When I was a little girl, my Dad was the first man I ever loved. He was everything to me. He was a big hairy heavyset warm fluffy kindhearted loving strong teddy bear type. I was in awe of him. There was nothing he couldn’t do. I can remember on Valentine’s day he would bring me some type of cute stuffed animal and a valentine full of chocolates. He would let me stand on his feet and dance with me in the kitchen to Earth Angel by the Penguins. We have several cherished moments like these up until I was around 9 years old.
That’s when things sort of took a dive. My Dad admitted to my Mom that he was having an affair. He was in love with another woman. It hurt my Mom so much. It didn’t hurt her because she was so in love with him or even happy and content with him. It hurt her to know how much she had given herself to him and how she had tolerated his mental abuse for so many years. She cried for days, weeks and months over it. It made her feel like a fool. I can remember her telling me how it made her feel. Let me back up, she didn’t tell me how it made her feel until she found out that my Dad had explained to me what he had done and what was happening in our lives. He admitted to me that he had the affair and had messed up and that Mom was kicking him out. He was explaining it to me in a “poor me” tone.
It’s probably unusual for a nine year old not to judge or fault a parent for their mistakes but I wasn’t angry at him. For some reason, I thought to myself at that young age, “everyone makes mistakes”. I forgave him for his infidelity. I wondered to myself “was it really a mistake?” Why would I not think it was a mistake? Because my parents seemed miserable together my entire childhood. When my Dad tried to dance with my Mom, touch her, joke around with her she seemed very annoyed or as if she was disgusted by him. This was well before he had admitted to having the affair.
I can remember my Dad telling her once that she was frigid. In my eyes, she was when it came to him. I couldn’t understand why she didn’t love Dad the way that most Mom’s loved the Dad’s in my child mind.
Throughout the years growing up I found answers to the issues they had in their relationship. My Mom married my Dad pretty young and wanted an escape from her very strict parents. He was kind, sweet and loved her. He made promises to take care of her and to give her a better life away from the harshness of her parents. She fell hard for him.
Once they married, she said he changed. Controlling, selfish, barbaric, and conceited are just a few words she used to describe him. He was a grocery store manager and worked a minimum of 65 hours a week. He was also a devoted outdoorsman. Hunting and fishing were his life. My Dad’s priorities were work, hunting, fishing, his hunting and fishing buddies and then family.
He wasn’t the same man he proclaimed to be before they married. While they were married I saw the interaction between them. There was a lot of controlling on my Dad’s end of things and he would break her down mentally. He was disrespectful to her and he controlled the money. If she wanted to buy us clothes or even groceries he would give her hell over it. He was the breadwinner and he would interrogate her anytime she wanted to spend any money at all. But when she turned it around on him and his spending on ammunition, fishing lures, hunting gear, etc. he would yell “that puts food on our table!”. She would come back with “you can buy a pack of hamburger meat or fish for a lot less and be able to spend time with your family!”. He would punch a wall or throw something over those fights.
As life continued after he left and got his own place he began a new life. A new life that didn’t spare much time for us kids. He would let us down on several occasions. Whether it was standing us up on a scheduled weekend visit to his place or not paying child support and the power being cut off at our house, it was a struggle for him to be dependable. We were never a priority.
Here’s the thing….. A child has no warning when they’re born that a parent comes with no warning.
He would let myself and my brother down every chance we gave him it seemed like. During my lifetime I had many internal battles with myself. A few issues I had were relationships with men, feeling like I wasn’t enough, infidelity, among other things.
You could say we’re both damaged from his actions. With the damage done, we can either learn from it or dwell on it. I choose not to dwell on it but to learn and grow from it. My Dad’s actions have helped me to be who I am. I’ve definitely made some of the same mistakes he’s made. He’s also the reason why I never had any children. I have a lot of my Dad’s traits and I was afraid I might repeat some of his actions with my child. Not that I’m ruined or I am a horrible person but I couldn’t take that chance.
Beneficial traits from my Dad are tenacity, extrovert, and motivation. I’m thankful for these traits I have from him. I’m even more grateful for my Mom’s traits which are kindness, attentiveness, and generous. I’m content with the combination. It’s taken a long time for me to appreciate the negative experiences with my Dad.
So earlier in this post I referenced my Dad’s affair as a mistake. My Mom and I have had this discussion many times before, Was it really a mistake? In our eyes, it was a breakthrough. It changed our lives for the better. My Mom says “God always has a plan.” Was it God? The universe? Whatever it was, it helped my Mom understand that she is enough and that she deserved a better life, a better man. It helped me to become independent and capable of so much. I have a feeling if my parents would’ve stayed together my life would be pathetic and depressing because I might would’ve winded up marrying a man just like my Dad. Who knows, right?
I’ll close with a few song lyrics that express the emotions I go through from time to time about my Dad. There’s highs and lows and it’s a mixture of feelings. These lyrics, songs, artists have helped me heel in so many amazing ways. And Hey! Thanks for stopping by and reading my thoughts. XO
Song By Halsey – You Should Be Sad
And I had no warnin’
About who you are
I’m just glad I made it out without breakin’ down
And then ran so fuckin’ far
Song By Jessica Andrews – More To Me Than You
I’m not sayin’ I’m batered or bruised
But I might as well be the words that you used
I believe in myself
That makes me stronger
Song By Everclear – Father Of Mine
I remember the blue skies
Walking the block
I loved it when you held me high
I loved to hear you talk
Song By Elton John – I’m Still Standing
Don’t you know I’m still standing better than I ever did
Looking like a true survivor, feeling like a little kid
I’m still standing after all this time
Picking up the pieces of my life without you on my mind
Song By Lady Gaga – Born This Way
I’m beautiful in my way
‘Cause God makes no mistakes
I’m on the right track, baby I was born this way
Song By Rollin’ Stones – You Can’t Always Get What You Want
You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometimes, well, you might find…
You get what you need