I was toying with a different idea for this post, but a few things over the past 48hours or so, has me thinking about dads and dads with their kids.
I adored my daddy when I was a little girl. I was “daddy’s little girl.” Now in my blended family of 8 kids, I cannot claim to be the first ever daddy’s little girl in our family, but I’m fairly positive I was the last. I am number 7 of 8; and 6 of 7 girls. When I was little I wore my crown with pride. I was the only child in the house that was allowed in the special drawer for gum, I went on day business trips with him, we had donuts most Saturday mornings at the local shop, I ran lots of errands with him, helped change the oil, etc. Pretty much I was his little sidekick. Much to his (and my mother’s) dismay—I repeated many things he said, often at a very inappropriate time and/or place. Boy was I forever getting in trouble over things I repeated.
Somewhere around 12 or 13, things started to change. He didn’t want me to hold his hand, or hug him as often. It was very strange. In some ways, one of the former “daddy’s little girls,” in the family had a lot to do with it. She so kindly pointed out, the impropriety of a girl my age being that close with him—Thank you for that. Not.
A couple more years and he added in name calling and suspicion. The trust we always had was gone. Honestly, I do not recall breaking the trust. It was just gone. I have my suspicions. See above reference to other female relations. He would call me tramp, whore, etc. Jezebel—yep Jezebel and many other things.
Now, during my reign as Princess, he was not perfect. One of the things I will never forget he said was “You are so stupid you can’t poor piss out of a boot with the instructions written on the bottom.”
Not to say there weren't a lot of good things, too. There were I'm just saying not even your hero is faultless.
There is much more I could delve into, but I won’t because this is about dads and not just mine.
Big B (my spouse) had a bad dad. He was mean, verbally abusive, and this is the worst in my opinion—neglectful. When Big B was about 12 or so his folks moved 3hrs away to UT, he stayed home with a 96yr. old grandfather for 4 to 5 days a week. They would come home for a few days at a time. Big B got into some bad stuff. He did recover.
After we married, the two of them had a huge fight and quit talking for 12 years.
After much soul searching (needling from me) Big B returned a call to his dad 2 years ago and attempted reconciliation. It went well for about 6 weeks, and then all hell broke loose. Last year we received a lovely letter from him calling him horrible names and quite frankly I could not believe you could say such hateful things to the baby you held just hours old.
If you can still keep up, let’s fast forward to the future.
Big B is a good dad. Except when he has been drinking which is most every night. So we have a good 10 hours of “good time” with him. (this includes work time)
This past weekend he spent 60, yes 60 one-on-one hours with our son. I’ve heard it went very well. After the fact, he admitted he was nervous since I have always been there to step in or he knew, he could go gamble or whatever if he wanted. He said he’d like to do this with our daughter, and I agreed. I told him at her age (11) she needs to solidify that bond. I don’t want her to become a statistic of a girl looking for love in every other guys pants.
Then Sunday night, the kids and I went with my brother and sister to a Christmas Event. We were home late and the boy (9) was helping to put the wheelchair away, when he hit the couch Big B was sleeping on. Big B went on to tell him, “(Son) you’re just not that smart. You should have went around the other way.” So, Monday before the drinking commenced, I confronted him and he gave son a (in my humble opinion) a very lame-assed apology. It went in circles about math and age smart, and sorry I hurt your feelings dude. Not 'I was way out of line and only an ass would talk to a kid the way I did you,' which is what I was expecting for him. Since, I was neither party and son accepted the apology I kept my mouth shut.
So, I was re-telling the story of the lame apology and the young-un, says, “Well, aren’t the kids used to Big B saying stupid things?” Ummmmmm, hello? What do you mean? She says don’t you tell me about his big mouth every couple of weeks or so? How he says dumb things to them?
Do I? I mean have I made it acceptable for my children to accept verbal
abuse, since I don’t have the cajones to leave an alcoholic? I can
rationalize my staying every which way but up, but how fair am I being to
them? They even tattle when he gets his “soda”. They found out about
the drinking during our darkest days (more on that later) It was hard for
them to deal with, especially since they take D.A.R.E. in school, etc.
These are the things I am thinking about dads today.