Posts Tagged ‘fathers’

So as I’ve mentioned before, I’m a product of two people who were very incompatible for a relationship beyond simple dating, but who got pregnant and felt like getting married was the “right thing to do.” My mom and dad had a fun relationship before my mom accidentally got preggers with yours truly. They weren’t serious about starting a family, but once my mom got knocked up, she immediately switched gears and went into responsible parent mode. My dad half-heartedly tried to do that by marrying my mom. Their marriage didn’t last. My mom hated her dress, hated the wedding, hated everything about marrying my dad. She also came to dislike my dad greatly over the 2 years they were married. She divorced his ass because he basically refused to grow up. She had to give up having that young, carefree, early-20’s lifestyle, and he refused to do the same. It was an unbalanced and one-sided relationship. I feel bad for my mom because I experimented with being my dad’s roommate after I graduated high school, and he was a bastard to live with. I was starting college classes at that time, and it’s like no time had passed at all, he was still having that partying lifestyle of going out to the bar with his buddies a few nights a week and coming home late, blaring music late, and keeping me awake so I was all groggy during class. Somehow I put up with living with him for 2 years, though. When I was 20, I moved out, lived with my mom and stepdad again for a summer, then moved into my first apartment with no parental involvement.

My dad would have been fun to hang out with in high school and college if he were my age. But he’s not, he’s my dad. He’s supposed to be responsible. He was around, which is more than I can say for a lot of dads. At least he tried to be semi-involved in me and my sister’s lives (the sister comes from his second marriage, which also dissolved because the woman was tired of his shit). But he still owes both of our moms tons of child support money. My mom just didn’t want the drama of going through a legal battle over it, so she got an affidavit signed saying that since I lived with him for 2 years (by state law here child support has to be paid until the child is 21) she was willing to “call it even.” But my ex-stepmom is a little more bitter about it all, and with good cause. Since my younger sister lives about an hour away from here, my dad wasn’t as involved in her life as he was in mine. Sure, it’s a drive, and it’s gas money, but if he hadn’t spent so much on partying, he’d have had that extra money both to go see her more and to pay child support.

It’s funny how addictions rule our lives and make the lives of others hard to live. Luckily me and sis are both adults now, so we no longer “need” our dad. I do love my dad, but I will confess that I don’t actually “like” him that much. I have the feeling that he was just wanting to rush our childhoods so we’d be old enough to party with him. Confession, I have partied with my dad. It was the only way to really bond with him, it seems. I have wanted a good relationship with him for a long time. I also have a stepdad who I love and admire, who’s been the one to really support me over the years. My mom got lucky with him. He’s cool and loving, but he’s also stable and responsible, all positive elements to form a good, family situation. And they love each other. I don’t think my mom and bio-dad were ever actually in love.

My dad still drinks very frequently (although he claims he’s not an alcoholic because he doesn’t keep booze in the house, just goes out – denial!!) and spends most of his free time with his friends partying. He also brags about me and my sister to his friends, sometimes outright taking the credit for how cool and smart we both turned out. That makes me mad, because we saw him twice a month for most of our lives even though he had many other opportunities to visit with both of us on days separate from our “allotted visitation times.” Both my mom and my sis’s mom were really open to him spending even more time with us during the weekdays after school, etc. He likes to pretend that the courts took time away from him, but it was himself who did so because he couldn’t get loaded around us.

Also, he ran himself into a ton of credit card debt over the years because he felt this compulsion to try and buy our love by having a zillion presents under the tree at Christmas and lavishing us with “cool gifts” on our birthdays and going all-out. Even as a little kid I knew the truth, knew his income wasn’t good enough to be doing this. It made me sad to get these presents in the end because I knew what was really going on. Both my sister and I were aware of the child support situation all through our lives. Dad justified being late on the payments in many ways. He mostly blamed the fact that he’s single (although he spent a good 10+ years in various, and yes failed, relationships) and only makes one person’s income. He blamed the economy. He blamed everything except for personal responsibility. If he’d not run up credit card debt for presents for us, or spent a good hundred bucks per week on partying, he’d have been able to make bills, buy food for himself, and pay our child support. It’s simple priorities. Most people can switch off the selfish when they have kids, but he chose not to.

This isn’t whining or saying, “poor me.” I know other kids have it worse than me. Cause at least I know my dad does love me and my sister. But at this point neither side makes much of an effort to keep in touch or hang out more often than the allotted holidays and birthdays. You could compare it to the chicken and the egg…who stopped making an effort first, the dad or the kids? He likes to blame us, and we like to blame him. I know I could call him more often, but I don’t. Because I really, when I truly think about it, don’t like hanging out with my dad for longer than an hour or two at a time. He’s “cool” and all, but that’s not what I ever wanted from a father. I have cool friends, damnit. I mean, I understand when you’re an adult you forge a friendship with your parents instead of it being so parent-child, but since I never got the latter from him, I resent the friendship thing. Plus, he’s kind of dumb, which I suspect is from years of killing his brain cells. He was never a brilliant genius to begin with, but I remember him being way sharper even just 5 years ago, and more willing to discuss things like politics and current events. He now quickly changes the topic when we go there because he “hates politics” which to me means he fails to keep himself informed of what’s going on in the world. He also has the nerve to call himself an “old hippie.” First, he’s more a product of the 70’s “let’s just fucked up until we fall over” culture, not a “hippie.” To me, a hippie cares about world affairs, is well informed about current events, and wants to change the world for the better. He’s more interested in the self-centeredness of getting wasted, and since he has some more liberal points of view I guess that makes him, in his eyes, a “hippie.”

I love my dad, but I don’t love his actions. I also don’t really like him that much. Also, every time he’s seen me and I’ve lost more weight, he goes on about how pretty I look. I want to be like, “so were you ashamed of how I looked before or something?” I know he’s just trying to compliment me, but it kind of pisses me off because while I personally enjoy the vanity aspect of it, it’s not the most important thing. Furthermore, I’ve accomplished way more than losing weight, but the weight loss thing is all he notices these days. My dad has always been self-righteous about weight even though he himself is consistently overweight. Beer = liquid calories and he won’t give it up. He also overeats. He’s never gotten over 250 lbs, but has a signature beer gut. Furthermore, my much healthier uncle had a heart attack in his 50’s, and he was way healthier than my dad then, so if my dad is pretty unhealthy, what are his odds of suffering the same fate, especially with a big belly? And he continues his bad habits with no regard to how my sister and I will have to deal with it if he gets sick or the unthinkable happens. Selfish. But when I was really overweight the first time around, he always made comments about it, told me what I should do, etc. If he had been the perfect picture of health, I’d have taken his words way more seriously. When he finally stopped hounding me about it is when I finally decided to do it for myself the first time around. I wasn’t a child anymore living at home when I gained all the weight back, though, so he didn’t gripe at me about it then. He doesn’t remember hounding me about it the first time. Ha. I mean, it’s one thing to be concerned about an obese or overweight relative, friend, or spouse. And I think it’s okay to bring it up in a loving manner. I like My Fat Spouse for this reason. BUT, the way he always brought it up was tactless, accusatory, and hypocritical. I know a lot of people who are confronted about their weight even in a loving manner often take it as those things, but I can assure you he really was those things. And like I said, if he were a fit person who took care of his health, I’d have taken him way more seriously. Also, I had to confront my own issues myself. It took me a second time (this time around) to learn all the lessons I need. Sometimes people do have to find their own way in their own time. What I find funny is that the first time I lost a lot of weight I was still living with him. He’d come home and see me exercising and make fun of the exercises I was doing…so I got a very conflicting message from him. Argh!!!! fuckfuckfuckfuckfuck!!!!

This is why I don’t hound the people in my life about their weight. If they ask me what I do, I will tell them. I will live by example. I will share things if I’m asked. But I will never, ever be the way my dad was to me to other people in my life. I feel hurt when a relative chooses their love of food (or alcohol, or anything self-destructive) over their love for their family, but in the end it’s really up to them to change. That’s how I feel with my dad’s drinking and unhealthy lifestyle. If that’s what he wants to do to himself, it’s his business, but I’m not going to necessarily clean up his mess either. I’m not endowed with a lot of money myself, so if he needs special care over the years, he’s probably not going to get the best available. I’ll definitely make sure he’s taken care of as an old person, and I’ll visit him regularly enough to assure that he’s being taken care of. But when he mentions things like me or my sister taking him in as an old man to keep him out of the nursing home, I’m like, “no, I’m never living with your crazy ass again.” And I don’t think I’m a bad kid for this, and neither is my sister. I’ll do my part to make sure he’s in good conditions wherever he stays as an old person, but I will not let his guilt trips play upon my mind. I really don’t owe this man a thing, including grandchildren. He’s always going on about how he wants grandchildren. I cannot guarantee at this point in my life that I plan on even having kids, and neither can my sister. I don’t feel like it’s fair for him to pressure us to procreate in such a fucked up, scary, unstable world. I haven’t found a stable enough life partner to consider doing this, and I also don’t really like kids enough to want any of my own. I like them, but I like to take them back. I feel like I’m better off being honest about this than forcing myself to say I’ll have kids. My sister is a lesbian. While the tides may turn and allow her and a partner to adopt more easily, or conceive through artificial insemination, she’s in her very early 20’s, in college, and has not even thought about that yet as she’s focused on her career goals and putting a life together for herself. I feel like that sort of pressure is very unfair.

All that being said, both my sister and myself have a guilt complex about it and always feel a compulsion to say, “I love him, but…” But here’s the thing, it’s already a given that we love our dad, but we are not obligated to like him, nor are we obligated to support his bad behaviors. We are also not obligated to go out of our way to support him as an elderly person when he seemed to go out of his way to avoid his parental obligations when we were children. I do feel obligated to make sure he doesn’t suffer any abuse in a retirement home situation, the nurses are kind to him, his hygiene and nutritional needs are met, he has decent entertainment options, and I will visit him as frequently as possible. But honestly he seems to want to dig his grave with beer bottles and cigarettes and bad food. He may live a long time despite these habits, and he may not. I really do want him to stay around longer, honestly, because as much as I go on about how much I dislike him, I hold some small amount of hope that he’ll get his head out of his ass one day and listen to me long enough to try and repair our relationship, and that one day I will actually like my dad again.

I did this post on this blog because only one person from my real life reads this, and I like the anonymous sounding board this blog creates. People who know me well hold biases, and people who don’t, do not. Thanks for reading if you got this far. I don’t really want sympathy or anything, I’ll just be happy if people listened so I know I’m not in the wrong for feeling this way.

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