Sunday was Father’s day.
I don’t know what to feel. The relationship with you is weird. I didn’t message you even though there were several times during the day where I was sitting, thinking, debating on if I should or not.
Would it have really been that bad for me to send a quick text message, a two minute email, letting you know that I hoped you had a good day? Would it have really hurt me that bad to reach out?
And every time I thought of that I would counter with, would it have been so hard for you to have wished me a happy birthday? Or Merry Christmas? Or a Happy New Year?
Is it so much to ask for our relationship to be at least 30/70? I’m not even asking for you to meet me half way. I’m asking for anything, something, to let me know that our dynamic matters to you, too. That it’s worth some small amount of your time and effort.
I feel the only time we ever have contact is when I reach out. I feel like I keep trying to have something, to grow something, that inherently is meant to die.
I thought about how you are supposed to be my parent, how I feel it is your responsibility to try fostering our relationship. You are supposed to be the adult, the more mature figure. You were supposed to be my mentor and force of guidance. You were supposed nurture my growth into adulthood and teach me how to navigate the world.
I was supposed to learn from you. You were supposed to be there for my marching band performances. You were supposed to be there when I gave the speech at my college graduation.
In short, I suppose it could be summed up with, “You was supposed to be there,” and you weren’t.
I don’t think of you as my ‘dad’. I think of you as my father, my sire. Yes, there is a biological connection, but I don’t think I feel for you like I should. I don’t love you, and I haven’t for a very long time, and that hurts me to say because I used to. When I was younger you were my Superman, and I did everything to make you happy. You were the coolest person in the world. You were my baseball partner, you were my friend, my confidant. You were my everything, and everyday we took on the world together.
And then you left. You told me you didn’t love mom any more and that you were going to go away, and the only thing I could hear ringing in my ears for years was that your love for me wasn’t enough. I wasn’t enough.
I had no one to practice sports with, so I stopped. I had no one to make me smile, so I stopped. I had no one to impress or to make happy, so I literally did nothing in school. I started cutting the tops of my hands, small paper cuts, because the burning gave the hurt somewhere to go, it gave it a way out so it could stop killing me.
When I got in trouble for that, for trying to find a way to cope with the hurt, I started cutting the bottoms of my feet because no one saw those.
And then came the summer vacation all those years ago. The one where we were washing dishes together. We were trying to repair our bond I guess. That summer was emotionally hard. John and I were away from mom, away from our friends and comfort zone. We were with you and Kendra. You, who we hadn’t seen in years.
I asked you what the real reason for the divorce was. And your reply was that mom had been spending too much time with the kids and that you had felt unloved.
I can understand that now. As a 26-year-old woman, I can understand being in a relationship where you feel unloved, unvalued. I know how each day it can kill you a little more, the corrosive depression eating away at you until you feel like there’s nothing left.
At the time, what I heard was I was right. It was my fault. Everyone, EVERYONE, had lied to me. If I had been less needy, less annoying, if I had done better in school, if I had been better at sports, then mom wouldn’t have had to waste so much time on me. She would have loved you more and you would have stayed. It was my fault. You left because of me.
I hated the world for so long. I hated myself. I hated everyone for lying to me. I was angry and hurt, and I didn’t know what to do with any of it. All of this heat and rage, volcanic and destructive. I had nowhere for it to go, and so I packed earth over it. I buried it so far down that it couldn’t hurt me or anyone else. It was so far down it wasn’t there. Just earth. Calm, solid, stable. Cold.
It wasn’t until I got involved with band that I found my first outlet. Music. I was able to pour everything I was into playing music. And I did. I did the minimum for school, and still managed to eek out As and Bs and any chance I got I was in the band room, shut away in the percussion room playing something. I joined all of the band groups I was able to. I filled all of my hours with music, or World of Warcraft.
And it stayed that way for such a long time.
I have had so many experiences between the divorce and now. I have gained so much insight on how the world and people work.
And yet Sunday I sat and couldn’t bring myself to be the bigger person. I couldn’t convince myself that it was the right thing to do to keep reaching out when I knew that it would go no where. It would be energy that I would never get back. It would be a seed that would never grow.
I’m sorry things worked out this way. I’m sorry we can’t go back. I’m sorry there is so much hurt, still, after all these years, and I’m sorry that even though we have talked about this every thing, even though we’ve discussed my feelings, that they haven’t gone away or changed.
I wish I could say that this is the last time I will feel sorry, but I know deep down that it’s not. I know that each year I will acknowledge Father’s Day, and I will have a pang guilt for feeling like a failure. For feeling like I failed you. That in some small way our withered relationship is due to my actions, my inactions, my resentment, my pain.
I think there will always be that little girl inside me who was sitting on your lap when she heard you say that you didn’t love her enough to stay. I know that’s not what you meant, and I know it’s not fair of me.
I’m sorry that I didn’t call, or text, or email. I’m sorry I couldn’t bring myself to send you a card. I’m sorry I didn’t make you feel special and important and loved on a day that is dedicated to you.
I’m sorry I can’t get over the hurt of feeling like I am not special or important or loved enough by you to have you wish me happy birthday. I’m sorry I’m small and shallow and that something so petty, so trivial bothers me so much.
I’m sorry we keep hurting each other and that neither of us ever seems to learn. To grow, to mature.
I do love you, and I hope everyone else in your life made your day wonderful. I hope they made you feel worthwhile. I truly hope and wish for your happiness. And there is still that part of me who wishes I could be part of it.
Happy Father’s Day. I miss you.