Tuesday, October 24, 2006

when you're having a bad day (or when your dad calls to tells you that he recently got engaged), go to the Convention Grill

my dad almost never talks to me anymore. he was married to my mom for 33 years, but then left her not even a month before my own wedding. it was bad timing. i supported my dad's decision because i wanted him to be happy. our wedding, in many ways, became more about their divorce than our marriage. that part sucked...but life isn't always perfect. unfortunately, that was only the beginning of the end.

my dad and i used to be close. now he never calls. when i do talk to him he's too busy. did i mention that we used to be close? yeah. we were. we used to talk on the phone or in person every day. every single day. but not anymore. now i don't even know who my dad is. i don't recognize him. i don't know the person he's become. i've supported him through everything--even when it was difficult--and, my god, difficult is an understatement. life is complicated and, in the end, i just wanted to see him happy. now the divorce is final. my mom is like a new person--but in a good way. my dad is still telling half-truths and lies. he does not realize how many times i have cried over the loss of our relationship. nor does he care.

so how the fuck do i write about the day that my dad calls and says blah, blah, blah... "and, by the way, i gave j. a ring."
?
which is when i stammer something like, "oh wow really...blah, blah stammer, stammer"...which doesn't satisfy his need for an excited response and so i offer several congratulations and a few questions (feigning interest) about how he went about it. i'm searching desperately for some part of me that is happy for him...but in my mind there is a screaming hollowness and i want to yell into the phone that maybe i would be more excited if he hadn't dropped us like hot rocks (my sister and brother, too) in exchange for j. and that my lack of enthusiasm has nothing to do with her, but everything to do with him and i don't even know who the hell he is anymore and i haven't had a dad in a long time and everything out of his mouth has turned into just a whole load of lies and, to be quite fucking honest, i really don't want to go to his wedding and pretend that i'm happy for him and the fact that he doesn't give a shit about anything but himself and his new life and fuck my head is screaming hollow...

and for the life of me, i can't seem to care.


but, god...even trying to write about it is a lot like opening pandora's box...i don't know where to begin. and so, instead, i go to an old diner and share a chocolate malt and greasy fries and a cheeseburger with my husband and listen to old michael jackson and queen and ottis redding and lionel richie songs play on the jukebox....and, for awhile, i can't help but feel better...even good.
but somedays i wish i could tell my dad everything that i've been thinking and feeling, not just today, but for the past 3 years...except that i know if i do, my relationship with him will plunge even further into nothingness...and so,

congratulations dad.

(...whatever it's worth.)

14 comments:

gkgirl said...

wow.
i cannot even imagine
what that must be like...

and yet i have to tell you,
that was some awesome writing.
isn't it funny how
rough times
make the words pour out.

hugs

Mark said...

Jessie, I'm sorry for all that. I don't know what it is to be estranged from a parent. I have a guilty pleasure though; your unhappiness prompted such gorgeous writing.

Is it weird to enjoy reading someone's misery just because the writing is so good?

swampgrrl said...

shit, grrl. sounds like Dad has no idea what precious jewels he has lost...in you and your siblings.

i like the way you laid it all out, no apologies. maybe someday he'll get it. in the meantime, take excruciatingly good care of yourself. malts....greasy fries.....lionel ritche....whatever it takes.

Loralee Choate said...

Your writing is beautiful.
The situation is not.

I really hope for your peace of mind you stay the freak away from his wedding. It would be hard, but I can't imagine much harder than feeling this way and trying to pretend to be happy all day.

You owe him nothing.

Is it bad that I want him to develop a scortching case of herpes?

kj said...

i want to yell into the phone that maybe i would be more excited if he hadn't dropped us like hot rocks (my sister and brother, too) in exchange for j. and that my lack of enthusiasm has nothing to do with her, but everything to do with him and i don't even know who the hell he is anymore and i haven't had a dad in a long time and everything out of his mouth has turned into just a whole load of lies and, to be quite fucking honest, i really don't want to go to his wedding and pretend that i'm happy for him and the fact that he doesn't give a shit about anything but himself and his new life
---------------------------------
i certainly don't know and wouldn't pretend to know what's right for you, but maybe your dad should hear this truth and these words directly, maybe in a letter. his behavior sucks and any attempt on his part to sugar coat that is disingenuous and hurtful.

sometimes it's hard for people who love eachother to get to the point of truth. but if/when they can, sometimes something real can come of it.

i know i'm rambling, jessie. the most important thing i want to say is that your feelings are understandable and true and don't let your dad push you into reframing them into something else.

don't forget you're a good good person...

kj

Jamie said...

Ouch, ouch, ouch. I'm glad you got an opportunity to spill some of this out onto the page because there's a storm going on.

I remember how my dad told us he was getting remarried. We were all sitting together talking about how hard a time we were having dealing with his relationship when he just said, "Well, you damn well better get used to it because I've asked J to marry me." Well, that stopped the conversation right quick.

I sincerely hope that you find a way to share with your dad how much you miss him and how hurt you've been. I hope that you build a new and beautiful relationship together that makes you feel cherished and loved. You deserve it.

Jamie said...

Oh, and in the meantime: more chocolate malts! ;)

sophie said...

I would tell him.
I would.
Because it means you miss him.
You care.

So i would find a way to say it.

(hugs)

Susannah said...

dads can be such wankers can't they. i don't have a relationship with mine - he left home when i was 11 and emigrated to Australia - and cut all contact with me and my sister. 22 years later i'm still trying to figure out the logic of his actions..... reading this post, my heart went out to you. and even though you don't know how to say it to him, you managed to articulate some of your feelings in this post. i think you should print it off and post it to him.... it may have no effect, it may widen the gulf between you - or it may open up a dialogue, one it sounds like you need to have. it sounds like he is so caught up in his new world, and as you and your siblings are 'all grown up now' he's done with parenting... but it never ends. maybe you need to be honest with him about how you feel? if nothing else, at least you will have said it, rather than holding it inside where it hurts even more...

okay, i could go on and on :-) sending you a big hug in whatever you do (and loving the new hair cut) x

Anonymous said...

oh, jessie. JESSIE. i feel like running to minnesota right now and finding you and telling vinny, "sorry...it's a grrl's thing." and just pampering the crap out of you. sweetness, i'm so sorry. this is a very very sucky situation, which i can relate to very much.
i agree, though, that if you're ready, when you're ready, that these things should be said to your father. things will never be right between you two again if you don't. more coming, soon.

((HUGS)) i love you!!!

Anonymous said...

I wish I had something eloquent to say right now, but I don't. Just sending you lots of love and empathy.

And my goodness, this was gorgeous writing.

xoxo,
Mon

Kristine said...

I have re-read this post several times, each time, needing more time to think about it. I feel so badly for you, yet angry too that you have been hurt in a way that cuts so deep. A few people here have said you should talk to your dad or print out what you said here and yet I recognize that even doing that is a risk. It's risking being hurt more if he does not hear you and validate your feelings. My older brother and I had a time in which we did not communicate. In short, he dropped me and our close knit relationship like a box of rocks because his wife at the time was threatened by our family's tightly knit connection. For years we communicated in that 'everyone-get-along" politeness which was so different than the close bond we once had where we wouldn't stand for the other being fake or not simply saying what was wrong. It took time for us to get back to a good place. However, I know that there were times when I tried to talk to my brother and all I got in response was, " I'm sorry you feel that way." That response does not validate ones feelings or offer an 'i'm sorry'... I know this is long winded-- I just want you to know that while the situations are different, I feel your pain. Hang in there. You know you have this space to post yout thoughts and that Vinny is always supportive of you.

melba said...

Dad stuff sucks. I KNOW. unfortunately I know.

I feel for you.
XOXO,
Melba

Amber said...

I recognize a lot of your feelings about this from the first few years that my dad was with my current stepmom. Your situation sounds VERY similar to mine. But the good news (the reason I'm commenting) is that it can get better. For a while, I talked to my dad only a couple of times a year, and then only with weirdness. But now that the novelty of his marriage has worn off, we've been able to get close again. I understand your pain and anger, but I hope you don't let it get in the way if you ever have a chance to mend your relationship with your dad.