I can barely remember celebrating Father’s Day. I don’t know if it’s because of my age at the time or if it never happened. I have never felt the need to give my father affection and a gift to top it all off. After my sixteen years of living with my father and two without, I can’t think of much good that came out of our relationship.
When I was a little girl, I spent a lot of time with him and things were great. As soon as it became apparent that I was more into fashion, literature, and makeup I was left in the dark so he could take my brothers hunting and fishing. I tried hard to pretend to like these things when I was younger but I had a hard time compressing myself into the mold of perfect daughter. I instead hung out my mother and we and my twin brother (more on him later) took frequent trips to Indianapolis to shop. He went to work and tensions were high. I was being neglected and I was starting to crack.
I was bullied after moving schools my sixth grade year. I have never been in a new school and the mean girls were the first ones to take me under their wing. As soon as they saw my quirks and had glimpses into my home life, I was deemed annoying and a toy to play with. By the time I again moved schools with those same girls, things got worse. I starting self harming. I started skipping class. I ended up studying independently at home. By December of my seventh grade year, I was hospitalized for severe depression and self inflicted wounds.
Where was Mom? She was right there. My father, not so much. The one time be came to visit me during my first hospitalization I only became more speculative about my parents getting divorce. I never truly got a talk with him, I was never given any emotional support. He told me there was no reason to be the way I was and that the problem was not mental illness, but a mere thought. I was vying for attention and nothing else. I was a narcissist, according to him.
Two months later, I was in the hospital again. There, I met a man who would change my life forever. He’s the man I consider my ultimate father figure. I met him in the rec room in the hospital and he was teaching us about expressing our emotions more freely and willingly. We wrote things on the board about when we felt very happy and very sad. He had an intern who read these things to him in a soft, almost silent whisper. Why? He was (and still is) blind.
His loss of sight didn’t hinder his ability to get me talling in therapy. We bonded even more when I played Led Zeppelin the next day in the rec room. He smoothly guided my mother and uninterested through family therapy and my final release from the hospital. Before long, he was my family therapist in “the real world”. I had a whole arnsenal of supporters now, even if it was just two or three people. I was ready to go back to high school full time.
While my family therapist started to work with us, I mentioned numerous things that happened in my house. My father was authoritative while my mother was protective. It was hard to tell which end of the stick I would get on what day and I would always be unprepared for what awaited me. That year was rough with my father, like most, and I only saw him in therapy one time. By then, I was the caregiver of six cats and they too were victims. It was the first time ever animals were ever involved in a punishment.
I had met and fell in love with a beautiful stray cat my freshman year. I ran after her in my yard despite my father’s wishes and fed her before went to school. She would be waiting with a dead mouse on the back porch when I got home. My father wasn’t there much and I found this cat to be the best friend I’ll ever have. To get on with the story, I’ll tell you this cat is still with me and so are her kittens. In the beginning of 2014, the new year, she had 5 kittens. I still own three.
I don’t remember what I did wrong after the birth of the kittens. I only remember apologizing and crying my eyes out. My father was very angry about what I did and threatened to take one of the kittens to the bathroom and to flush her down the toilet. He even pretended to do it while I was huddled in my mother’s arms, sobbing. He slept on the couch for a week and I had to try and forgive him. He was going nowhere.
Afterwards, I recall needing to borrow his cheek phone charger. It had a twist tie wrapped around it, and I had lost it, as a teenager would do. I figured that “it’s okay! He can get another one when we get some bread at the store.”
Oh boy, I was wrong. An arguement escalated to the point of being physical, with his fingers around my neck. It still wasn’t enough to make mother leave him though. I was saddened.
Then, the next year, God blessed me. My mother found out he was cheating and he was kicked out of the house. Things got quiet. Punishments were no more, a blast in the past. I took a sigh of relief, but it was not over.
There was family therapy, when even my therapist himself ghoughg was hopeless. There was my lack of visitations, which came with a looming threat of a court date (which never happened before I was an adult). Finally, there was the last straw. I was eighteen before I was finally forced to visit him again.
It was awkward. I missed my grandparents and uncle on his side very much. It was nice seeing them. He was happier without us, and I didn’t know whether I found it comforting or horrifying.
Even with a tinge of reconciliation, I can’t find myself thinking of him today. My therapist is the man that comes to mind. His insight has led me through everything high school had to throw at me. He’s leading me through college and he will lead my through life until he can’t anymore. I’m so thankful for him and his family for giving me the love I lost years ago.
My father is not going to get the same sentiment. As our memories, good and bad, come to mind, I can’t think of anything I did wrong (other than being a child, of course) that would have made my father so resentful. I still can’t wrap my mind around it sometimes.
To this day, if he says something to me, I don’t know if I’m good enough. All of my awards in writing and reading are shrugged off. My kittens, which I proudly raised up, don’t make him bat an eye. The set work I did for the school drama club has also been unseen.
Will I be thinking of my father? Of course. Will I be celebrating the years we spent together? No. Not everyone gets to live with good parents and not everyone even has parents. I wrote so much about my own personal life to bring light to those everywhere who cannot enjoy today (or Mother’s Day) It’s not easy to see children happy with their parents as an adult. I get jealous and long for what I never had.