I’m pretty honest on this blog, but there’s something that I’ve kept from all to myself. The time feels right, so I’m going to share the truth: I don’t have a relationship with my father.
I think I’ve mentioned before that my parents divorced when I was 7. It was an ugly divorce, something that I wouldn’t even wish on my worst enemy. My sisters and I had to spend every other weekend with our father for years. They were, without a doubt, the worst weekends of our lives. We’d cry and beg Momma
to let us stay home. I remember being thrilled whenever I was sick because it meant I got to stay home.
I’d like to say that back then, we at least had a good relationship with our dad. But we didn’t. He pushed us to be tomboys, to race go-karts. I hated that. I would much rather spend the day inside with a good book. Sometimes he’d take us go-kart riding and drive faster and faster and I’d be screaming and crying for him to slow down but he’d just speed up.
As we grew up, our already-strained relationship just got even worse. I actually can’t think of a single good memory with him. All I can remember is the few bits of bad parts– the parts I haven’t forced myself to forget, that is. Him yelling and screaming at us, cursing at us over trivial things.
He was supposed to pick us up one weekend in February, I think it was. But he never showed. In fact, I never heard from him again. It turns out, he voluntarily gave up his shared custody with us because he was just tired of being a father. He never understood what it meant to be a good parent, to put your kids before yourself. He didn’t even know me well enough to know I absolutely despise milk in my cereal; I eat it dry with a glass of milk to drink in between mouthfuls.
Honestly, his decision to give up being in my life was the best thing that’s ever happened to me. I was finally able to move on with my life and be a normal happy teenager. I honestly rarely even thought about him.
He’d occasionally try to contact us, like when my Papaw died on my birthday or at the holidays. But what I never expected was him showing up to my high school graduation. I walked up to him, with a scowl on my face, and said “Why the hell are you here?” He didn’t deserve to celebrate my accomplishments. I earned my diploma without any help from him… or his latest wife, who claimed she was so proud of me. (I replied, “Who are you?!”) For someone who was so “proud” of me, he didn’t even clap as my sisters and I walked across the stage.
I haven’t heard from him since that day, other than on my 18th birthday when he and his entire family posted a Happy Birthday message in the newspaper, as a big F-U since he no longer had to pay child support. Supposedly he still tries to Facebook message my sister, but I’ve since blocked him and his entire family so I wouldn’t know.
Mamaw tells me I need to forgive him “or I won’t get into Heaven.” My faith teaches that people can commit horrible sins and still be forgiven, and that I as a Christian need to forgive those who have wronged me. Well, that’s something I just can’t do. The closest I’ve gotten is “Sorry you sucked at being a parent, but look how great I am. I don’t need you.”
Sometimes I worry that he’s found out about my blog. Owensboro is a gossip mill, you know. Sometimes I wonder if he’s reading this little space on the internet, pretending that he knows me. Sometimes it makes me think twice about being a blogger, but I’ve decided to not let him ruin my life. If he wants to pretend reading a website makes him a father, then whatever. I have had other men in my life actually play the father role, like my great-uncle, a professor, and of course my Papaw. They’re the ones I think of on Father’s Day, not a deadbeat loser. And of course, my Heavenly Father.