re·form: (r-fôrm) v. re·formed, re·form·ing, re·forms v. tr. 1. To improve by alteration, correction of error, or removal of defects; put into a better form or condition. 2. To cause (a person) to give up harmful or immoral practices; persuade to adopt a better way of life.
ma·ma or mam·ma also mom·ma: n. (also m-mä) Informal. Mother.

6.04.2006

And Then There's Dear Old Dad

I suppose that since an email from my mom prompted a post, surely an actual visit from my dad deserves something.

Dad and his wife, Geneva (who I do not refer to as my step-mom), are in town today. They got in early today and will leave early tomorrow. I'm shocked they are even here.

They are just stopping in on their way back to FL after having been in Ohio for Geneva's nephew's wedding. Nevermind that they never even sent a card when I got married, let alone show up. But I'm not bitter or anything.

So what's dad's deal? Ultimately, what it boils down to is that he is a super nice guy and never wants to hurt anyone's feelings. Unfortunately, that often means that he says what he thinks people want to hear and never follows through on that.

Dad didn't have an easy childhood either. Grandpa was an abusive alcoholic and grandma was stuck raising 6 kids (5 boys) on her own. In the end, my oldest uncle ended up caring for my dad as best as he could. That's probably partly why dad didn't finish 9th grade.

When I was a kid dad was always drinking. I don't remember him being mean or anything like that. He was just always an "if-it-feels-good-do-it" kind of guy. That means that he watched inappropriate movies with us kids in the room. He drank a lot. He went out when he wanted to. On and on and on...

Dad had been working as a chef at a 5-star hotel in St. Pete, FL. He is a great cook -- that, along with the drinking, is a family tradition. When mom left, dad no longer had a job. I do not know the details. I'm sure if I asked dad or mom, they would both tell me lies about how it was the othre person's fault.

I was in my second year of college. My brothers were still in high school at that point. I wsa working as a cashier at a grocery store and trying to pay for my education. When everything kind of hit the fan, Dad sort of had a melt-down.

Now I can understand being heart-broken and how that heartbreak may affect your ability to concentrate, but again, we still have choices. We can wallow and wait for things to be made better or we can make them better.

Dad chose to wallow. He was never home -- for months at a time. He had taken a job at a local bar and had met Geneva. Actually, he was pretty much living with her at the time. That means that I had to use what I had of my meager cashier's salary for the rent and track my dad down for the rest.

And my brothers... well they both ended up dropping out of school. I was only 18. I had no idea how to encourage them to continue going to school. And with their learning disabilities, the inability of the public schools in FL to help them with those problems and our parents... it was only a matter of time before they quit school anyway.

I ended up moving to USF right after I turned 19; about 10 months after mom had left. Danny had to go live with a friend and Robbie bounced around between Geneva's house and my mom's house.

Geneva has a son who is about 5 years older than me. Robbie was my youngest brother and was still attempting school. Geneva's son, who had been in and out of jail was allowed to live there with her and my dad, but Robbie was only allowed at certain times.

While I was in school Dad never assisted me in any way. He never came to visit me. He really had nothing to do with me until graduation. He was too busy bailing Geneva's kids out of jail and whatnot. But I'm not bitter...

Add to that the fact that when I finished college and went to get my own apartment, I could not have my phone turned on because Dad had run up a $300 phone bill in my name and you have one ticked off daddy's girl.

Eventually, Robbie came to live with me because neither of my parents had room or time for him. Geneva and I battled it out hard at times. Danny started drinking just like Dad.

I decided I needed to get away from all of that. So I packed up and moved to NC. Right before I moved dad came to my apartment and cried about how he was sorry that he had let me down and all that jazz. Yeah, I bought it. I hugged him and told him it was okay.

Don't tell me you are sorry, show me. Know what I mean?

That was the only time my dad has EVER stepped foot in any place I have ever lived as an adult. It's been 12 years since I moved out. Things never changed. Dad has still bailed out Geneva's kids and left my brothers -- his own flesh and blood -- out to dry.

When Eddie was born, my dad lived only 3 hours away. He never came to the hospital. He never even ventured over to see his grandson. He did send a rather large package for Eddie, but I'd rather have had my dad visit.

He's let me down so many times that I have just learned to not believe anything he says until he actually does it.

I've invited Dad and Geneva over for dinner tonight. We'll see if they actually show or if Geneva suddenly falls ill. I'm certainly not holding my breathe with anticipation of seeing them in my house tonight.

1 Comments:

Blogger Lindsey @ Enjoythejourney said...

Did your Dad make it over for dinner? If so, I hope you ended up having a nice time. You are a bigger woman than I am---I tend to hold a grudge realllllllyyyyy bad!

8:11 PM

 

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