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.”

and

“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.

Comments

100 Responses to “Arterial byways”

  1. Mama Ritchie on June 27th, 2006 2:00 pm

    Motherhood does change us, doesn’t it? Suddenly, we see things through the eyes of a parent, and we can’t imagine that anyone would reject their own chlid. But when we parents have parents that have rejected us, well – it’s truly unforgivable. Sad. Man, great entry Sun.

  2. fifi on June 27th, 2006 2:09 pm

    Wow. Briefly- I think you are right to keep your father out of Riley’s life. You are blessed to have the family you have.

  3. Whinger on June 27th, 2006 2:09 pm

    Oh that’s hard. Just all around.
    I’m so sorry.

  4. Zoot on June 27th, 2006 2:13 pm

    I have re-typed this comment a million times because I can’t quite get the words to relay the thought. Damn English. I’ll just keep it short and sweet.

    Thank you for sharing this entry. It moved me. Truly.

  5. Leah on June 27th, 2006 2:13 pm

    Clearly, he’s the one who’s missing out.

  6. Danell on June 27th, 2006 2:14 pm

    And JB and Riley are phenomenally lucky as well.

  7. Lumpyheadsmom on June 27th, 2006 2:20 pm

    I find it difficult to imagine a situation in which I could leave my child. As an adoptee, becoming a mother has brought my feelings on this into sharper relief. Was I tossed away like a dead plant? Was I sadly turned out like a untamed pet? Was I loved so much that my biological family thought I’d be better off without them?

    My family knows more about my brother’s biological family, and it’s so hard for me to imagine how my brother’s biological mother must have felt. Her circumstances are so different from mine that I cannot fairly put myself in her place, but it breaks my heart to think of her.

    I’m sorry you don’t have an ideal relationship with your dad, but it’s great you’re so fortunate with your own family, that you have a loving partner in this parenting adventure. Loved your last paragraph.

  8. laura on June 27th, 2006 2:21 pm

    I remember when all that happened, and how very sad you were. I’m glad that you are seeing it through different eyes now – with a little different perspective – and realize how different everything can be for your own child. All three of y’all are very, very fortunate.

  9. angela on June 27th, 2006 2:21 pm

    my BF’s father (well, step-cum-adoptive father, actually) lives on an island off the washington coast with his own private plane and airstrip. he has loads of cash and an enormous house and unfortunately, a religious zealot for a wife. BF and his brother are not christians. they rarely talk to their dad because they simply cannot deal with his wife. and while definitely he has the means to do so, he never, ever visits his kids and grandkids because he fears his wife’s disapproval. this is a choice he made. i don’t believe it is neither right nor wrong, it just is.

    my relationship with my parents is tentative. i really believe that the scraps we retain are there only because i supress my feelings and make a strong effort to make nice. i don’t know why i do this. my life would be exponentionally easier if i just cut them off. my parents forfeited their associated rights and respect as parents a long time ago. but i still retain guilt over not taking an active role in building a relationship. i think it’s because perhaps i can be too objective at times. for all the shitty stunts they pulled, they had to have thought it was the best choice at the time. it’s easy to forget that one’s parents had lives before their kids, and perhaps in one of those millions of moments and experiences that we will never know of, lies the answer, the reason, the motivation as to why they made these choices.

    i don’t think your father is a bad person. i think he just made choices. and honestly? you turned out awesome, so it seems it may have been the right choice.

    p.s. – i probably would have kicked that woman out, had she started preaching to me in my own house. thank goodness that my family doesn’t push their religion on me.

  10. Danielle on June 27th, 2006 2:42 pm

    Beautiful…I have a very similar situation where my father does not even know he has grandchildren, I feel bad for him sometimes, but then remind myself that if he were a better person, he would be in their lives. And you are right, its not like there aren’t handfuls of other people around our kids that shower them with love. They aren’t missing anything!

  11. Chiara on June 27th, 2006 2:42 pm

    I love you.

    Your father is a sad asshole who does not deserve to know you or your family. I wish I could reach through the computer and throttle him myself for his needless, pointed cruelties to you. He may think that it’s somehow your fault that he sucks, but as we all know, suckery like that is of its own making and its own regard. I hope he is reading this site and understanding how amazing you are in every way, and how little any of that is due to him at all, is in fact DESPITE his efforts. There’s no excuse to leave your child; that knowledge that Riley’s given you will never be his.

  12. Deanna on June 27th, 2006 2:43 pm

    I believe you will be a better parent to Riley having dealt with (dealing with) your father and and the wounds of your relationship with him. It hurts me so to know he sent that card to you–that’s a gesture of a mean person, not an adult, NOT a parent. I so enjoy watching Riley grow, so I have to say, corny as it sounds, that you are here and posting and sharing that delicious little boy with us.

  13. Roseann on June 27th, 2006 2:48 pm

    Having my father reject my son is the reason I cut off all communication with him. I could have written this entire entry, except for the fact that my father died a year ago. He was a hate-filled, angry, bitter man, and he ruined most of my childhood.
    It’s hard to realize that having them out of your life is better, but realizing how much better Riley will be without his influence, that is one of the best gifts you can ever give your son.

  14. Mandy on June 27th, 2006 2:51 pm

    That was an amazing entry. I remember when you posted that entry about your father’s visit, and when you subsequently took it down after he found it. Certainly you had a choice of whether to post that entry in the first place, but he had just as much choice about how to react to it. For so many years while you were growing up he could imagine you in his mind, the way he thought or hoped you might have turned out; for many people, reality is just too…real. It’s not your fault, any of it.

  15. Stephanie on June 27th, 2006 2:52 pm

    Wow, that was incredibly moving and somehow therapeutic for me. I’ve lived that too – change the names, change the places, but I’ve lived that pain, anger and resentment. Your words seemed to come from the heart of me. Thanks for sharing such a personal experience.

  16. M.A. on June 27th, 2006 2:55 pm

    I just read the last paragraph and knew I’d have to save this for later — when I have sufficient kleenex. I love the way you make me emote.

  17. Lisa V on June 27th, 2006 3:01 pm

    My great-great grandmother had “Do unto your children as you wish your parents had done unto you” embroidered on a pillow. You are living proof she was right. Riley is a lucky boy.

  18. Gertie on June 27th, 2006 3:02 pm

    Damn, that hurt to read. People like our dads are utterly incapable of grasping the damage that their actions (and inactions) have inflicted upon their children. And then they have the audacity to expect forgiveness and respect!

    Its only your kind heart that would ever entertain the idea of letting your son know his grandfather. But blood isn’t enough of a reason. Knowing what you do about him, if he was just some stranger– is he the kind of man you would want your son to meet? I don’t think so.

    I think you have done a wonderful job of pulling yourself out from under a load of crap. You have won battles with your own demons and have managed to create a life that is good, and good for you. Riley is a lucky little boy.

  19. Maia on June 27th, 2006 3:22 pm

    What a powerful entry. Thanks for writing it. I don’t really know you or anything, but I’m glad you are as self-aware and emotionally… on the ball?… as you are. It sounds like it was a tough time all around, and it looks like you are dealing with it beautifully.

  20. outfoxed on June 27th, 2006 3:44 pm

    L:

    I comment seldom on your site, but have read your ponderings since D-Land days.

    This one was one of the more moving, and obviously difficult to write. I wanted to at least acknowledge that, and say how wonderful your words can be at times.

    Take very good care of the life you have.

    O-foxed.

  21. Anna on June 27th, 2006 3:44 pm

    I think you’re better off. I can’t fathom abandoning my child, and given those circumstances, you’d think it would be him working extra hard for a relationship with you. I would also think he’d understand that you might have a wee bit of anger left over from all those years.

    You’re not alone. I have a similar non-relationship with my mom, we haven’t spoken since 1997. It’s hard, but not as hard as it was having a relationship with her.

  22. niki p on June 27th, 2006 4:34 pm

    My father has been in prison for the past 12 years and does not know either of my children. He is up for parole next month and I am excited and terrified by this. I love my father, I have missed him, what happened to him could happen to anyone but this does impact my children. I am a different person now, I am a mother first and formost. I was a daughter when my father went away and now the dynamic has changed. I know he will not respect that. I am so different.

    Once again you have moved me to tears. There is no such thing as a functional family, we all have to make due with what is given to us. It’s not your fault, it’s not your fathers fault, it just is. You are who you are because of YOU! You made you the mother you are today, you made you the wife you are today. YOU.

    You can’t change the past. I won’t say Riley is better off without his Grandfather but you are probably a more relaxed person because he and Sally aren’t in your life.

    Great Entry Linda. I wish I could give you a hug. You aren’t alone out there. Now go give that boy a kiss for me!

  23. Liz on June 27th, 2006 4:43 pm

    My husband has no relationship with his biological father. The two men his mother has been married to are “Dad” (who raised him) and “Jim” (who donated the sperm). Throughout my pregnancy my husband worried that bad parenting was somehow hereditary and he would be a terrible father like his own. Of course, that hasn’t been the case. Sometimes I think that he considers what Jim would have done at every move, and then does the opposite of that.

    While his childhood may have made him a less secure person sometimes I believe that it has reinforced his instincts as a father. He is amazing. And I know that he cannot fathom abandoning his family as his own father did.

  24. JennB on June 27th, 2006 4:50 pm

    I second everything that everyone wrote, above. There are people in your life for a reason: to teach you. You have learned these ugly lessons about human nature from your dad and perhaps someday you’ll want to try to reconnect, but I absolutely can NOT blame you if you choose not to. Your dad sounds a tad self-absorbed, and, not to make him a bad guy here (he’s already done that quite handily himself), but you make decisions in your life and have to live with them later – good bad or indifferent. Your choice is not only healthy for you, it serves your son well. And if someday he realizes that he has a grandson and he’s chosen to throw it all away, that is his problem

    And I am so, so glad to hear that you have chosen someone 180 degrees different for your husband, mate and father of your child. What a wonderful reward – he is a happy, involved father. That’s the best thing of all. Congratulations.

  25. Anna on June 27th, 2006 4:58 pm

    Divided families are such a hard thing on so many levels. I think that you have made the right decision. Regardless of how your father reacted to your blog his past behaviour shows how unimportant family is to him. Yet its so easy to see that family is uber important to you and JB and thats something that you have created your self – with no help from your dad obviously.

  26. Mimi on June 27th, 2006 5:02 pm

    that was a simply amazing entry. Thank you for being so open and honest and willing to let so many of us know were are not alone in being perceived a imperfect children by those who contributed some DNA. And thanks for reminding us that we can all rise above those perceptions. You do so beautifully and gracefully every day.

    Sometimes having assholes in our lives allows us to understand unconditional love and deepens our ability to appreciate and enjoy the good life we build for ourselves.

  27. Jenn on June 27th, 2006 5:04 pm

    WOW, what the fuck is up with people that can just leave their kids? I could have written this entry too, except that my dad lived about a half hour away and still barely bothered to acknowledge my existence more often than every few months. I used to understand better, that he was dealing with his own horrible childhood, and got married and had a child and ended up divorced by the time he was 22, and then went on to marry and divorce two successive women who were straight out of the Cinderella handbook for stepmonsters. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Now that I’m a mother and I look at my son, I realize that there’s just no excuse, ever, for abandoning your kid, and I’m angry all over again. And it is such a shame, for me and for him and for my son, that he won’t ever know his grandson because I think that could have been the thing that bridged the gap. He died in 1998. It really fucked with me on Father’s Day this year.

    I did love what Cecily said on her daughter’s and husband’s first Father’s Day… http://zia.blogs.com/wastedbirthcontrol/2006/06/fathers_day.html
    Between you and her, you’ve said it all about the guys we married. Cheers to us for getting over our daddy issues!

  28. Lori on June 27th, 2006 5:10 pm

    Chiara said:

    Your father is a sad asshole who does not deserve to know you or your family. I wish I could reach through the computer and throttle him myself for his needless, pointed cruelties to you. He may think that it’s somehow your fault that he sucks, but as we all know, suckery like that is of its own making and its own regard. I hope he is reading this site and understanding how amazing you are in every way, and how little any of that is due to him at all, is in fact DESPITE his efforts. There’s no excuse to leave your child; that knowledge that Riley’s given you will never be his.

    And, though I don’t know you for realz, I must wholeheartedly concur.

  29. RiseyP on June 27th, 2006 5:18 pm

    This is just a stunningly good piece of writing, and it shows an admirable amount of introspection and honesty.

    What really impressed me was your willingness to try and see things through Sally’s eyes.

    I feel sorry for the two of them (Sally and your Dad). And I’m amazed at your resilience, having grown up to be who you are despite your father’s inability to parent you.

    Cheers to you!!

  30. wealhtheow on June 27th, 2006 5:18 pm

    I’m so sorry. I know you are making the right decision for Riley.

  31. sooboo on June 27th, 2006 5:25 pm

    I’m sorry for what you have been through, you really got it together despite all that bs. You’re one strong lady. I always think with the parent/kid relationship, you reap what you sow. People who put nothing in, are being ridiculous if they expect anything back. Thanks so much for sharing.

  32. Rae on June 27th, 2006 5:27 pm

    *hugs* The hardest decision ever to make is that which hurts us the most. Been there, done that, burned the t-shirt. You’re a brave woman, and a kind one, Sundry. You deserve to be happy.

  33. ls on June 27th, 2006 5:42 pm

    Writing has frequently landed me in some kind of trouble, from my mom reading my diary to losing a note in highschool and having it copied and passed around. My mom used to tell me that I shouldn’t write it down if I don’t want someone to read it–but I could never live with that. I imagine that you are the same, that writing it down is the way that you translate it from your own head to heart and back again. Above all else: know that writing that entry in 2003 was not the catalyst for the exit of your father. He was going to show his colors again, in one way or another.

    Just my thoughts. :)

  34. Jen on June 27th, 2006 5:50 pm

    Four years ago, my father came to me and acknowledged what a bad dad he had been and I forgave him. Last Thursday, my dad passed away after a two year battle with prostate cancer.I feel very lucky to have made peace with him but am now left with my very own “Sally” to contend with and I feel your pain, Linda. Had my dad not come to me and asked me to forgive him, I would have left him to rot with the company of “Sally”. I think in another life, if the internet was just this great big high school, you and I would have been friends. Thanks for that entry.

  35. Kungfukitten on June 27th, 2006 6:21 pm

    Parental relationships are hard. It’s too bad he ran across that one post but you are totally allowed to have feelings, write about them and be angry, hurt, pissed, etc. Men seemed to be very threatened of our emotions and I don’t understand why. It’s your blog. Write what ever the hell you want to and we’ll continue to read and your family can choose not to read it. It’s that simple.

  36. Stephanie on June 27th, 2006 6:33 pm

    Respect is something you earn, not just get bestowed upon you by virtue of you having fertilized an egg. Odd that he’d expect “…that all parents should merit some kind of respect.” Of all the things your father deserves, respect is the last.

    Like so many have said before me, you are so much better off not attempting to have a relationship with him.

    And I absolutely guarantee he reads your blog. Hi, dad.

  37. dina on June 27th, 2006 6:36 pm

    What wonderful writing. It was from the soul and you could see how far you have come in your journey to realize it was him and not you. At the end I wantedto say Bravo and give you a standing O. you are lucky you are blessed and most of all your son and child are lucky to have you for a wife and mother.

  38. Jenny on June 27th, 2006 6:39 pm

    While I was reading this I started hoping that he reads this journal, that these great and powerful words are maybe going to shake his brains up a little.

    Then I thought, oh I hope not. I seriously hope that he has not been reading and seen your son’s adorable pictures, or read about his growth and his (and your) accomplishments and never said a word to you. That STRANGERS have written you because of the things they learn about you on this site and he has not.

    Because if that’s the case, you are better off without him.

  39. Nikki on June 27th, 2006 6:59 pm

    I’ve written many times in my own diary about the struggles I still have with my bio-dad. It’s hard and heartbreaking, although I’ve gotten a better perspective as I’ve gotten older. There are lessons they’ve taught us—how NOT to parent our own children, how to cherish those we love and hold them closer in our lives, how to appreciate the good examples (like you do with your JB) that fall into our laps. That doesn’t take the sting away but it’s the optimistic outlook. Wonderfully eloquent post.

  40. Lesley on June 27th, 2006 7:09 pm

    Praise be to God who invented the mighty and diverse Olive, especially the feta-stuffed ones at my local grocers. Only in heaven could these have been conceived.

    My apologies for the length of this but your post touched a nerve.

    I sympathize with you. Your dad sounds a lot like my dad; self-centred, insensitive, and full of excuses and rationalizations for why he couldn’t and didn’t behave like a father. I couldn’t imagine abandoning a child and being able to live with myself any more than I could imagine abandoning an animal. But there are people in this world who have compunctions I do not understand.

    My dad walked out on his marriage and kids when we were still young without a word. I was seven. Worse, he left us with a very troubled and violent alcoholic who simply wasn’t capable of looking after herself, never mind us. We all left home before the age of sixteen. My boyfriend’s family ‘adopted’ me at fifteen and somehow managed to track down my father to tell him I’d left home. I didn’t ask them too, but I guess being normal people, they felt it was important to do this. My dad visited me for all of twenty minutes in his brand new car, gave me fifteen bucks and wished me good luck. He didn’t offer to keep in touch, he didn’t give me a phone number or an address. He was well to do, remarried with stepkids who went to my high school (I didn’t find this out until much later), and he didn’t want anything to do with me or my siblings.

    The next time I saw him I was thirty years old. His wife had tracked me down and urged me to get in touch with him. She thought he could benefit emotionally from seeing his bio kids. So I gave it a shot, flew all the way across the country to pay him a visit. Eventually, all three kids were in touch with him and things were going well, or so I thought, until plans were made for all three of us kids to spend Christmas with him. Just before the holidays he wrote each of us a letter saying he didn’t want to stay in touch anymore, that it was “too much work.” My sister wrote a scathing reply but my brother and I just shrugged and moved on.

    Two years ago my mother was dying from oral cancer and I moved home to care for her by myself with no help from my siblings. This was a painful and exhausting experience but it was also tremendously healing for both my mother and me. After mom’s funeral, my sister contacted my father, desperate to have a parent in her life. He responded and wrote to each of us saying he was sorry for everything and wanted to make up for the past. I was exhausted and depressed after my mom’s death and told him I wasn’t ready yet to make contact. He responded sympathetically and told me to take my time.

    A month later I got in touch and we established a casual – polite, but reserved on my part – correspondence. True to form, he expressed very little interest in me, talked endlessly about himself, and thoughtlessly mocked my charity work (elephant rescue). I’d find myself on the phone (paying for the damn call) silently crying while he rattled on about himself and his good deeds.

    One day I got up the courage to inquire about the past. I knew this would make or break the relationship but I was sick of horseshitting around with this stranger. I asked very carefully for some clarification and understanding about why he’d left us and what made him change his mind about reconciling.

    His reply was stunning. He told me in no uncertain terms that I was not to ask about the past or ask any questions that made him uncomfortable. He said the only way he could make up for the past was by “doing away with myself” (nice inappropriate guilt-threat tactic, dad!). Flippantly he added “why don’t you get over the past and your bitterness and do something useful with yourself for the world?”

    That last patronizing statement from this dead beat hunk of selfish shit infuriated me, especially as I’d just nursed my mother through a horrendous illness. That was the last fucking straw in a glass full of them.

    My sister and brother continue to have contact, and I’m sure in their desperation for his affection they’ve agreed to all of his terms. My brother became a deadbeat dad himself but apparently since seeing my dad he’s changed his act a little. So I’m glad for him, but mostly I’m glad for the son he pretty much dumped. Let’s hope the chain stops here.

    When I was a little girl missing my father I put him on a pedestal. I imagined he was a trapped prince who would one day rescue me. I blamed my mother for his leaving. She had ‘driven him away!’ I sneered at my mother’s judgement of his character. After all, she had “issues.” I told myself if I could only be prettier, brighter, better, he’d come for me. I bought all the lies little girls who are abandoned tell themselves. But I’m all grown up now and I know what’s true.

  41. Kristin on June 27th, 2006 7:12 pm

    This made me lose my shit.

    In every way, Linda, he is missing out on so much. I am sad for you, but sad for him too, because I can’t believe he doesn’t realize this.

  42. Sabine on June 27th, 2006 7:13 pm

    Wow Sundry, that was a very powerful facet of your life you shared. I’ve been reading you for years, and you are the journalist who has always made me feel Honored to share in your life and your thoughts.

    There is a movie that really touches upon the imperfect relationships that we often have with our fathers, and reminds me a little of your story. It is called Smoke Signals, and while not exactly being an easy film to watch, is quite touching and beautiful all the same.

    Thank you for sharing Sundry, you really are a beautiful and bright shining light, and you have put together a splendid family that is rock-solid with love. I feel a little sorry for a man who would be so blind and empty as to miss out on being a part of a life and heart such as yours. It really is his loss.

  43. miss noodle on June 27th, 2006 7:22 pm

    Fuckin’ A, Sundry. What an amazing story. I have been chronicling some memories about my parents, their divorce and the circumstances that followed. It’s not exactly easy, reliving those times, but it does help to write about it and you’ve done so, beautifully. But the pain of reliving the memories via writing is tempered when you have a wealth of friends and readers who support you. So to that, I say thank you for sharing. Riley is one lucky kid and JB is one lucky man.

  44. warcrygirl on June 27th, 2006 7:23 pm

    My father was estranged from us when he and my mom divorced. He lived about 40 minutes from us and has lived in the same house (and has had the same phone number) since 1971. Mom made sure he stayed estranged from us for she believed that he was the ‘enemy’ and moved us every year without fail. I tried to make contact with him a few times in my 20’s but just gave up even though by then I was living about 5 minutes from him. I sent him a wedding invitation; it went unanswered (he claimed he never got it and didn’t know I was married until he saw my bridal portrait hanging on his father’s wall). Once my kids were born we finally connected and although he’s never met either of my children he has plenty of pictures of them. His father died last year and I haven’t heard a peep from him; not on any birthdays or holidays. I did forget Father’s Day last year (Sis did too) and we both apologized for it but I can’t help but think that we are drifting apart again.

    I don’t know how I feel about this as my relationship with my mother is practically non-existant. I’m not sure what I would have done in your place with Zealot Sally; would I have told her to fuck off or just nodded, smiled and said “I’m sorry you feel that way”?

  45. Lisa on June 27th, 2006 7:31 pm

    Very poignant entry. I, too am sorry for your loss. I am very lucky to have a father that’s always been around and would, even now that I am grown and 31 years old, would move heaven and earth for me if I asked him to. I wish that everyone could be as lucky as I am in that regard, but hopefully knowing that your father wasn’t there for you will just make the relationship Riley & JB have all the more precious.

  46. Cynthea on June 27th, 2006 8:16 pm

    Oh, sweetie.

    My father is absent, too. Claims no responsibility for his absence. It’s hard to make someone understand what a dick they were back then when they don’t feel they are a dick currently.

  47. L. on June 27th, 2006 8:43 pm

    Wow Linda, just wow. Amazing entry.
    I too have an, um, difficult realtionship with my father and although I have no children of my own (yet?), I can imagine that having a child would only…I dunno…amplify (?) the bewilderment and hurt we feel as a result of the rejection from our absent parents. You are amazing and Riley a lucky, lucky boy. JB too.

  48. Shelly on June 27th, 2006 8:51 pm

    I think your choice is one that has been made with several years of consideration. Sometimes I think that people are too busy thinking about themselves to realize that others need them as well (In your case your father was an ass and was completely focused on himself). It’s a very respectable decision and a well thought out one as well. Your life is going to be wonderful without your father involved, because even if people are adults, does NOT mean they’ve earned respect of age. Maturity, Selflessness, Responsibility and Love are what earns the respect of age. I think this is a lovely entry, because it has the soul of truth and grown wisdom in it.

    p.s.- Religion is a practice, faith is a belief. I personally have faith, I just don’t have religion, and it’s gotten me through life just peachy. :) So ROCK ON!

  49. thejunebug on June 28th, 2006 2:05 am

    I had a father like JB. I was lucky.

    Your father is the one who is missing out. Not Riley.

  50. Jem on June 28th, 2006 2:46 am

    Wow. I never realised how much I related to you before! My father left when I was 7, he had an affair with my mums friend and left for her. They’re still together and she lost one of her children and her ex-husband in terrible accidents. I also had the suicide attempt but my Mum never told my Dad. Dad is still with the other lady, but they live a few hours away. I go stay with him sometimes, but I always feel really uncomfortable with her, she sometimes starts ranting about the stupidest things and blames them on me. I don’t really have anything to add but I guess I just wanted to relate. How could he choose another lady over his child? I’ll never do that to my child. Thanks for that Sundry. I’m glad things are so good for you now because you so deserve it.

  51. 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!

  52. 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.

  53. 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.

  54. 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.

  55. 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)!

  56. 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.

  57. 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.

  58. 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.

  59. 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!

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

    Great post.

  61. 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.

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

    I kinda want to hug you right now.

  63. 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.

  64. 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.

  65. 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.

  66. 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!

  67. 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.

  68. 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.

  69. 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. :)

  70. 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.

  71. 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.

  72. 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.

  73. 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.

  74. 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.

  75. 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.

  76. 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.

  77. 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.

  78. 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?

  79. 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!

  80. 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!

  81. 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.

  82. 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.

  83. 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.

  84. 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.

  85. 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.

  86. 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.

  87. 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.

  88. 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.

  89. 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. :)

  90. 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. :)

  91. 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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  95. 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.

  96. 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.

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

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

  98. 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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