Sunday, October 16, 2011

An Amazing Day: Only Took 7 Years

 Dad and I after 7 years
 Sis, Bro-bot, Dad and Me

All the Grandbabies!

This Thanksgiving would have been exactly 7 years since the last time I saw my dad. During that time, my parents were going through a nasty divorce and I was being blamed for taking my mom's side if I even so much as talked to her. My dad was stressing me out so badly over a divorce he very much did NOT want, that I started experiencing panic attacks when he would call. Our relationship became very toxic to my emotional health, but still I kept trying to reason with him. I got counseling and still tried reasoning with him. Finally, at our last holiday together for a very long time(at the time I had no idea it would be), my dad told me he no longer could talk to me if I was going to continue talking to my mom. That was completely unfair. My mom and I have had our differences, but to blackmail out of a relationship with her??? I told him that if he really felt that way that he shouldn't call me anymore because I had no intention of ending my relationship with my Mom just because he said so.

So years have passed. I have been very sad, angry and hurt over this "little" issue and had my moments of crying. Yet, I had also sort of written him off as if he were dead because my dad is the kind of man who doesn't change his mind when he makes a decision like that. Fast forward to now; my grandpa died a month ago. It was hard on my dad as he was his caregiver and I think mortality is hitting him directly in the face. My entire family got together for the funeral Friday. I was invited and did not go. I think part of it was fear. I couldn't handle going and being rejected all over again. I didn't want to revisit that wound. I just couldn't.

Yesterday morning, my brother calls and says he is BBQing and asks me to come and see my dad. Deep down I desperately wanted to, but I was so scared he would be mean or reject me again. My sister was there though and she also had not seen him for 7 years and she said that I really should come. So, I went. It was an extremely emotional reunion. It was something I never expected to happen in my lifetime and yet as angry as I have been, I felt it all melt away when he embraced me and sobbed. I cried and clung to him, my dad, aged, grey, changed and yet comfortably the same familiar person he always was growing up. He followed me around and asked everything he could think of about my life and the kids. He genuinely seemed sorry and sad for all the time lost, all the missed births of children(including Jaxxon who was born 6 weeks early and landed my dads birthday), the holidays.......everything. I felt his sorry, he didn't even need to say it. We joked with each other just like old times. I introduced all the kids one by one and most were stand-offish. He's a stranger to my kids. It's gonna take much more time for them than it did for me. They haven't known him all these years. Kayla was 4 the last time she saw him so she said she kind of remembered him, but even still, she wasn't enthusiastic to go hang out with Grandpa too much. They were all polite, but uninterested. It wasn't an old familiar face for them and that makes me sad, but I hope that one day he will be.

I just hope he will never make the decision to reject us from his life again. I couldn't take it. It was an amazing day with a lot of tears, but I am so grateful for the chance. I am really hoping to spend more time with him this week before he goes back to his home in Arizona. I also hope to have this Thanksgiving together with him as it will be our first in 7 years. Looking forward to the new future and best of all, he will know this new baby from birth! Soon enough, I think he will become a household name:) least I hope.

1 comment:

Turandot said...

Wow, Janis, how wrong and unfair for your father to emotionally blackmail you with the "it's either me or her" attitude during an ugly divorce. This is a dirty tactic even when done to an adult child of divorce. Can you imagine how much worse you probably would have felt if this happened to you when you were a young child without the life skills to cope with such manipulation?

I don't know the particulars of why your mother divorced him, but if this behavior is any indication of your father's personality, I can't blame her.

Also, you said your dad "seemed" sorry and regretful about all the lost time w/o you and his grandchildren but remember that these feelings were triggered by the death of his own father and may just be a reaction to that. Until he clearly expresses his sorrow and apologies for this immature and un-fatherlike behavior, I would take all this with a grain of salt.