- Paul and I bought and planted everything for our landscaping project.
- I put on clean sheets and finally took the electric blanket off our bed.
- Summer! We are expecting the next couple of days to be in the mid to upper 90’s with high humidity. I might have to break down and put on our A/C. It’s rarely ever forecasted to be this hot here. I could probably count on one hand in my lifetime of days where it’s been over 100.
- We had some powerful storms come through our area and were without electricity for almost a day and a half. I’m grateful our power is back on.
- I’m grateful we didn’t sustain any damage from the storm. A couple streets over had a lot of damage, a huge tree knocked down a powerline. My parents have many trees down.
- I’m grateful the boats in the marina are safe. A tornado went through and decimated a farm about a mile away from the marina. We saw the siding from the barn hanging in the tree across the street from it. It’s strange to see so much damage in some areas and none at all in others.
- I’m grateful for running water; the ability to take a shower, flush a toilet, wash clothes and dishes.
- I’m grateful my best friend had power so we could run over all the meat we just bought. I’m grateful for the opportunity to clean out the freezer. Something I’ve been meaning to do for a while.
- I’m grateful for the deafening silence without power. It gave me time to think without distractions. My cell phone died and for awhile I went off the grid like I did when I was a kid.
- My son turned 22 this week, one step closer to full brain development. Ha ha. He woke up to no power, a dead cell phone, not able to take a shower, and we couldn’t go sailing as planned because there was a gale warning. But, all in all, I think he had an okay day anyway.
- I spent some time talking alone with my son’s girlfriend. Her family life was not a lot different from mine. I think I was able to help her out as someone who understands and has been there.
- Paul and I volunteered at a Christian center that helps families in need. They give out free diapers, kids clothing, and support families. We think this is a great way to help people. I’m grateful for the opportunity to volunteer there.
- I’ve been dog sitting for my best friend all weekend. I’m grateful for the opportunity to help out and that it has taken away my desire to get a dog anytime soon. She will not leave my side and barks or whines when I leave her. She scratches on the door if I go in another room.
- Friday night Paul and I went to dinner and a local community theater show with our old friends Harv and Kate. They are in their upper 80’s. It’s always nice to hang out with them.
- Today is Father’s Day. I’m grateful that my husband and brother are wonderful fathers without having good role models. Today is a hard day for people who have difficult relationships with their dads, including me. I was unable to find my dad a card this year. They all had words such as there for me when I needed you, great example, wonderful person…you get the drill. So I suppose a phone call will suffice.
- I’m grateful all our kids stopped by today for Father’s Day. Our daughters (and their significant others) surprised dad by going to church with us. This is the first time our kids visited our new church.
- Wow, I have a long list this week. It’s amazing how grateful I am when I had to go without. There are so many things I take for granted…like running water. This has been a reminder to me of what I have.
Next week my dad will be celebrating his 75th birthday. It should be a grand celebration surrounded by his children and grandchildren. There should be a cake with candles a blazing, birthday cards, thoughtful gifts, and laughter. But there won’t be any of that.
On his birthday, Paul and I will be going to a Wisconsin Dells waterpark with our children and their significant others for an extended weekend. I planned it that way so I wouldn’t have to think about my dad’s birthday and how a relationship between a father and daughter should be. It’s painful I won’t be celebrating with him. I’m not sure what I’m going to do. Maybe I’ll call him. I tried to find a card to avoid an awkward conversation, but all the cards talk about love, admiration, honor, and respect. My dad doesn’t bring to mind any of those things.
On a side note, I totally think there is a market out there for shitty dad’s greeting cards. Who wants the sappy love stuff when their dad is a deadbeat? Or it could be for anyone for that matter, an annoying mother-in-law. It could cover all the major holidays so an awkward phone call isn’t necessary so I can feel like a good person although the recipient is a total ass. But I digress…
I talked to my brother Luke yesterday. His daughter Eva has a swim meet near our house and he was wondering if they could stay with us the weekend of our dad’s birthday. I told them they could stay at our house even though we will be out of town. We talked about our dad’s birthday. Luke said he would be driving by our parents house on our dad’s birthday. He wondered if he should stop by, then decided not to.
Luke said our dad never taught him anything. The only time my dad and him ever spent alone together was when my dad was whipping his ass. But beyond all of that, when my daughter Angel found porn on my dad’s computer and turned it over to the police it changed things for all of us. My brother’s daughters are the same age as some of the children in the images. My brother told my dad if he ever wants to see his grandchildren again, he needed to do several things. I can’t remember what all the conditions were. One for sure is that my dad needed to seek counseling. He didn’t do anything my brother asked him to do. Should he go back on that because it’s our dad’s 75th birthday?
His daughters have not seen my dad for over two years now. He said that once he opens that door it will be hard to close it again. I totally agree. We had the same issue with our brother Matt. Matt heard voices to hurt and/or kill our children. I did not allow contact between my brother and children when they were little after he attacked my daughter. Christmas was so hard. My mom would drop off the gifts then leave. The kids would cry. We had to be very careful. That was before Matt went to a group home and was on anti-psychotic meds.
So, yeah, how lucky I’ve been to have a brother and dad we didn’t/don’t want our kids around. I told my brother to just keep driving. I told him not to tell his children it’s grandpa’s birthday. They don’t understand the situation. Because they don’t, they might think their dad is in the wrong for ignoring his dad on his birthday when their dad has been everything our dad never was. For that I am thankful.
We both feel a tremendous amount of guilt for not spending time with our dad on his birthday because we still want to honor our parents. We want a relationship that will never be. Sadly, our dad made a lot of bad choices and we have to accept that and the pain that comes with it. We have to do things in the best interests to protect our children. It’s not the way we want things to be, but that’s the way it is.
So, in recognition of our dad, my brother and I became the parent he never was. I’m going to spend his birthday celebrating that with my own family and my brother will keep on driving.
I heard an ad recently that stated if you’re going to borrow money, borrow it from a pessimist because they won’t expect you to pay them back.
Recently my daughter Angel called me a pessimist.
That makes me question…Are all depressed people considered pessimists? Why are pessimists viewed so negatively? Why is it such a bad thing that most people resist being labeled a pessimist?
I admit I have been rather depressed lately. I haven’t felt much like writing. Tis the season. It’s not uncommon for me to feel this way at the end of summer. I’m going through warm summer sunshine withdrawal. My favorite season is coming to an end. It’s starting to get dark at 7 PM and I’m ready to go to bed. I haven’t been sleeping well and have been having nightmares again. We closed down the cabin for the year. The long sailing trips are over. Even the early morning runs before my daughter starts working will be over soon too. I eat, breathe, and live for the summer which is almost gone. I can almost taste the darkness that lies ahead mushed in with this crazy world we live in right now. It tastes a little like pumpkin spice mixed with onions.
Now before you cast me off as a hopeless Eeyore, I want to argue that perhaps I am not a pessimist after all. Maybe, in fact, I am quite the opposite. Maybe I am overly optimistic. I have inside of me this innate perfectionism. I can envision in my mind a flawless utopia. I see the world as it should be. The problem is that it is not that way. There is a difference between my ideal and the way things really are. How can that be fixed? I wish I knew. I kinda somehow think it’s going to take a little more than rose colored glasses.
A couple months back I told you the story of how my elderly friend Harv surprised me by baking me a cake for my birthday. It was a bittersweet moment because my own dad never acknowledged my birthday. No cakes, no cards, no calls, not even one birthday spanking. That one act of kindness from Harv nearly broke my heart. It was a happy day, yet at the same time very painful because my own dad probably didn’t even remember it was my birthday.
A pessimist might say…My dad hates me. I hate myself. Birthdays are stupid anyway. Harv is retired so he had nothing better to do.
A realist might say…Most dads care about their daughters enough to wish them a happy birthday. Harv is a good dad. My dad doesn’t care. It is what it is. How people treat me does not define who I am.
An optimist might say…Isn’t it wonderful that someone cares about me enough to make me a cake? Maybe next year that will be my dad making me that cake because I am fricken awesome. He really does care about me but has a hard time showing it. Blah, blah, blah…
I’ve always aligned myself as a realist instead of a pessimist. But sometimes the truth is too painful. I don’t have control over whether my dad calls me for my birthday or not. I could try to force it by calling him and telling him it is my birthday. But why bother? It’s not going to change things. Sometimes I just want to have a perfect life. Is that so wrong? I see how I want my life to be but I don’t have control over other people’s choices nor should I. Sometimes reality sucks and if that makes me a pessimist so be it then.
I don’t want to be an optimist, but here I am a utopic visionary in a dystopian world. Optimists rather annoy me anyway with their chirpy words of false hope. Things will get better with your dad. Just wait. How much longer do I have to keep waiting? I want to know because I am not getting any younger. I’m getting older. Okay, I’m 47.
Oh by the way I hate the glass half empty half full argument. In all reality, that glass probably shattered a long time ago. And I want my money back.
- After a couple of nights away and not sleeping the best, it is nice to be home and sleep in my own bed.
- My son turned 21 this past week and we got to spend a lot of time with him for his birthday.
- My husband, son, and a friend of his went whitewater rafting. I wanted to go last year but never went. I’m glad I didn’t chicken out because it was a lot of fun. Plus it was a hot day which made it so much better.
- It’s the first day of summer! Woohoo! Funny thing is that it is quite chilly here. I turned off the A/C and put on a sweater.
- Paul and I worked most of the weekend for our business. It was nice because some friends of ours stopped by to chat that we haven’t seen since before COVID.
- I am grateful to have a wonderful husband that is a great father to our kids. For Father’s Day we took him out to eat and toured a maritime museum. He had a really nice day. I’m grateful for all the great dads out there that make a difference in their children’s lives or men who step up and provide that guidance.
- I’m grateful that life seems to be back on schedule again. Some friends of ours just invited us to their Halloween party this fall. It’s nice to have some events back on the calendar.
- I’m grateful that my daughter seems to like her new job.
- I’m grateful that the pool guys came out today to put in a new filter. It’s always nice when broken worn out things are fixed.
- I’m grateful that I haven’t had the chance to be bored this summer. So far it seems to be going a whole lot better than last year. I’m sure almost everyone can say an amen to that!!
Paul struggled with what it meant to be a husband and a dad. He never had a dad and barely remembered his mother’s brief marriage when he was 4 to a man that was supposedly abusive towards him.
His only parent was very childlike herself. They were dirt poor. He spent the first half of his childhood in low income housing in the inner city of Chicago. His mother was slow and uneducated. She also struggled with mental health issues that I would guess were trauma related.
Martha’s dad died when she was 12, so Paul didn’t have a grandpa either. He wouldn’t have made a good grandpa anyway. He was known to abuse his children and cheat on his wife. He wouldn’t be my chosen father figure for a future husband.
Martha didn’t always make the best decisions but she was a good mother. She always told Paul he could do anything he put his mind to. She did the best she could with the hand she was given.
Sometimes I feel like Paul was more of a parent to Martha than she was to him. But that could be because I saw him give her advice as an adult. She would argue that credit cards were money. She wasn’t a drinker but I think she was addicted to gambling. I’m sure that is why Paul is obsessed with keeping our finances in order.
Martha also had a really bad temper. She was very reactive and emotional. She often was angry and thought people were out to get her. Or you could be the best thing that ever happened to her. In those times you could do nothing wrong. She was crazy fun, exciting, and impulsive.
After her brief marriage, Martha didn’t have a lot of boyfriends. She worked a lot. Sometimes she lost her jobs due to her chronic tardiness. She married for the 2nd time right before I met Paul. Her husband Darryl is only 15 years older than Paul. He had kids but his ex took off with them and they spent most of their adult life in and out of prison. Maybe if Paul was still a child he would’ve been a good father.
I wish I could say that my own dad was able to take him under his wing. If anything, my dad taught him what not to do as a husband and a father. It seems like we both had to parent our parents more than they parented us. It caused a lot of stress shouldering all of that responsibility.
There was no one, just a big empty void of abandonment. He was expected to be good at something he never learned how to do. He didn’t have a dad to play ball with. No one taught him how to fix things or work on cars. He was never disciplined. He didn’t have a dad to embarrass him or give him advice on girls. Like most things, he just had to figure it out himself.
I tried to gloss it over and glamorize it by saying that at least he could develop his own style. But it wasn’t easy. I think he is a wonderful father and husband despite his insecurities. When he screws up he apologizes and tries harder to be a better person. He is doing a wonderful job and I appreciate his commitment.
He could’ve walked away like his own father did. Instead he was willing to roll up his sleeves and work on himself and our relationship.
- I have one less teenager in my house…actually my son turned 20 this past week. I am grateful for him and the person he is becoming.
- My son had a mouse in his room which I am thankful for. It prompted him to clean his room to how it looked before we moved in. Now let’s hope it stays that way. My cat has the bad habit of bringing presents in the pet door.
- Although Paul and I really didn’t luck out in the dad department, I am grateful to have a husband who is a wonderful father to our children. That is what I celebrated on Father’s Day. I did send my dad a card though, not because he was a great dad but because I am a good person.
- In what can only be described as a God moment, I was able to meet someone who might be a friend and someone we could work with in our new business.
- I am thankful for my therapist. She called me to reschedule my appointment so I could have a double appointment for the cost of one. I have a really good team of people working to help me heal my body, mind, and soul.
- Summer!! I am enjoying every minute of it. I have yet to turn on the A/C in my house or car.
- Thanks to the coronavirus, it made it easier to transition from blonde to gray hair. People now ask if I dye it the silver color it is. It is so in right now and I don’t have to pay a cent.
- I went up north for the first time this season and swam in the lake.
- My daughter is planning on moving back home at the end of the summer and is able to keep her new job. I think she was only able to come home two or three times this year. Sadly she wasn’t able to make it home as planned this past weekend but it won’t be long until we see each other all the time.
- I’m grateful that our new business is doing better than we expected.
Today is my dads birthday. I thought of creating a new line of greeting cards as I searched for the perfect card at the grocery store. I know, grocery store. I should’ve went to Hallmark. But that would’ve probably been a bigger waste of time. I could’ve spent hours searching every single card and still go home emptyhanded.
Maybe I should’ve just said the hell with it. My dad never sent a card or called me on my birthday. He never took me out to eat for the said event. He never bought me flowers. Yada, yada, yada. I bet he doesn’t even know when my birthday is. Yes, he was a bad dad and doesn’t deserve recognition.
I am reaching out to him because I am a good person.
The first card I opened had a greeting that said something like this…you are the reason why I am who I am today. Yeah, you are the reason I am in therapy. Nope! Next!
The next card…you are the perfect role model. Yeah, for how not to be. Nope!
Card after card spewed the most ridiculous sap. After I’ve exhausted all the dad cards, I looked at cards for step-dads, like a dad, and grandpa cards. It was all the same over the top scribbled dribble.
I can’t be the only one that feels this way.
After I rejected all the dad related options, I started looking at other cards. The funny cards are no better. Seriously, poop cards never have been funny. They just remind me of all the crap you put me through.
Cards for guys with hot ladies….yeah, why not piss off my mom too.
Cards with a get out of jail free card inside…Might be acceptable for an incarcerated dad.
Cards that make fun of old people…that’s just wrong!
Cards about drinking, sports, or golf…That might work for some dads. But my dad isn’t into any of that.
I ended up getting a birthday card with nothing written on the inside. That’s just as bad. So I wrote something generic in it. Happy birthday Dad! Enjoy your special day.
Now most of you are probably wondering…Why not text? My dad has a flip phone and does not get texts. Darn! Why not call? I haven’t seen or talked to my dad in almost three months. I don’t want to break that streak. (I have valid reasons)! I hate talking on the phone anyway and even more so if it is awkward small talk.
I think the obvious solution here is starting a new business. The Deadbeat Dad Greeting Card Company. There will be various levels of cards. I could color code the envelopes on a scale of one to ten to correspond with the cards. A one would be for the worst dad all the way up to a ten for the perfect dad. Then you wouldn’t have to waste your time reading all the cards. You pick your number and find the envelope with the corresponding color.
Now the cards don’t have to be just for dads. They could be for your wife, kids, siblings, teachers, etc… People could even find the perfect card for their ex. Win-win. Now I can still be a good person even if you don’t want to be.
After I heard the news, I felt both intense compassion and rage towards my father simultaneously. It’s really hard to explain because I can’t remember feeling such extreme polarity before. How can I still feel compassion towards someone who is so easy to justifiably hate?
He was a horrible father. He was the role model of what I didn’t want to be as a partner and parent. He hated us and called us stupid. I never felt like I was good enough. I never felt like I was enough of anything. Smart enough. Brave enough. Happy enough. It’s hard to feel like I was never enough, unlovable, despite my best efforts.
He tormented us. He laughed at our fears. Even worse, he taught us to laugh at our siblings shortcomings and fears. If we laughed, we wouldn’t be targeted next. We were pitted against each other for sport. How could there be unity? Most of the time it was safe to pretend not to care. I’m sorry I did not comfort you, brother, while you cried. I was just a coward trying to survive.
My dad is a depressed man. He lived a life of regrets. I see that now. He wasted his life in front of the TV screen, not playing ball with his kids. But I always felt calm if the TV was blaring when I came into the house. It was the silence I feared most. In the silence, I never knew if I would find him dead. Do you know how scary it is to feel that fear as a child?
He often flew into rages over nothing. He was abusive, but he is still my dad. When I was a child I hated him and wanted him to burn in hell for all of the things he did to hurt us. But now I feel pity for the mess he has become.
I had to see him one day after it all happened. My mom hasn’t been well and needed me to give her a ride to the doctor for tests. After the appointment, I sat down with my dad. It was mostly small talk, the only real conversations I ever had with my dad.
I felt a lot of stress leading up to our visit. What would I say? Would the rage or compassion come out? I had to be wise with my words, but was coming up blank. Should I tell him what a fool he is? Should I tell him how some of his actions hurt me? Should I scream and yell at him like he did many times to me?
Instead I told him I loved him as tears poured down my cheeks. He told me he loved me too. I said I was sorry. He asked why. I said I was sorry that it had to be this way. This wasn’t what I would have chosen.
He looked sickly, like he lost a lot of weight. He is already in hell. That is what you get when you live a life you regret. What good would heaping a few more coals be for someone who is already burning in hell? I felt pity towards him. I never wanted to see him burn. I just wanted him to be a dad to me.
I don’t have any regrets over how I handled the situation. More than anything, I don’t want to live a life of regrets. I don’t want to be like him.
I don’t want to be his daughter, yet I am. My compassion rages.
After I received the devastating news, I was filled with despair. Is there any other way to respond? I jumped on the roller coaster ride of a myriad of emotions before I had time to put on my safety strap.
I felt anger in its purest and rawest form. I pushed the people who were closest to me away lest my anger would boil over and scald them on the way out.
I felt the depths of despair. Would hell be any different than what I have been experiencing here?
If it was up to me, I would blot this year right off the calendar. Some of the things that happened are too painful to write about, and you know the kind of personal dribble I scribble.
I wish I could tell you everything, but I can’t right now. Maybe, mayday.
I felt the panic rise up from within me to awaken me in the morning. I wondered what horror each new day would bring. Once again, the nights are sleepless and the nightmares are terrifying. My stomach hurts, I cannot eat.
I shake my fist at God. Why do you hate me? Is it because I am dumb? Maybe I am not perfect enough and you want to zap me? I feel like a June bug drawn to the light, flying into the fiery flames of hell. Every time I cry out, you are not there. Are you laughing at my feelings and making sport of my fears? I thought you would want to take care of me, protect me? Am I worthy of love?
Or am I confusing you with my earthly father? He is probably not the best reflection of God. I don’t even have to count on a full hand the good memories we had together. Maybe the father-daughter bond is just a magical fairy tale meant for other people. To me it is just bondage, another trap I can’t get out of without a lot of pain. I don’t want to think you are like this God, but it’s hard to see you any other way because that is what I was shown.
I labor in vain trying to change my circumstances. Maybe if I pick up the pieces, I could try to make a complete puzzle out of this. But I am too broken. I can’t change or fix things. I can’t make it work.
God, the unchanging lighthouse or rock. The deity that is a firm fortress. He is the lighthouse that draws me in as I am starting to drown and rescues me. He is the large rock I can grip onto as I’ve built a wall around my self.
God has to be inanimate and unfeeling. It’s the only way I can survive this right now. I can’t see him as a person, because that is too scary. If he is swayed by feelings, then I will think he is out to get me and the people I care about.
Why the blizzards that leave me cold and locked inside? Why the storms? Why not warm summer days of smooth sailing? I need something to warm my heart. I need something good to come out of this brokenness.
I want this ice to melt.
Today I cracked open Pandora’s box. I am afraid to peer into what lies inside.
I spent most of the weekend feeling blah. It rained all weekend with high temps in the lower 60’s. Some of our outdoor plans got cancelled. It has been very frustrating. So far summer break has been cool and rainy. Surprisingly, the best days of the year so far fell on Alex’s graduation day and again for his grad party.
The weather has been making me feel restless and bored. There is nothing I hate more than boredom. I’d rather be way too busy. Not to mention that all my favorite running trails are underwater. Although, thankfully, my ankle is starting to feel better.
Yesterday, on Father’s Day, something exciting happened though. I got a message on Ancestry from a relative on Paul’s dads side. On Father’s Day of all days too. You see, Paul never knew who his dad was. From what I can tell, this man is Paul’s cousin.
I told myself that I wouldn’t go seeking out answers. I was far more curious than Paul. But if someone came to me asking, that was an altogether different story indeed.
Today I reached back to Paul’s cousin and told him what details I knew about Paul’s dad. We’ll see what happens. Paul said he was okay if I did that.
It’s hard, Paul built his whole identity around not having a father. But what if he has a whole new family out there that wants to get to know him?
Why do I feel like I cracked open Pandora’s box? Do I really want to know what’s inside?
I can tell you one thing, life got a little more interesting.