Me and my Dad

I have a very simple and very complex relationship with my father. On one hand he failed to protect me from my mother’s illness and my perpetrators when I was a kid. On the other band, we now talk almost every day, chit chat mostly. It’s a kind of a buddy thing really.

When I was growing up my father was really not around. He traveled and was home only on the weekends for my early childhood, so frankly he was a scary stranger. He would always bring me a present. Which is why I am overly generous today. Not the worst trait to hand down. Control aspects and all.

My father was born about a year before his father up and left the family of 5 young kids and a pregnant mom. In the middle of a
Northern Maine winter. The family squatted in a little unheated cabin on some cousin’s land. After the baby was born the kids were split up and passed around to various of my grandma’s sisters. Pretty fucking awful, pretty fucking poor.

When my father was about 12 or so his mother married the man for whom she was keeping house. Pete had 4 kids of his own and was one of the richest men in rural New England. It was a farm life that was very hard on dad. He disliked Pete tremendously. The family history is that he was picked onmercilessly by Pete and his boys because he was a smart and bookish kid. Not at all into farm chores for daddy so Pete had to toughen him up. His mother and stepfather had a girl of their own. Yes, that’s eleven kids on one 300-acre working farm. Pete was independently wealthy so income from the farm was neither here nor there really, but that’s what there was to do up there. And so.

Ashland Maine was not the best place to get a fine education. There were I believe 25 kids in his graduating class. When henwas a sophomore henstarted going out with my mother. They were the FFA king and queen his senior year.

They kept contact after he moved away (read escaped) to go to a small college outside Chicago. An aunt lived near there, so he picked up and left. He came home for summer break after that first year, after mom graduated from High, got pregnant hence married and he took her back to college with him.

My father went full-time tomschool and full-time worked at a
Department store to keep his family going. After he graduated he had abit of trouble getting an accounting job. Once he landed one they decided to have another kid and that’s how I was born.

As years went on my father worked his ass off for his family. It’s hard to resent him for his absence because he was determined that his kids would have a better life than he had.

As time went on dad changed jobs several times. Always up. By the time I was ten we were living in a newly built huge place. Mom wanted it so she got it. Pretty much how things went.

As dad’s wealth grew so did the spoilage factor. I had a motorcycle when I was eleven. I got whatever I wanted and more. Not that I remember any of it really. All I knew was that money bought a calmer mom and that’s the most important thing too.

I went away to school after high. North Carolina. Far far away. I can’t say that dad and I faded away because there wasn’t so much of a relationship there to begin with. His time went to taking care of mom, working, and mom mom mom mom mom.

I remember reading aloud with him every night that he was home. I remember watching documentaries on just about anything. I remember him sitting down me and my sister and telling us that we could do anything we wanted to in life. We should never allow our gender to stop us. Which in those days was pretty radical. Dad was the first feminist I ever knew.

After my mother died, the day after I took 102 pills and tried to die myself, dad and I started chatting. We got into the habit of talking every day in those days that were such a mess. We were utterly unable to help one another in our grieving. Me grieving for the me who didn’t die, him for his partner. But we got into this habit of chatting every day and it’s been going on for ten years.

My father has taken care of me financially for years. He got me into an inpatient facility in Arizona. He bailed me out of nearly a hundred grand in bills so I didn’t have to file bankrupcy when I couldn’t keep my business going anymore. He’s supporting me now as I struggle to ge back to working fulltime in my biz.

And now he’s buying me a car. And I don’t feel guilty one tiny bit. Iearned from my father that you take care of people. I learned that he failed miserably with me. So to assume a financial burden for a daughter who can hardly take care of herself is just what he does.

I remember one day, waiting in terror for my dad to get home. I must have been around seven or so. Mom had decided that I HD offended her in some way. She told me
That dad was going to spank me when he got home. In the 60’s this is what one did. He knocked and came into my room. Told me to go over his knee. I laid there, waiting to get smacked on the butt. It didn’t come. After a few minutes he said just get up. When I looked at his face he was streaming in tears. He hugged me and said I’m so sorry honey. Over and over again.

Me and my dad. He told me today that he is prouder in me and my bravery than had I been elected Preaident. Me and my dad.

It’s so simple and so complex.

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4 Comments

  1. kris said,

    May 13, 2010 at 4:30 pm

    Such a beautiful tribute to a relationship. You two have been through so much together. I read heartfelt mutual respect. Take note of this. Mental illness didn’t sour it. Sounds like your dad is your best ally. Use him when you are way down. With his love, he will want to pull you up.
    Don’t forget that he “gets it” when you are so low like you have been recently, where you think no one can possibly understand. I really sounds like he does. You are so lucky.
    xx kris

  2. May 13, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    Awww that’s nice. Thank you. We have been thru alot. I don’t share alot with him but I think he knows enough to know I hurt ;). Thank you

  3. Ravin said,

    May 13, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    Gal this is such a cool thing, not the hurtful part but the being there for you.

    We have sort of the same deal with our father but w/o the financial stuff cuz he’s poor as sandy dirt. Growing up he was always away, organizing unions so totally unaware of what was happening to us. From him we learned ethics and working for those with less.

    It’s always stumped our TDs how we didn’t hold him totally responsible getting angry all over him. We love the guy and when it counted in adulthood he was there when an X tried to kill us he stepped in on our side. We chat as well most everyday.

    All that is to say we get it.
    Ravin

  4. May 13, 2010 at 5:54 pm

    Yeah. I’m glad I am not the only one who talks to daddy alot ;). We’ve been thru some tough stuff. For what he started with he’s come a long way. Coolness. Thanks hon.


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