Parenting

Dear Dad

started blogging for myself really.

I found myself at 28 needing an outlet, and the written word has always been that for me. It’s amazing to me how therapeutic writing can be for the soul. Really, if you haven’t ever, just try jotting down what’s on your mind. You might just find you really like it.

The Past

My Mom and biological father split and divorced when I was a tad over one. Although from what I have understood it was coming well before that. Then, years later my mom ended up marrying my now “step” dad who has been my main father figure.

Difference Between a Dad and a Father

For me, a dad is a man who shows you things, raises you, takes you fishing, teaches you how things work and loves you unconditionally. A father is the man whom helped create you. Simple as that. Truly, I guess using the term father is just a nice way of saying other terms that really come to mind.

My “Step” Dad

My step dad is an upstanding man, one whom has done far more for me than words can express. And most importantly he is a dad to me who “signed up” to be. He is my dad and he didn’t have to be.

The Biological Father

My biological father and I have had a rough go of it. (That’s the nicest way I can think to explain it in just a sentence.) He was more out than in. Most of the time I believe he was just trying to figure himself out and have his own life. Which as a parent myself I can understand that. However, my children are number one before anything.

We went through a time where things were good, spent time together and enjoyed it. Until I realized the trips to the beach were really for him to surf and the nights at the soft ball fields were for him to play and drink beer. Yes, this is how most of our weekends were spent.

That is when it all halted. And to be honest, I can’t recall a day, or instance that made it all change. It just did.

Turning Point:

For me, the one moment I remember most, was a conversation he and I had. I was at my moms, sitting in the office on speaker phone. I was asking him what time we was going to be there to get me. (It was his weekend) and he said, “It’s just not convenient for me right now.” Those words make me cringe to this very day.

That conversation was followed by many more that fell right in line with that. The older I got the more outspoken I became. I would yell, cry and flat-out hang up. During this time is when writing became a major part of my life. A counselor suggested I use it to express my feelings and help me to cope.

So, I wrote letters to my father. Ones I never intended to give to him, although I later did.

We went through many years that looked just like this. I would see him randomly here and there. A lot depending on whether or not the girlfriend he had at the time was open to it or if he felt like it.

One Positive +

His longest relationship blessed me with what I still view as a sister. Although her mother and my father never married she and I remain close. It wasn’t always that way though, in the beginning it seemed as though I had been replaced. He was taking her to softball practices and spending quality time with her. I even tried softball myself to try to gain his attention, in the end I hated softball with every ounce of my being. I was horrible at it, and never gained the attention I was desperate for. Because of her he and I saw each other more than we ever had. I was going on the weekends just to spend time with her.

Which by default I saw and spent time with my father also. It wasn’t enough though to foster the beginning of a true relationship.

The Blame

Through out most of my life I blamed him for my hatred. The tough outer shell I have and the inability to trust and let others in. (If my own blood father didn’t love me why would someone else.) Yes, as a teenager I thought irrational things, imagine that. My Mom used to say I could cut someone with my words all while smiling at them. And that they never knew what was coming until it was “too late”. Along with that I show no affection to others.

It took me until probably the last 5 years to really let go. I quit trying to reach out to him and I quit caring that he doesn’t care. I focus on my family and my children. And Lord knows that keeps me plenty busy.

If you’re wondering from my earlier comment, I did mail him copies of all of the letters I had written to him probably about 10-15 years ago. I had to reach out to him to ask if he had gotten them or read them. I found out that his girlfriend at the time read them and that was the last I heard of it. I’ll never know if he took the time or not.

The question comes down to, do I feel that I did all I could? Did I try?

Truth be told, I do. I tried far more than he, and I’m the “child” in the situation.

You can not control how others feel, act or see things. You can only control yourself.

My most valuable lesson out of all of this – it taught me the type of parent I don’t want to be. I know that sounds harsh, but it’s true.

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