This is a really difficult post to write but in the interest of full disclosure I couldn’t not write it. Both the Dazzler and I have difficult relationships with our Fathers. Both had absentee fathers during childhood and both still haven’t resolved these issues.
My Dad is charm itself. People love him and when you are with him it is hard to NOT like him. He is the first person to talk to strangers and makes everyone feel welcome. My Dad is not a bad man (I realised this paragraph sounded like he was evil when not in public) he came from a family that, for his generation at least, wasn’t particularly close and he just wasn’t very good at being a dad to us, his first family.
For years my brothers were angry with me as I couldn’t forgive my dad for his mistakes. What they didn’t realise was that I was angry for them. I was the eldest and saw more of what my dad was really like. I watched our family struggle and him not coping with adult life. Just some of the things which shape my memories of him are …
- As kids we watched our Mum work 12 and 24 hour shifts in a care home to keep our family afloat – and saw my dad asleep drunk on the sofa whilst she did this.
- As kids we saw my Dad run off abroad as he couldn’t get work in the UK, only to have him live a completely different life without us, and still not send enough money for my mum to give up her 12 hour days.
- As kids we couldn’t understand how our dad earned good money in Saudi, but we still had free school meals, bailiffs at the door and handouts from the church.
- As kids I saw the disappointment in my brothers faces when we didn’t get christmas presents, or when Dad would come back from 6 months away with a wrapped up executive gift as a present (A blob of oil in a paperweight anyone?)
And then my Dad, who hadn’t really been there, left mum for another woman, who he met whilst working abroad. It wasn’t a shock to me and my mum treated the whole thing with the class she shows in everything – she even got divorce papers served to him at Christmas. (my dad invited the server in for a drink – see what I mean about charming)
My middle brother idolises our father. He is his Dad, and I wouldn’t take that from him ever. My little brother and I are slightly more ambivalent. I knew too much and he didn’t really miss Dad as he had been abroad for most of his life. But the divorce hit my middle brother particularly hard. It didn’t help that even as a divorced dad my father didn’t make the most of his relationship with us…
- As adults I watched my brothers drop everything to go up and meet my dad at the airport – he was only stopping over on his way to his new wife’s family in Ireland – only to have him not bother to come through to meet them
- As adults I met my new half brother and sister in one of these visits – which lasted about 20 minutes. This was the only time I would make the trip.
- As adults I watched the disappointment when my father explained to my brothers that as far as his new wife’s (catholic) family were concerned we were actually nephews not his sons – something which went on for too many years.
Lots of people have really difficult memories of their father, with real problems to deal with thanks to abuse that they have experienced. I’m lucky that I never had that. I had an amazing mum (who did dad duty too) and an absentee father. He wasn’t evil he just lived his life by the ‘out of sight out of mind’ rule.
Im glad to say he is a much better parent and husband to his new family. A family that we now feel part of. His wife keeps the family strong, makes sure there is money for everything and works three Jobs. She is the reason that the family works so well and I have no doubt that my Dad and her are deeply in love. My half brother and sister are both wonderful with great personalities and again that is a testament to the love in their house.
Im sad that my brothers and I didn’t have that experience, but i’m not jealous. my Dad and I have had a reconciliation but I still think of my dad as he wanted people to think of us in his new family – as a slightly eccentric uncle who I’m not particularly close to but like spending time with – after all he is a charmer!! I even wished him ‘happy fathers day’ today but wasn’t sure how ironic I was being.
Which is why, when it comes to Fathers day, you will find me posting silly images and jokes. Not to detract from your wonderful relationships with your Fathers, nor out of some form of jealousy – as I truly love your wonderful Dad posts – but because its my way of coping