this entry...more than any other. I dont know what amount of success or accomplishment will make me not think of him and miss him...but if I find out, I'll let you know ;)

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  8. Wow...thanks for sharing! That blows he made such a crappy choice. Despite having a wonderful family, husband, and children, I don't blame you for still being sad about not seeing your dad. This is probably one reason why you're such a great mom to your daughters.

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  9. My shallow reaction is how amazing this post was that it caused so many people to delurk!

    My deeper reaction is that your dad is missing out, and I have no doubt he does miss you, despite his actions. I predict a reconciliation in the future. It may not be any time soon, but it will happen. I know it.

    My situation is not even remotely comparable to yours, but I'll tell you this. My dad dated a woman for 10 years before he introduced her to my brother and me.

    So here's to bizarro dads! Please let me know if I can regale you with other stories. They will amuse you, at least.

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  10. dads...an imperfect science. my heart really goes out to you, wan. i don't think that feeling of betrayal ever leaves you. he's the one that is really missing out though. i don't even know you in "real life" but i can tell over the 'net what a warm, loving, caring, sincere, funny, and intelligent (not to mention hot mama) you are. and i'm glad that for you, being a parent means being so involved. your children will reap so many rewards from your kindness. and i'm glad, although you obviously have tender feelings about such a thing, that you are not allowing it to change your open/kind/wonderful relationships. and you are so lucky to have so many other loving ones around you--i'm sure you get back in spades what you give--but i can understand how there might be a dad-shaped hole there. hugs. (ps. can i just say today when i logged in and there were like 17 comments from you i almost died???) xoxoxo

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  11. I waited to get home to read this post because I had a feeling it needed my undivided attention, and I'm glad I did.

    That was such a moving and emotional post that I could feel the weight on my chest as my frustration built on your behalf.

    I'm honored to have such a wonderful person like you in my life. It really is his loss.

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  12. wow, your openness is bringing out the people in internetsland! no, really, the rawness, openness, and eloquence of this post is much appreciated. [it only makes me wish i had written mine when in much less of a hurry and less vaguely].

    baby wan is cute.

    i'm sorry your type of loss doesn't have closure for now, but i like weemo believe one day you will. he is definitely missing out on a warm, loving awesome daughter and further extended family.

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  13. You're a strong woman. It's his loss for missing out on being a part of your life. [hugs]

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  14. Aww, I could totally reach out and hug you right now! You know about all my bad dad drama, so I won't even bore you. . . but judging by the comments here, you're not alone (though I'm sure it doesn't make you feel better, at least you're not weird or unrelatable).

    Maybe this helped you become a better parent? From what I've seen and know, you are a wonderful mother to the Kid and the Bean and they are so lucky to have you.

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  15. ah man. i don't know what to say besides the fact that he is really missing out on knowing a really wonderful woman, someone who is a great friend, wife, mother and his daughter.

    thank you for sharing this and know that we all love you very much. {{hugs}}

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  16. Wan, kudos to you for being brave and sharing something so personal. I for one feel like my life is better for knowing you. I have no idea why or how parents can forget their children and I know I never will. What I do know is that thankfully your children will never have to worry about that. And in some weird way, isn't that sort of pay back to bio-bum? Ultimately you win and he loses forever.

    Big hugs to you friend.

    Hey, and how cool is it that your lurkers came out? Pretty damned cool. (wanted to end it on a positive note) :)

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  17. Thanks for sharing your story! Your dad will someday regret the decisions he's made in his life but you won't as you put yourself/feelings out there.

    I know its hard given the holiday season thinking about family but you have so many loved ones and great support system around you so cheer up!

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  18. Hey Wan it's angelgee (from the knot). I compelety understand how you feel. My stoopid father did the same and"joined" the army, but instead joined with the woman he's with now. I was 2 at that time. It wasn't until I was 13 when he came to look for me at school. We have had an on and off relationship. Since our wedding I've seen him once, that was only for hubby to fix something at his house. He doesn't call and never has visit our home. The funny part of this is that my father lives 15 mins away from me and works 5 mins away...funny...huh.
    He now has 3 daughters (all adults) and really doesn't bother with my bro and I.

    Sorry to hear about your dad.

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  19. Oh, dear Wan, I am so out of the blogosphere recently so am doing a little catching up. I am so sorry to hear this story. What a coward your dad is - to miss out on his daughter's life, and on his two beautiful grandkids. Hugs :)

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  20. This memory takes me back to the sad feelings that I have for my dad. Although it was my mom's choice to leave and move clear across the country, I still feel my dad could have done more to 'reach out and touch someone's hand'
    The only reason I'm sad for you is because I know the feeling to REALLY want to have some kind of relationship with (who is suppose to be) the most important man in your life. I miss mine too.

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  21. Thanks for sharing this story, Wan. I am really impressed by your strength. I don't understand why parents like this do what they do. Your dad is really missing out getting to know his wonderful oldest daughter.

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