Want to know what I learned on Christmas Day this past year? When my brother and I were having a phone conversation with my father, I didn't want to talk to him. I let my brother do most of the talking, and I only said the obligatory "I love you" and "Merry Christmas" to him.
He's making an effort for the first time in 15 years to be a part of our lives. Last year he called me on my birthday, on Thanksgiving and on Christmas. I honestly can't remember the last time that happened. In fact, the last time he called my on my birthday was over 20 years ago. And that time was a mistake, since he'd forgotten my birthday and was trying to convince my mother to let him come back home.
I could easily delve into the dangerous world that is my daddy issues, but I will only skim the surface.
On Christmas Day I learned that I'm not ready to let down my walls with him. I learned he's going to have to work super hard to get back into my life. He can't come waltzing back in like nothing ever happened, no pain was ever felt, like he never broke my heart when I was a little girl. She still feels this pain despite the fact that the grown up woman inside of me has forgiven him and wants to move on.
For better or worse, I'm apathetic to my father's advances. If we get a relationship out of this, fine. If we don't, fine. I've lived this long without him I can keep going without breaking my stride if I want to. I wrote him off once, and it's hard to undo that.
Today he announced on Facebook that he's lost 209 pounds and counting. That's an incredible achievement and all the comments that followed his status said as much. I recognized one name in the comments. She is my mother's cousin. Bless her heart, she's always been kind and open and receptive to everybody. Despite the fact that up until last year she thought he was dead (that should prove how little he has to do with my actual life), she is now facebook friends with him and telling him congrats on the weight loss.
All the other names of the people applauding his weight loss were foreign to me. I have no idea who these people are, but they are emphatically cheering my father on. Two of them referred to him as "Uncle." One of those "Nieces" liked my comment of "Good Job, Dad" (short and sweet), and I couldn't help myself from clicking on her name to stalk her profile.
She was born in 1962 and lives in Oklahoma. My father was born in 1955, and I know he didn't meet this chick until 2001 at the earliest, because that's when he met his current wife. So, she's only 7 years younger than he is and she didn't know him until she was well into adulthood... and she feels the need to call him "Uncle?" Really? Does that read a little fake to anybody else or just me?
Today I learned that the life my dad has been living seems to be cultivated by a brand new family of people who don't seem to really know him at all. Or maybe I don't know him at all... after all, I have no idea who this bitch is, but evidently she's my "cousin" of sorts.
Ugh... daddy issues suck. If I have any advice out there for young fathers, don't fuck it up. These little girls need you.