Thursday, July 2, 2009

A Lesson I Carry Every Day...

We spent the weekend in Dallas with my hubby's grandfather. He is over 80 and loves Madi so that was nice. It was the second Father's Day I've spent away from my Dad, so that was a little tough. I also felt a bit conflicted because on the way back from Dallas we stopped at my father's house. It just felt strange to spend Father's Day with him and not see the man who acted like my father for most of my life.

I guess I should do a little explaining. When I refer to my "Dad," I am usually talking about my stepfather. He and my mother have been together for nearly 20 years. I'm not much older than that. Let's just say he was at my kindergarten graduation. He has always treated me like his biological daughter even when I was a complete teenage asshole. I have always loved and appreciated him because he loved me and he didn't have to. I think that's pretty special.

On the other hand, my "father" and I have a tumultuous relationship. I would rather not spend much time talking about that, I will simply say that efforts to reconcile were always thwarted by some random and unpredictable outburst or lashing out on his part. As a result, I have made a logical decision to stop seeking a "father-daughter" relationship with him.

When I got pregnant, we were not on speaking terms. But as I got closer to my delivery date, I thought about my son being afforded an opportunity to have a relationship with his biological grandfather. Family is important to me, and although my stepfather is great, I would like for my son to know ALL of where he comes from. The fact that I tried so many times to build a relationship with my father is evidence of how important I think he is. And although that relationship may never be salvaged, I do not want to stop him from being a great grandfather if that's who he wants to be. 

It made me very emotional. I didn't want him to hurt my son the way that he hurt me. I was also forced to confront the notion that I couldn't protect my son from everything even if I wanted to. So, I really struggled with this - the idea of making he and my son's relationship work even though ours didn't. Fortunately, hubby came to the rescue and met with him before our son was born and serve(d/s) as a sort of liaison. When we visit I go too, but he's become "Grandpa Alan," instead of "Dad." That works for me.

In any event, I didn't mean to make this post about my poor relationship with my father. I think the lesson my father taught me is to ensure that I pick a good father for my children so they never have to go through the things that I did. The past two father's day, and every day since I first discovered I was pregnant I am so thankful (and sometimes jealous) that my son has such a great father. Father's are invaluable. They have such an impact on esteem, something that I didn't realize until I was a bit older. I thank my father for teaching me that - a lesson I carry every day.

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