It’s Father’s Day this week and the event has brought about a mix of emotions for me. At the centre is the the ongoing issues with my own father.
As a child the relationship with my dad was a difficult one. He didn’t relate well to children. He was impatient and demanding. Sunday’s were for visiting dad and were governed by his moods. He would call to arrange what time he would pick us up and my brothers would always, always comment on what kind of mood he was in. If it was a rare good mood we would all breathe a sign of relief but if he was deemed to be in a bad mood we would all brace ourselves for a difficult day.
He was always late. Always. But if we were even slightly delayed he would blast his horn outside to demand our immediate appearance. My brother would run outside with his shoe laces untied lest we kept him waiting any longer than necessary.
When I became an adult my relationship with my dad changed. He began to treat me more as an equal and I felt that our relationship strengthened. We contacted one another often and developed a good connection. However what I didn’t realise was that that relationship was a ticking time bomb which was to erupt on the day I dared to suggest that he could possibly be any less than perfect.
I was recently told that my brother had suggested he apologise to me to try to build bridges for the issues that have escalated since I became pregnant. I was told that he was horrified by the idea and deemed that he ‘had nothing to apologise for‘ which perplexes me.
Despite the fact that he created a huge drama six weeks after my daughter died. Despite the fact that he bombarded me with emails in order to be right about something so insignificant which pushed me over the emotional edge because he badgered me until I broke and at a time when I had no emotional resources.
Despite the fact that he verbally assaulted Matt in a condemning email all because Matt simply wanted to retrieve some car parts that my dad had taken to the garage in haste. Despite the fact that he persisted to try to blacken Matt’s name by telling our family members that he had wronged him.
Despite the fact that he told my brother I was pregnant, when I specifically requested that he didn’t. Despite the fact that he quashed my request then attacked me for daring to be affronted. He stole what precious beauty I had in being able to share my pregnancy myself and he justified it by telling me it was necessary in case this baby dies too.
Despite the fact that he continues to try to rally support from family members, without care for any rift that that could hypothetically cause between they and I, only with the intention of generating support for his own ego. It seems he would be happy to isolate me from my own family if it meant people would say I was wrong and he was right.
Despite the fact that he plays emotional games by telling me I’ll never hear from him again; Using the threat of disowning me because I will not agree to pretend that he is any less than perfect.
Despite the fact that he has inflicted pain and anguish on me during two of the most emotionally difficult times of my life; First after the death of my daughter when I was emotionally broken and second when I am pregnant and vulnerable.
Where does this leave us? Two of my brothers have made reference to my father’s fragility and advancing age. But do these factors mean I should make allowances for his behaviour? I would say not when it comes at the expense of my emotional health which directly impacts on the baby I’m carrying.
I feel angered that I would ever be expected to make allowances for his ‘fragility’ when I am the one in such a vulnerable position. I am grieving and also pregnant and my father has firmly stomped all over my needs in order to protect his own ego. It feels despicable. unforgivable.
Where does this leave me? Quite honestly it leaves me grieving for the father I thought I had. It leaves me disconnected from my step family at a time when I need all the support I can get. It leaves me feeling disillusioned, angry, let down…sad.
It’s difficult to see the advertisements for Father’s Day. They represent a picture perfect image of the ideal father; responsible, patient, resourceful, doting, caring. I was never under any illusion that my dad was perfect but I never really knew who he was until now…But maybe he never really knew who I was either. I am not someone who will tolerate being treated this way.
In contrast, I think Matthew will make an amazing father. He fits the picture perfect image of the ideal father; responsible, patient, resourceful, doting, caring. For a long time I didn’t really know men like him existed. My ex, along with my dad, was not a family man. I had therefore developed a distorted belief that men weren’t usually family orientated. I never imagined that I’d be in a position where I was planning a family with a partner. I also never imagined being with someone who was so actively involved and supportive of a pregnancy. Matt’s love for the babies we created makes me love him even more.
I imagine Sprocket looking up to his dad, following him into his garage to see what projects he is working on. I imagine Matthew helping with homework, teaching languages, doing gardening and cookery with him. I imagine Sprocket will love his silliness and will learn to be fun loving with a good sense of humour. Matthew is hard working, resourceful, calm; all the traits I would love my son to have.
So this Father’s Day I vow to be happy that my baby will grow up with the kind of father I wish I had. And I will remind myself that despite the disappointment and heartache I feel over the situation with my dad, my life is filled with love and some very special people, and for that I am blessed.