July 27, 2006

“…perhaps that all parents should merit some kind of respect, whether or not they have raised you to be the person that you are. I do not want or deserve your honor, but at least the respect that comes with my age. Without respect, we are just total strangers in the slow lane getting the finger as you speed on by.

Where do we go from here, I do not know, I only know that it will take some time to heal the wounds.”

The above was sent to me from my father in June of 2003, shortly after he had discovered my online journal and read an entry I had posted which contained unpleasant comments about his wife. We haven’t talked since.

My father and I have been estranged for most of my life. My parents divorced when I was very young, and he left our home town in Virginia for New Mexico, where he still lives today. Other than a few awkward phone calls and some wildly age-inappropriate gifts during holidays (in particular, I remember a jigsaw puzzle made up of maybe 5 large pieces; the picture was of a yellow duckling with the text “Have a Ducky Day!” curving overhead. It was the sort of thing you would give to a very small child or perhaps a mentally handicapped adult. I was in middle school at the time) we had virtually no contact while I was growing up.

In 1998 or so, I struck up a tentative email correspondence with him. As the months went by he wrote chatty letters on everyday topics; he gave me thrifty tips on household upkeep, he told me not to trade in my car but rather to “drive it until the wheels fall off”. When JB and I married in 2001, I invited my father and his wife – no small overture, as the wedding was tiny and intimate – and they attended.

In 2003 he came to our house in Bellevue with his wife, I’ll call her Sally, and stayed for a couple days. It was a stilted, uncomfortable visit. I didn’t speak much with my father in the wake of Sally, whose high-maintance behavior dominated their collective presence. She was picky, demanding, and overly reliant on my father, who catered to her every whim.

One evening I stayed up talking with her after my father and JB had gone to bed, and the conversation veered into the uncomfortable territory of religion. She was horrified to learn I was not a Christian, and her tone became zealous. Didn’t I feel the giant hole in my life, she asked. Didn’t I know there was something missing. She told me, you need to spend some quality time down on your knees.

Well. I was angry. I asked her how she dared to criticize my life. As a guest in my house, I said, my voice shaking. How dare you.

I don’t know if I would react the same way today. Maybe I would be more patient. Maybe I would be able to say something like, hey, you have your beliefs and I have mine. Let’s change the subject. Maybe. But at the time I was furious, I was filled with righteous indignation and disbelief. Her presence that weekend impacted my feelings toward my father; I saw him as a weak man who lived to shelter his wife from the smallest discomfort (on one occasion she covered her eyes and practically screamed in a restaurant when her salad arrived with olives – “What are those, get them off, get them OFF!” – and I watched with cranked eyebrows as he patiently picked them out for her).

I was disappointed the visit didn’t go better. I was still reeling from being accused of having a hole in my life, probably in part because I knew I did have a hole in my life, that hole was called alcoholism and getting down on my fucking knees wasn’t going to do a thing about it.

So I wrote about the visit on my journal. I wrote about the things Sally said and did, I wrote about the awkwardness with my father, I wrote that the only quality time I was going to spend on my knees was gardening or delivering blow jobs to my husband.

A few short days after his visit, my father googled the term “marionberry margarita” and found my journal. He read the one entry in my entire journaling history that guaranteed hurt feelings for him. He wrote me a scathing message full of anger and betrayal. I responded, in part:

“…there’s a REASON those words are in a diary and not being spoken to you. They are personal. They are uncensored. They are words recorded off the top of someone’s head, without going through the typical editing wringer we all apply in our daily lives. They are opinions and thoughts that may be in my mind one day, but not the next.

…I cannot say that the things I write in that diary are lies, or meant only to entertain others. Nothing I write there is meant to hurt anyone.”

He wrote:

“I realize that your diary is personal, but is it not posted on the internet for all to read? Do you not ask for comments or to be sent a latest issue? You lose the right to say that it is anonymous.”


“I do feel like we had a much better relationship at your wedding when I had all of about five minutes with you. And, just maybe we should have just stayed apart.”

Sally lost both her children when they were young adults, under separate but sudden and tragic circumstances. Her daughter had some sort of cardiac event in her late twenties and withered away in a nursing home for years in a vegetative state, until Sally chose to allow her to die. They stopped liquids and her daughter lived for days with Sally at her side, before finally, finally escaping her ruined body. She left behind two small children.

I am a parent now and I can begin to imagine the depth of Sally’s sorrow. What would losing Riley, now or later in life, do to my mind? Maybe I would become fragile, strangely dependent on my partner, easily upset by small things. Maybe I would rely on my spiritual faith to a point where it is threatening to me that other people don’t share my beliefs.

If I could go back in time and not post that entry. If I could have been more considerate in my assessment of her. But here we are. The words have been written, the damage has been done.

When I was in high school, I landed myself in the hospital as the result of a suicide attempt. My mother thought it was serious enough to let my father know. I don’t remember if she called him, or what he may have done afterwards, but I do remember the card I received in the mail shortly thereafter. The front showed a devil, a red cartoon guy with pitchfork and horns, and said “THANKS”. The inside read: “A HELL OF A LOT!” He added his own text, which I will paraphrase: “For all the cards and letters over the years, for all the phone calls…you think you can just watch MTV and hum your way through life, but you can’t.”

This he mailed to a miserable, fucked-up teenager who had just swallowed a fistful of pills and hacked open her wrist with a steak knife.

I am not blameless in this by any means. I should never have posted that journal entry, I could have been more apologetic in my response and maybe we’d be talking today. But while being Riley’s mother has wrought unexpected, amazing changes in my heart, made me a stronger, more generous person, on the subject of my father I have only grown more bitter.

“You were 4 years old and it broke my heart to leave you. But, I could not stay around. The commonweath of Virginia requires a 12 month separation before divorce is legal and final. New Mexico was where I needed to be to lick my wounds. Both of my parents were born here and it seem a natural place to go. It was my decision to move away.”

He left, and he didn’t come back, he didn’t really call or keep in touch. He left, and I don’t care how many wounds he had, I don’t give a shit about any of his pitiful little circumstances, the fact is that he left. When I think about that today it fills me with poison, because I look at Riley and my head simply doesn’t have room for the giant gaping question of how he could have left his own child. I hardly remembered him when I was growing up, he caused no pain to me back then, but now that I hold my own baby in my arms I am resentful. I am angry. I think, maybe I didn’t turn into the sort of person worth his effort to make a relationship with, but back then I was just a little kid, I was all promise and possibility.

While I recognize that journal entry was hurtful, he tossed our relationship aside so quickly as a result. He just…wrote me out of his life after that. I don’t even want Riley to know him, because Riley has no shortage of family members who love him and care for him and will always, always be there for him, no matter what.

Today my father either has no idea that Riley exists, or he sits back and silently reads about his only grandchild on this web page.

Every day with JB and Riley I get to see fatherhood at its most ideal, its most picture-perfect. I see a man who would never leave his child, no matter what happened in his marriage. I see a man whose values and strength and humor and presence will guide Riley throughout his life. I feel phenomenally lucky.


100 Responses to “Arterial byways”

  1. bee on June 28th, 2006 3:30 am

    No, he tossed away the relationship when he left. He was an adult, you were four. There is a difference. Whatever came after, he left first. I thnk maybe he will never get over the guilt, and you know how some people handle guilt. Lashing out at the person that they have hurt. So. I’d say “just let it go” but it isn’t that easy. He is making his choices, you’ll make yours. He is who he is, you are who you are. You have control over one of those situations. Do the best you can to avoid bitterness. And keep up the grand job you are doing of being you! Now I must go and begin moving all our low-lying posessions to higher ground. We are about to get massive flooding again, after a year’s respite. Geh. At least it’s time off from Workplace!

  2. emily on June 28th, 2006 4:54 am

    what a beautiful entry. i’m lucky enough to count my father among one of my best friends, and i don’t realize from day to day just how lucky i am. but good for you that you picked a husband so different from your father. though your father left you to find out what a good man is, you found one, and the fact that you recognize that is the luckiest of all.

  3. Kelly on June 28th, 2006 5:11 am

    I think that a parent who can leave their child just must not be a fully realized adult. And I doubt very much that fully realized adults can go back and consider their part in the breakdown of a relationship- or weigh the words and actions that contributed to the fall-out.

    That you can reconsider Sally? Amazing, generous, fully realized. Your father and Sally at this point? So, so cowardly.

    I’m sorry for the poison, the bitterness. I’m glad Riley will never know it.

  4. ang on June 28th, 2006 6:26 am

    I relate to this deeply. Your entry made me cry. My mom committed suicide when I was pregnant with my daughter. My alcoholic father walked away from the funeral and disappeared. He did not return until 8 years later (last summer) and then only came home to die, after suffering a massive stroke. Left behind in the carnage, I have an ex-hippie religious zealot for a biological mother that I mistakenly tried to form a relationship with now that I have a daughter with no maternal grandparents. Unfortunately that was a mistake I can never, ever take back as now my daughter loves her crazy-ass, addicted to pills, zealot grandmother who flakes and never calls. Luckily I have the most wonderful husband in the world who is helping me find a way to weed this woman out of our lives without leaving emotional damage to our child. Lesson learned: shitty parents do not necessarily deserve to BE grandparents. Guard closely those who enter Riley’s life, as I’m sure he’s much, much better off never knowing your asshole father.

    Question: I feel guilt for not having a close, nurturing relationship with the woman who gave birth to me. Guilt for not having respect for her, or love, or any desire to ever see her again. Did you have those feelings? How did you work through them? I’m still working on mine.

  5. CK on June 28th, 2006 7:20 am

    Just have to say that I admire your honesty, your ability to walk through all the difficult part of these emotions and come out on the other side with perspective and integrity. I admire that – I know that doesn’t make moments you may have any easier, but you have just given a lot of people strength. Thanks.

    Keep writing – your amazing. Good luck to you and way to go on focusing on the RIGHT things (like your beautiful son and wonderful husband)!

  6. Amy on June 28th, 2006 7:34 am

    Wow. You’re a fantastic writer and a beautiful human. Thank you for sharing. I think I love you a little bit.

  7. Kristin on June 28th, 2006 7:38 am

    Wow Sundry, I’m so sorry. Similar circumstances here. After my parents’ divorce my father and I maintained a decent relationship for a couple of years. He always had a violent temper (one of the clearest memories I have of him is of him throwing a television set), but we tried to stay connected. Then when I was about 11, he just stopped showing up. No phone calls, no letters, nothing, he just didn’t show up to pick me up on our days together. He would occasionally re-emerge with gifts or send a long, tearful letter about how awful his life was, but you know what? It was too late by then. I was a young woman by then, and old enough to understand what the word abandoned means. To her credit, my mother always encouraged me to see him if I wanted to, but I was done. I haven’t seen or heard from him in about seven years now, when I got a weepy letter right before my high school graduation.

    Usually I don’t give it a second thought. But sometimes, every now and then, it hits me, and I cry so hard and I end up gasping for air. He left me, and I was a little girl. He left me, and then turned the rest of his family against me when I didn’t want to see him years later. He left me, and the last time I saw my grandmother was in a courthouse at a child support hearing when I was 17. He left me. And then I cry some more.

    Sometimes, despite all of the hurt, all of the pain, I stop and wonder about my father. But then I look at my stepfather, my Daddy, and I remind myself that I don’t need to look for what I already have. Fate or God or Something had a real Dad out there for me, I just had to wait a few years to find him. He married my mother when I was twelve, he gave me a little sister, and if there’s one thing he’s taught me it’s that family is not defined by blood, it is defined by love.

    I’m so sorry.

  8. Caitlin on June 28th, 2006 7:38 am

    Sundry–this is, IMO as the kids say, the best entry of yours I’ve ever read. Thank you so much for consistently and beautfiully sharing the challenges and successes of your life.

    And Sundry’s Dad: If you are shadily reading this somewhere, nurturing the voyeur within, I dare you to respond with as much candor and grace. Read all the comments above. THIS is whay the diary is posted for the damn world to see–because we are deeply moved and changed for the seeing.

  9. Jenine on June 28th, 2006 7:40 am

    What a moving and thought provoking entry. You deserve to be treated with respect and with caring. When an individual is weak they sometimes lack the resources to treat others gently. Not an excuse, just a fact.

    I am the mother of two kids under 5. Becoming a mother has brought me that emotional unfolding/roller-coaster-ride that you know about. When I was getting to know my first baby I started imagining myself as a baby. Wondering about my experiences during those first two years that I can’t remember. I had good parents and have had a pretty easy life. But I felt so vulnerable about the baby I had been. I wanted to shield and comfort my baby and I wanted to know that I had been shielded and comforted. It’s a strange journey. I have found that I am harder on myself than anyone else in the world. When in contrast I feel protective and nurturing toward myself I leave some of my neurosis behind. I’m so glad that you and your husband have a relationship of love and growth.

    That’s enough gooey stuff. Rock on. And let’s have more stories about lube and porn!

  10. Pete on June 28th, 2006 8:31 am

    Great post.

  11. cbrooks on June 28th, 2006 8:33 am

    This was an awesome entry. I love the way you write straight from the heart. And you are right, he used your diary entry to end the relationship very quickly. Don’t blame yourself…he was looking for any reason (no matter how small) because he is too weak to admit that he should ask for your forgiveness.

  12. Alex on June 28th, 2006 8:38 am

    I kinda want to hug you right now.

  13. Steph on June 28th, 2006 8:52 am

    Thank you for sharing that part of your life. I could have written the same thing almost word for word – excellent husband/father, incredible child and the asshole dad who, even though I haven’t spoken to in years, still rises up from the depths of my memories to fuck with my head from time to time.

    All I can say is we are very lucky to have built the lives we have now and fortunate enough to appreciate it for the treasure that it is.

    It’s funny, but my Dad said something to me very similar about wanted respect. He was pissed when I told him respect is earned, not someting you get for being a irresponsible sperm donor. You’re an awesome person and terrific mother and I have the greatest respect you – because you EARNED it.

  14. dorrie on June 28th, 2006 9:04 am

    Isn’t it crazy how motherhood forces you to evaluate your upbringing? Oh, and also all the issues that you have regarding your parents. L, I hardly ever comment but this post was so eloquent and real, and I know it cost you hours of time to write it. You are allowed to be angry! The fact that you are using your negative experience to be a better person and foment personal growth shows the world how much more mature, actuallized, and stable you are compared to your father. Not that it’s a contest, because nobody wins….well, except Riley. And you. And JB. Take care.

  15. Kristen on June 28th, 2006 9:50 am

    Thank you for letting us be in on this part of your life. I hope your father read it, too.

    I think that one of the things children do is hurt their parents, intentionally and unintentionally. And that one of the most crucial roles of a parent is to “be the grown-up”: put those hurts in perspective, focusing on how much more important the relationship is than the occasional hurt feeling. Your dad is failing in this role.

  16. Allie on June 28th, 2006 11:36 am

    I have never commented in your blog before and I’ve been reading it since Dairyland but this post? I just had to say something. I think that you are an amazing person and Riley and JB are so lucky to have you in their lives!

  17. Lorrie on June 28th, 2006 12:03 pm

    He’ll be sitting in a nursing home someday complaining to the nurses that his daughter never calls. Mark my words.

  18. geri on June 28th, 2006 12:18 pm

    Linda, I just want to give you a great big hug. You are such a good, strong, loving person. You’ve created a beautiful family with JB and Riley. It doesn’t sound like Riley will notice that one grandfather is missing, with all the other loving people in his life. (In addition to all those real people, Riley has like eighty gajillion people in the computer who love him to pieces. That’s gotta count for something too.) You’ve done a good thing for him.

  19. Melissa on June 28th, 2006 12:36 pm

    I am so moved by this entry. Thank you for sharing this painful part of your life. I have a very similar situation with my own father. Since my daughter was born in Feb, I have found myself examining that relationship and feel so much of what you are feeling. You have been through the ringer and look at what you have made of all that has happened in your life. JB is obviously a wonderful father but you are also an incredible mother and a very good person. Your love for Riley and JB shines in all of your entries. Again, thank you for sharing…you’ve helped me too. :)

  20. CartwheelsAtMidnight on June 28th, 2006 1:20 pm

    I read this last night and have been thinking about it all day long. I’m so, so sad that you have to have this relationship with your dad. But so, so amazed that you have the strength and peace of mind to recognize that you are not solely a product of your parentage, but a free-thinking, free-willed, amazing Wife and Mother and Woman.

  21. Shawna on June 28th, 2006 1:55 pm

    I remember you referring to the “quality time on your knees” bit, but I think it was after the actual blowout with your dad happened. I will never understand how anyone can do anything bad to, or walk away from, their baby or young child. Maybe this lack of understanding is a good thing ’cause it means it’s not something I would ever do. I do know that my husband wouldn’t either. Guess that means I’m as lucky with him as you are with your JB. Whew.

  22. LLL on June 28th, 2006 2:21 pm

    I have been reading your blog for about a year and love it. As the mother od a 6 month old I have followed almost exactly with your baby highs and lows. I have NEVER entered a post on the internet before, this is a first. This post was simply compelling. I have always had a difficult relationship with my Dad and became “estranged” from him within the last year (during which he met a married a gold digger 20 yeras his junior). I dont know what you must have felt as a child with such an absent father – and the “card” he sent when you were in the hospital was atrocious. I do know, however, how it feels to be rejected by your parent as an adult. And I think somehow having a child makes it so much harder. I feel like now not only is my father rejecting me, but also his tiny innocent granddaughter – and to be that shows a complete lack of moral character. I have spent a long time wondering what I did wrong or to deserve his treatment. The answer is I have done nothing — he is simply damaged goods, incapable of truly loving someone. Your father suffers the same affliction and I hope you know that its him and not you. The silver lining is you know you will never treat Riley as you have been treated. But I know its hard. And its hard not to be really angry. I dont know you other than reading your blog, but from that I can tell you have compassion and a huge capacity for kindness and love (I know that sounds completely crunchy – sorry). The same cannot be said for your father. He’s just not hard wired so well. So know that you dont deserve his ill treatment of you. Dont feel guilty for what you have said or done. Just love your child and treat him well in every way that you were not treated well.

  23. telegirl on June 28th, 2006 3:41 pm

    Linda, your father is a selfish and weak man. That is why he left and that is why he lives his life the way he does now. My husband had a horrible upbringing and it makes me so sad to see him so resilient even though he is hurting and so vulnerable (his Mom always told him he was a piece of shit and would never amount to anything). He, like you, is educated, strong, and will spend the rest of his life doing the opposite of what his parent(s) did to him. I just wish there was some sort of antidote for the aftermath of horrible parenting.

  24. Kristen on June 28th, 2006 4:03 pm

    I keep thinking about this. I would like to say, incidentally, that what your dad is trying to pull there is emotional blackmail: the “Where do we go from here, I do not know,” and the “And, just maybe we should have just stayed apart” are THREATS. They are threats made to a woman who was left by her father at age four, by a father who is threatening to leave again if she doesn’t please him. That is rat-bastard behavior, and I’m sorry you have to put up with it if you want him in your life.

  25. Kristen on June 28th, 2006 4:09 pm

    Also, I really agree with so many of the other people who commented. The one who called him a “sad asshole.” The one who said he’s “simply damaged goods.” The one who hoped you knew this was about HIM and not about YOU: YOU didn’t do anything to deserve this; your behavior is not causing his behavior, HE is causing his own behavior, and he has a history of it to prove it. ALL the ones who said what a good person YOU are, so funny and smart and such a good parent, and how lucky we all are to have you, and how lucky your dad could be to have you if he weren’t such a child-abandoning, silly-wife-marrying, blame-throwing, emotional-blackmailing, child-threatening, pathetic-excuse-making, sad asshole.

  26. Donna on June 28th, 2006 7:07 pm

    I live in NM, and can go poke him in his eye if you’d like.
    You’re better off without him. And so is baby boy.

  27. Amy on June 29th, 2006 7:08 am

    That post was phenomenal. Your writing is absolutely stunning, I love reading what you have to say. Thank you so much for sharing.

  28. Silke on June 29th, 2006 8:07 am

    What came to my mind the first time you wrote about the breakup with your father was: Yeah right, he accidentially found your webpage by googeling “marionberry margarita”. Just days after you wrote about your father on your page. What would be the odds for such a thing to happen? I mean, have you never suspected that your father knew about your blog before you met and did not tell you because he was curious to find out what you really think about him, the things you wouldn’t tell him to his face? Wouldn’t it have been tempting for him? Maybe I’m just being paranoid, but not for a second do I believe in the marionberry margarita googeling story. There is a saying in German “der Lauscher an der Wand hört seine eig’ne Schand” which roughly translates into “the eavesdropper will hear his dispraise”. That’s what happened here, I think. Don’t you?

  29. Kaire on June 29th, 2006 11:51 am

    A true father is what JB is. A sperm donor is what you have for a “father.” You guys are kick ass parents and Riley will grow up to be a great father himself some day!

  30. Stacey on June 29th, 2006 2:51 pm

    You ARE phenomenally lucky … not only that you have JB as a partner to raise Riley to be a good, well-adjusted person, but that you are strong and smart enough to have worked through all that you’ve been through and be able to truly appreciate everything that’s good in your life!

  31. Stormy on June 29th, 2006 7:53 pm

    You are a wonderful mother, daughter, wife, friend, human. And I am glad to know even a small part of you and yours in this small space we call cyber.

  32. MommyWithAttitude on June 29th, 2006 11:51 pm

    Great post! My story is quite a bit different from your’s, but I can really relate. It sounds like he was a selfish baby when he left the first time and it doesn’t sound like he’s changed much over the years.

  33. fellowmom on June 30th, 2006 9:02 am

    I just read this–have been so busy. I remember when you removed the post about his wife. This additional back story is mind blowing. Your resiliency amazes me. You have come through so much, and I really appreciate all the stories you share–the good, bad, and ugly (e.g., Extended Stay America, bra shopping). I hope things just keep getting better and better for you.

  34. Karin on June 30th, 2006 11:01 am

    What a heart felt story.

    I don’t think that you have anything to apologize for, I think that your thoughts and feelings are your own and no one can tell you how to think and feel. That is one thing that can never be taken away from us.

    I am sorry that your dad found your blog, but hey, he did not have to read your personal thoughts. Yes, you put it out on the web for anyone to read but it is just like when someone complains about a television show, you can turn it off if you do not like it.

    What a wonderul blog, thanks for sharing.

  35. Shelly on June 30th, 2006 1:14 pm

    I’m a long time reader – but I think this is my first post. I’m a couple days late to the party, but I wanted to thank you for writing this entry – I loved it for its honesty and I loved it for the nerve it touched in so many people – myself included. My own dad left when I was 7. I’ve seen him approximately once a year since then. It was okay with me until I was a teenager, specifically the year my sister and I gave up Christmas with my mom to spend Christmas with my dad in Florida. We took family pictures that year – and there were pictures with us, and pictures without us. I guess that was the day I realized where we fit into that side of my family – or, rather, that we didn’t. I don’t know how these fathers who have been absent for so much of our lives can possibly feel that we owe them anything, or even feel that they have the right to feel disappointed that we didn’t turn out the way they wanted us to (or, really, proud that we did). It’s so difficult, something that seems like it should fade with age, and it just doesn’t.

    I think you are making the right decisions. I hope that you are able to find peace with all of this. Thank you, again, for writing about this.

  36. Seattle Suz on June 30th, 2006 1:31 pm

    It’s entries such as these that keep me checking back in with the turns in your life.

  37. Rayne on June 30th, 2006 10:07 pm

    Thank you for sharing. I’ve had a similar situation with my father, only he didn’t show up until I was 18 and had no regrets. The pain of rejection was most hurtful when my daughter was born, I’m not sure why. She is 8 now and it still impacts the person I am. I’m glad you have JB instead of choosing a guy who would treat your child the same way.

  38. babs on July 7th, 2006 8:22 am

    altho I’m a constant reader of yours, I just found this through your “perfect post” nomination from “debaucherous & dishevelled”. OMG, she was so right. Your writing here is so freakin beautiful and heart-wrenching. I love the gift you have of JB and Riley, and that the pain of your past makes the awesomeness of your current family so much more real. Thanks so much for blogging. I’d totally buy your book.

  39. Susie on July 9th, 2006 8:51 pm

    I’m so sorry. It truly boggles the mind when I think about how many people treat their children without love or tenderness.

    Your father sounds like a sad case. He’s missed out on so much.

    My own FIL lives 20 minutes away, and he’s only seen our baby a handful of times in his 11 months. I shouldn’t be surprised. He sees his son about the same.

    I think, too, that when you have such a *great* husband, who is, of course, a wonderful father too, only then do you realize how crappy some “fathers” [read: sperm donors] are. I fall in love with my husband all over again everytime I watch him with our son. He loves Baby J sooooo much, and I weep with the knowledge that our son will grow up having no questions about the depth and breadth of his father’s love for him. Mike kisses Baby J all the time, and says to me, “I will kiss my son every chance I get. I don’t care if he’s 18 or 60.”

    Our boys are lucky, eh, Sundry? I certainly think so. :)

  40. MJ on July 12th, 2006 7:46 pm

    Sundry, I know this comment is well after the fact (since I’ve been reading through some of your archives), but I still wanted to say thank you for this entry. I, too, have a piss-poor relationship with my father. I don’t want to say I feel better for having read this, but I at least feel less alone, and more like I will start to get past this someday and feel justified in my decisions. It’s been very difficult for me to accept that my father acts how he does because of who he is, which has nothing to do with me. So thank you again, for being so open with your thoughts on this. It gives me hope. :)

  41. JuJuBee on August 23rd, 2007 10:04 am

    I don’t know if you are still reading these comments or not…seven years ago, my boyfriend left me when he found out that I was pregnant. I was 21 years old, terrified and alone. Seven years later I am happily married with two beautiful children to add to my first beautiful boy. Everyone who knows my story is full of “you are so much better off”, “he will be sorry one day”, “it’s HIS loss”, “your son is actually LUCKY he didn’t stick around” but as much truth as there is in those words and as many good intentions that they carry, it almost feels as though they are excuses for him. I don’t want him to get off that easy. He got off so easy! It all seems so unfair that someone can make a decision of that magnitude and just…move on with their life, doesn’t it? Why do they get to move on?

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  45. maggie on June 21st, 2009 8:42 am

    My story with my father is incredibly similar, although, we are still in sporadic contact. He has a similar wife and moved far away when we were young. He hasn’t written me off, but I am feeling the desire to write him out of my life. I cannot fathom how he left me and my sisters and really don’t understand why he doesn’t want to know his grandchildren. A heck once or twice a year does not a father or grandfather make. It was so brave of you to get your feelings out there like that.

  46. Tanisha on June 22nd, 2009 7:17 am

    i read your blog form time time to time but never left a comment. i just want to let you know how much i appreciate your honesty! this post really hit home with me as i have similar feelings about my “father”. thanks for your openess and sharing.

  47. Swistle on December 5th, 2009 12:03 pm

    Back to re-read. I think of this post—and all the issues in it—OFTEN.

  48. Bethany on November 19th, 2011 3:46 pm

    I found this post after you posted about how much he’s missing by not being in contact, and I am so glad I did.

    My dad was not quite as heartless as yours, but the easiest way I have to explain why we’re not in contact is – I don’t *care”. He was never there in my childhood, and now he just feels like another person in my outer circle who sometimes sends an email to say hello. Why do I feel obligated to keep in touch?

    Why do I feel this guilt about not contacting him when HE was never the adult when I needed him to be? Even as a kid, it was MY responsibility to keep in touch.

    In my situation, there was a lot of miscommunication because of the situation between my parents, but somehow I am the only one wounded in the fallout.

    *sigh* I even feel guilty trying to explain to close friends how I feel because they all have at least tenuous relationships with their dads – they can’t know what it feels like to not even WANT one.

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