Sunday, February 23, 2014

Worth the Fight

My parents got divorced when I was six and my brother was four. Before that, there were many separations and reconciliations. We never knew when Dad was going to be living with us and when he wasn't and we certainly didn't know why. When it finally happened, it was shocking, because we had, unfortunately, grown used to the norm that was our lives in flux. Such was our life.

After it happened, our dad was quite good at visiting and having us visit him. My brother and I each had our own night with him every week and we spent every other weekend with him. Then, things changed.

He got remarried and when he got a new family, his old family fell by the wayside. I now have three half-sisters who I adore. I don't blame them in any way. I don't really even blame my step-mother, though, my dad once told me she didn't like the fact that he had kids, because she didn't like being "second banana." (Why he would tell me that, I'll never know.) No, my dad's actions are squarely on my dad's shoulders.

Over the years, I've been told by myriad family members that I have to cut him a break, because it was "hard" to see us. Evidently, my mother made it "too difficult" for him to keep up his end of the parenting bargain. Let me be clear, I would bet my mom did make it hard. I know her well. Aside from her good qualities, she's also vengeful, spiteful, and downright mean sometimes. So what? They both used us over and over again through the years to hurt one another. (Divorcing couples - word of advice - do NOT use your children as pawns. It will come back to bite you in the butt and your relationships will suffer, though it may take time to feel those consequences.) I don't care if she built a moat around our house to keep us from him, he should've built a bridge, ridden across on the back of a crocodile, or rented SCUBA gear to get to us. The message we got loud and clear by him giving up - we're not worth the fight.

I've felt that for the rest of my life. I'm not worth it. It has colored every aspect of my life. If even your parent doesn't think you're worth the effort and inconvenience, why should anyone else?

And what the heck, folks? Why is everyone in his life defending him for abandoning us? Because they know my mom did make it hard? SO WHAT? I know it, too. She was wrong. So was he. Let me say it again, his actions are his responsibility. He bailed on us because it got hard. We weren't worth the hard. And that feels shitty. Really shitty.

Why am I writing this? In part, I'm venting. After years of therapy, I'm still not over it, because my feelings on the matter are still being dismissed. I hurt and I still struggle with not being worth it. In larger part, I want my son, who will someday read my blog entries, to know that no matter what - he's worth it. There is not a set of circumstances in the world that could keep me from you. There just isn't. You're worth the fight. You're worth everything to me. And if there is anyone out there who doesn't feel that way about you, they're not worth the heartache, sweet boy. You're worth it to me.

4 comments:

  1. Beautifully said. I share many of the same feelings as you about my father, who has dismissed his only granddaughter as soon as he got back on the plane to go home after meeting her for the first, and probably the last time. I even told him that Aoife could have fixed us and possibly even brought us closer. But, like you, he has a new family, one completely unaware of the wreckage he created long ago. And I'm sure my father is relieved.

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    1. The thing is, I love my dad (as I am sure you do yours). I love him as a friend. He's a crap father to my brother and me, but I like him otherwise. I've been told my whole life, even by my mother, that he was a great dad when he was around. What makes someone do a 180 like that, I will never know. I'm sorry anyone else has to feel the way I've felt, Stacey.

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  2. My oldest daughter has two dads. One biological and one adoptive (my husband). Her biological dad was given every single opportunity to see her before we moved to a different state. He claims I made it hard for him, but I didnt. My phone was always on, he had access to me and thus, her, and the only time I said "no" was when we had a prior commitment.
    Late in 2013, she started asking questions...about a lot of stuff. Doors were opened that could never be closed again. My husband and I had decided prior to let her ask the questions (she has two half siblings that she stays in touch with). So she decided that she wanted to make contact with him and email him. So I contacted him and we set it up so she could email him whenever she wanted. I've let her lead this...but I'm not at all shocked that the novelty of having "another dad" has worn off and she hasn't emailed him in about a month. Even at 7, she can understand that he had "better things to do" than have a relationship with her and he's going to regret that for the rest of his life. I hope anyway. My husband and I have a good relationship...even though he's gone a lot with the military. He takes time to engage with his three kids, even when he's not physically here and that speaks volumes. Her bio dad had bigger priorities than his kids...and all of them suffer because of it. I hope that my husband and I can help her understand that just because she wasn't important to him, doesn't mean she's not important or worth it. It keeps me awake at night some nights because I tried my best...my husband too...and I don't want her negatively effected because her bio-dad was a jerk.
    Her bio-grandma (who I have huge issues with) not only defended her sons actions, but at the same time, told me that she deserved all the love she could get and told me I should get her into therapy. My daughter doesn't need "all the love she can get" and suggesting therapy is offensive. I hope as my daughter grows, she'll understand that she IS worth it.

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