Friday, 31 January 2014

Cut off point

Firstly, thank you to all who took the time to comment on my last post. I really felt so low and sad and at the end of my tether that I just could not see the pesky wood for the big fat old trees. In those moments, it is so hard to see your problem with any kind of perspective. You just see red mist and cold fear and huge mountains that are un-climbable. (is that a word? It is now).  I started this blog because I just found motherhood so hard and lonely at times and wondered why no fecker ever talked about it... so the fact that so many people still read it and were there to send advice support - means a lot. Plus, thank gawd other folk feel the same way.

I wasn't raised in a normal family - well, no family is normal - but you know, Mum, Dad, siblings, dog, the usual... My Mum left my Dad before she discovered she was pregnant with me and made the brave decision to have me on her own - even when he told her to abort me. So I grew up with my Mum and Grandmother until I was 11 and then we moved in with my Mum's new boyfriend. He is this man. We moved out again when I was almost 15...but I continued living with him at weekends... An odd arrangement, granted - but it worked for me. Anyway, the whole 2.4 thing - I have it now... but I didn't then. Sometimes I feel like whilst my Mum did her best, I don't think I have a template of how to do the whole family thing... Sometimes I struggle... It isn't normal for me. But I am damn sure it will be normal for my kids...

This week, I hung up on my Dad. I think it may be the last time we'll talk.

I should feel sad, but I just feel relieved... If he was my mate, I would have ditched him years ago, deleted his phone numbers and moved on. There is only so much disappointment one person can take.

To explain: I moved to the big smoke aged 18, to Uni. Escape! Since then (apart from a year travelling) I've lived in and around London. My Dad, he thinks it's 'too far' to travel to, from his home, just outside Belfast. That long exhausting, one hour flight. He's never seen my home, never stayed a night under my roof. I am 40. 22 years and he has never visited me.

I forgave it. Made my own excuses. When I lived in West Hampstead: flat is too small. When we moved out to the countryside: I'm not a grown up, he is set in his ways... I conveniently forgot about the football refereeing trips he went on, the buddy holidays he attended. The Xmases he never invited me to... The birthdays he forgot.

Then I had kids.

I think I still would have gone on, making up ways to justify his actions - except, he had married my step-mother when I was 14 and so became a step-father to her two daughters. They are 54 and 51 to my 40. The 54 year old has a millionaire partner and 2 sons ages 18 and 15. My Dad and Step mother had those boys to stay EVERY WEEKEND since they were toddlers. Every Sat night these kids had inner and bath time and then sleepovers at my Dad's - he lives 5 mins walk from their house. He even got BUNK BEDS to accommodate them. He talked endlessly to me about taking them to football games, school fairs (school fucking fairs!!!! He bloody well had to be DRAGGED to my parent/teacher evenings - didn't even go to my GRADUATION - and here he is going to school fairs?????). He coached their football team! He told me often how great it was, being a grandparent, with this misty eyed look, because he hadn't obviously done this before, the whole parenting lark. 
He was an absent, charismatic, charming, careless parent who tolerated me for a few hours on a Sunday at best.

I chose men just like him for a good 10 years. Then I woke up and thank god husband is NOTHING like him.

Anyway. This week - I was tired, still grumpy. Spent. On Monday he rang me to tell me that he was having some knee operation and said I sounded down. I explained that yeah, we have no help, no space, no escape and I'm leaving my job and it is all scary but we are positive and yadda yadda and then I said 'we aren't as lucky and G and P' (my step -sister and partner - the ones with the 2 boys - who could easily afford nannies etc but had my Dad and stepmother on tap).  I continued,  'We don't have the breaks you gave them... every weekend.' My Dad's reply? 'yeah... you chose to live over there.'

He makes it sound like we live in fucking Australia.

Then he said, as if to pour salt in my open wound, 'We had the kids to stay this weekend too... we still have them all the time.'

I lost it. 'We live 20 minutes from fucking Luton airport, which is an hour away from you. You know what? I don't give a shit about your fucking knee.' And I hung up.

For good.

A friend said I'd never forgive myself if he died. But is that a good enough reason to stay in touch with him? Just in case he carks it and I'm left with guilt?? I just cannot bear the man. Has he ever been to a birthday of my Sproglet's? (He is almost 8).  A football match? Taken 3 year old Sproglette to the park? Seen the pretty canal lined market town I live in?

NOPE. He is a selfish, petty immature bastard who gives me nothing - no time, no care, no attention, no.... love. But yet he expects me to care about his knee, his life, his holidays, his other family.

After all he has done to me, how much he has let me down and never measured up, I always forgave it. But I just cannot let it go where my kids are concerned. Did I mention that my other step-sister lived in London for about 4 years during which time she married - and how my Dad visited her?? She was here 4 years! Then divorced, without kids. He made time and got on that exhausting one hour flight for her - because my step-monster decreed it. But for me, for my kids? Nothing.

There comes a point in your life, when you realise you don't need anyone who doesn't enhance it. Life really is too short. Time too precious. So what that he is my Dad? Procreating doesn't make you a parent. Sticking around, being there for your kids, spending time with them - does.

And certainly he is no parent, or grandparent.

It is time to cut him off. I just can't be disappointed anymore.


Shannon b said...

This!!! This I can relate to! Every girlfriend's kid took priority over me. Every school function of their's was attended, not mine. Broken promises. My half sister got trips to Disneyland, big city, out of state, full paid university and Europe. Me?! "I'll pay for 1/3 of local college." I guess that was more generous than yours, but I can still relate. Fuckers. They are missing out on so much. No special visits for grand kids, no sneaking out for an inspirational chat over coffee, no private jokes, no mutual memories. A total loss. For me and my kids. The island of parenting without help can seem so big at times. I envy my friends who have a family support system. I hope they appreciate it. It's golden.

Keenie Beanie said...

You don't need toxic people in your life, even if they share your DNA. Good for you for taking care of yourself and your family. Been there, done that.

And thanks for your encouragement for me in the comments on your prior post.


Anonymous said...

The awful thing is that you and your children are his own flesh and blood. His actual flesh and blood. I think it is wonderful that he has been such a good granddad to his wife's grandchildren, it's not a zero-sum game after all, but the fact of it is that he has treated you like a second (or third) class citizen all your life and cannot see that this is... appalling. Yes. Appalling. What is interesting is that your step mother doesn't put 2 and 2 together and realise that a man who is entirely capable of that sort of callous behaviour could turn in an instant. He probably won't... then again... he might. He just might. You have done the right thing. You have enough stress and worry at the moment without his toxic presence leaching into your life. You need supportive, loving people, people who meet you at least half way, who give as much as they get blah blah. Love actually isn't unconditional, not in these instances, sadly. So do not ever feel that you are losing something, you aren't. It was never there to begin with, and were it me I'd go further. I'd write a concise and simply-worded, non-sweary letter to him and to your stepmother - mailed separately - about exactly what your problem is. Mail it to them, and at the end, tell them to forget you exist. And mean it.