The Distant Father


It’s always been very… complicated with my father. *Warning: Very long post*

 

My parents divorced when I was around 3 or 4. I have a faint memory of screaming and having to put a pillow over my head to sleep, but that is all I can recall. I was terribly young. My brother and I were shuffled back and forth living with each parent for a short amount of time and then moving again. Finally, after a messy custody battle, we were given to my mother. I’m still at odds if this was a “good decision” by the courts or not.

My father remained around… well not at all. I don’t remember seeing him much when I was young (tho my memory isn’t very good) but I do remember him remarrying and moving an hour away when I was 9 years old. I was so close with my step-sister that I tried to go over there as much as I could for a while, but I got older and wanted to hang out with my friends and do school and church functions. Eventually I only saw him once a month or less. When I was 13 my mom moved us 1500 miles away to Florida. My dad and I barely spoke for years. Occasionally he would do something spectacular like taking me to Disney World for my 15th birthday, but we didn’t talk and we could no longer connect.

I was a very difficult teenager and my mom was out of control (before she got some treatment again) and when I was almost 16 years old I decided to move in with my dad. My mother was totally against it so my father and I plotted for me to get out of Florida and move in with him in Utah. (By this time he was divorced again.) I ran away from home and to make a long story short, I landed in Juvenile Hall for being a runaway. I was returned to my mother a few days later. (HORRIBLE experience!)

When I finally turned 16 the court said I had the legal right to choose which parent I wanted to live with. I moved in with my father in Pennsylvania.

My father had never actually raised any of his four children, so I was an experiment. He was raised in the school of letting your teenager learn from their own mistakes. He basically cut off the leash that had had me bond and gagged all my life by my mother. This was not a good thing.

After some very very serious bumps in the road, and a few years later, I graduated high school. He and I had never spoken or hugged or anything at this point. I got a quick I Love You as I drove out of Texas back to my hometown in Ohio. I felt I had to leave because he had been laid off again.

The only time he ever seemed to even notice that I was alive was when I was 18 years old. He eventually followed me to Ohio. (Actually he came to Ohio to move in with my Grandma) Still unemployed he shared an idea with me.

I had made a special reservation for lunch to inform my dad that I was moving in with my boyfriend (who later became my husband). Instead he launched into some crazy idea that we would make a great mother-daughter long-haul trucker team. I was shocked, and very sad. He was finally reaching out and I had to turn him down cold because I was making a (what I thought at the time) very serious commitment. Sigh… about the nicest thing he did after that was attend my wedding. Actually he was my only actual family member who came.

It wasn’t long before he started taking contract jobs all over the U.S. and I barely heard from him. A few years ago he got hired on at a company in Vermont. He was laid off from that job last week actually.

What makes me the most sad of anything about our cold relationship of only mutual respect, is that he has seen his grand baby (my daughter who turns six next week) a total… TOTAL of 3 times in her entire life. About two months ago he swept into town and took me out for breakfast then we picked up my daughter and spent 90min at a local pizza and games place. He flew home that night saying he would stay longer if he could but he needed to get back to work… he flew home on a Friday night.

Basically the reason I am getting this out of my system is that he was laid off from that job in Vermont… and every time he gets laid off he winds up back in Ohio. I am totally unsure of how I feel about this. I know he is my father, but he had never felt like more that a “buddy.”

I didn’t go into details earlier because I am unsure if it is the truth or not. I was raised by a mother who told me that when I was little I would come home from my dad’s covered in bruises. I don’t know if my mother is telling the truth. She is not very reliable at all. My brain injuries leave me unsure if I am missing something here… But I have grown up thinking of my dad as abusive. That really has an effect on a young child.

Will he come back to Ohio? Maybe. I am thinking he might not, now that my grandma passed away last year.

Maybe I will post about my mother next… now that could be a book-long post!

Amy

 

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