No surprise here I suppose. I’m one of many women who grew up not really having a relationship with her father. I am not angry at that fact, but I am saddened by it. I would like to make clear that I am also not jealous of the many women I know who have excellent, or for the most part, respectable relationships with their fathers. I am happy for them.
I am not sure how much I would like to fix what I have with mine. I can sit here and write about how much my father is to blame for my outcome, or I can sit here and write about how I will move on. I choose the latter.
About two months ago I moved out of California. I was feeling stuck and I was itching for change. I never thought I would actually do it, but I did. I didn’t think I would have the guts to leave my family (which I’ve visited twice already- I don’t even give myself the opportunity to be missed), leave my boyfriend, and start somewhere completely new to me. I did it. I’m proud.
So what does that have to do with my father? Well, by chance I saw him that weekend that I was mulling over my decision to accept the job. One of the first things he told me was that he hopes I take it so that I will be able to leave all the bullshit behind. I don’t believe I was going through bullshit at the time, or ever. I was facing difficulties with in my then current situation, but bullshit, not so much. I gave him a ball-park date of if and when I take the job I would be moving. I invited him to my party that combined my birthday and my going away- he declined the invitation. Without being on purpose I shoulder shrugged his invite to lunch/dinner in honor of my birthday and suggested a date “sometime this week”. He must have not liked that because a date was never arranged.
I have never been in a hurry to accommodate my father or his feelings. I have simply let him be- which comes at a price. It comes at the expense of my tears and frustrations at not understanding him. He has an impeccable timing at sending text messages heavy with guilt ridden stories of my misunderstanding of his role as my father. It’s hard for me to ignore them, and that’s in large part because I don’t address them. Can I truly be OK without him in my life? That’s a pretty tough question to ask, I know. But I tell myself that all the time. I’m fine without him.
Yes, I have memories of him and my family together. Good and bad ones. But it’s not those memories that keep me distant it’s his actions- his lack of being there in times when a daughter needs her father the most. I didn’t have him there. He doesn’t fit in the significant moments in my life. Could it be that he just didn’t know how to be there? I don’t know.
My plan of action: continue ignoring the elephant in the room. You know how I know this will happen… because it’s always been then case. I saw him during my last visit home. I thought he would bring up his text messages and how I didn’t answer to them. I thought he would say, “I’m happy to see you. What a surprise.” I thought he would say, “I’m glad you came to my home which I never gave you the address to.” I thought he would say, “Mija, I would like to talk to you about the messages I sent you.” I thought he would say, “I’m proud of you for taking the job. How’s it going for you?” I thought he would say, “I’m sorry I didn’t help you in any way.” I thought he would say, “I’d like to start fresh with you.”
I should have said something, right? I’m a fully grown woman capable of speaking her mind to her father, right? I suppose. But just like parents say, “you’ll always be my baby.” A father should always be a father and address his children with the concerns that seem to weigh heavy on his conscience. I want to believe myself when I say that I will try to work on that. But, in all honesty, I’ll put it in my mind’s back burner and let it marinade. There will be another message, I’m sure. And I guess the best way to avoid that is to keep some kind of contact with him every once in a while. But how do I make a habit of that? How do I begin to give precedence to someone who’s never really had it?