Yesterday I had a big cry. Oh yes, the really self indulgent, nose streaming, soaking cheeks, big sobs, choking whines, hearty healthy weep.
It had only been 4 days since my last crying episode - clearly I was due. What is with me at the moment? I'm just one big tear fest. Anything sets me off. Even now, thinking as I type, the old water ducts are about to brim over. I can't even blame PMT. The older I get the more emotional I seem to become.
So what had sent me scuttling for half a roll of kitchen paper yesterday? Well, lately I feel like I've been in the firing line, when in fact I haven't actually intentionally done anything to warrant it. Everywhere I've turned somehow I'm involved in drama that I want no part of. I'm not dwelling on all this - it is just it takes me time to process things, from my stomach to stop churning about it all, to stop feeling wounded. After I was bullied by a director on a travel show I worked on in 2003 - it took me until around 2008 to stop having nightmares (occasionally) about the whole sorry episode. I'm not one of those people who switches off (christ I wish I was) I don't have a duck's back. Unlike Husband who just feels 'fuck 'em' about everything and doesn't lose an ounce of sleep no matter how enormous his obstacle. He LOVES confrontation, loves to wage a war - but I'm all squiggy and soft and a bit rubbish at all that. I just want to get on with everyone and everyone to like me and us all to be happy smiley campers.
But yesterday's tears were to do with my Father. My arrow had been pointing towards the 'blue' chart to begin with - post Italy. I'm always at my happiest surrounded by my oldest buddies - I feel so comfortable and safe with them all - happiest to laugh at myself, happiest to laugh with them. So the great event I had long awaited was all done and I have no idea when we'll all be in the same room again. There was a time when there were weddings/30ths galore, but that is long gone and now we're all secretly counting down the months until the 40ths - an excuse to party together again.
My Mum had said my Dad had rung, wanting my middle name (yes he doesn't even know that) and to 'just check' my date of birth etc. I called him and as I predicted, he was changing his will and needed some details. Now I should explain - My Father re-married my Step mother in '87. She is 10 years older than him and has two daughters, ten years plus older than me. They are now 48 and 51. The 51 year old has two boys - and they live around the corner from my Dad. He has been more of a Father to those two boys than he ever was to me. It never really bothered me, as my Dad is an immature 65 year old, and it took him until his 50s to sprout any kind of parenting gene. But now I have my own children I cannot help but compare how little attention he gives to my kids - and how much he showers on the others (15 and 11). He argues it is because they live near him and I am an hours flight away. But you see, he has never got on that flight. I have lived in England for 20 years and not once - not ever, has he visited me.
I excused this away for many years 'I live in student flats,' then 'my flat is small' but now, in my 3 bed house in a sunny little leafy village outside London and 20 mins drive from the airport - I can't quite hold this up. Which brings me to yesterday. I had called him and contrary to his plans for his will in the past (2/3 of everything he owns going to me 1/3 to my stepmother) it will now all be divided between me and my step-sisters equally. Fair enough - he can do what he wants with his money, regardless of the fact they have their own father who has never had any other chidren and who will leave his estate to them. No, what hurt the most is that should my Dad get sick - they are his powers of attorney. They will be in charge of all his finances - not me. Not his blood child. The child whose graduation he couldn't be bothered to go to; the child he neglected during teenage years; the child he has never asked to spend Xmas with; the child he has never visited; the child he rang a week before her wedding to say he wouldn't make a speech if she insisted upon invited her Mother's ex (her surrogate Dad) to the wedding... I could go on.
When I first heard his news I was so stunned I muttered I had to go and read Sproglet a bedtime story and hung up. But yesterday, well I couldn't really sleep. I wanted to know what had changed - why had he altered his will so drastically - why am I - once again - shoved to the bottom of his priority pile? So I rang him. Now my dad doesn't do 'conversation' unless it is about football. Ask him any kind of awkward question and it is a match to a flame - he just flares up and a row has begun even though you are talking calmly and trying to reason. Imagine a 65 year old toddler. There you have him. So he rages at me 'is this about money?' It isn't actually. It is about feeling important in his life. Something I have never ever done. My mind harks back to the day my Grandfather (his Father whom he lived with at the time) had a heart attack - and I (13 at the time) was left to call the ambulance etc. Dad - well he was refereeing - and as usual I was maybe 3rd or 4th on his priority list. He arrived home as the ambulance left - having no idea the nightmare that had just occurred.
He hangs up. Something he frequently does as he just can't bear to actually listen to someone else, to understand or relate to what they are going through. I cried. Mainly frustrated that once again I let him upset me. I swore when he didn't see me graduate - that he would never hurt me again. But he has. Over and over and over. He has never been to my son's birthday parties, or watched him play football - but he has had his other step- grandchildren to stay EVERY weekend since they were born. He never shuts up about them bursting with pride at all they do. They are boys, he is a referee. Me being a girl never really cut it.
So now, I don't know where to go from here. Part of me just wants to cut the man from life - no father equals no hurt - yes? The other part of me feels there may be a letter I need to write - to tell him how I feel - to not let him fill the air with his lame excuses and jokey side swipes, avoiding responsibility at all costs. I'm not sure. I cannot ever imagine not visiting Sproglet or Sproglette in 20 years - expecting them to always do the running - a one way relationship. Sure he loves me, in his own twisted way. I am sure he even cares. But has he been there for me, when I have ever needed him? No.
Which is fine for me, but not for my kids. I won't let him do to them what he did to me with his false promises and dashed hopes. So I cried, for the little girl inside me that still wants her Daddy's approval - who still wants to be loved. Who wants to be a priority, but never will be.