Do You Ever Remember?
I look back at the years, when my first memories of life are of happiness and unconditional love. I remember being a Daddies little girl. If you said it, I believed it to be true. If you did it, I wanted to do it too. If you liked it, I loved it. If you gave it to me, it quickly became my favourite thing regardless of what it was.
In my little mind, your words were that of a god – you knew best. Your words were worth their weight in gold, and it felt like you would move heaven and earth to protect me. I was convinced you were my real life superhero, who also made my teddy bears talk to me at night when you tucked me in and read me stories.
Your actions spoke louder than words. You showed me how to be compassionate, loving and strong so that I would know how to exhibit the same.
You were strong when you needed to be, lecturing and disciplining me when required. Your words were carefully chosen to convey respect and certainty. You demonstrated respect in your daily interactions, no matter how tough.
I have no doubt that it is in large part because of the warm and loving father you were to me as a child, that I am the virtuous women I am today. For all the wisdom you imparted through your actions and words, I will always be grateful to you.
And then one day, it stopped. In a flash, everything I had ever known was taken away from me. Life was forever changed. I do not blame you in any way for the events of that day, in fact I believe your actions saved half my family. I have no ability to comprehend what you went you through that day and the days following, but I admire your courage and strength to continue on. I know you are a fighter, because I got that trait from you.
But as a result of that day, you chose to send less time with me, your priorities no longer included me. You had moved on to a new family, with younger children who took my spot as the youngest and demanded your attention. While you spent your evenings with them, I stayed at home alone. Our once happy family home that bustled with energy, became a quiet place where I spent my evenings alone, cooking my own meals, learning to do my own laundry and crying myself to sleep at night.
No longer were you a staple at my sporting events cheering me on from the sidelines and giving me pointers at the end of the game. Instead I drove myself and listed to words of encouragement from my friend’s and teammates parents.
No longer did you help me on my homework or quiz me for my next exam. Instead, you hired a tutor and left me to my own devises.
You made promises, but almost never kept them. You promised to meet me for lunch once a week. When that didn’t happen, you promised to eat dinner with me once a week. When that didn’t happen, I stopped trying.
One day, when you didn’t like my attitude, you called me a little bitch. And then you did again, and again through the course of the next few years. I never heard you say this about anyone before, and now not only were you saying it, but you were directing it at me. I remember sitting on the floor crying as I overheard you speaking this way about me, I remember trying to figure out how to run away. I remember the one and only time in my life I ever thought about killing myself because I couldn’t see hope through all of it. I remember, how your words that used to preach love and respect had now turned against me.
When our arguing at home got too bad, I slept at friends’ houses or you put me on a plane to visit extended family. I realize I was a feisty teenager, but I don’t believe I was exceptionally bad – I got straight A’s, I played extracurricular sports, I worked a part-time job, I coached little kids soccer. I really could have been a lot worse. But really, more then anything I was just a kid, trying to survive the unimaginable without feeling much love or compassion from her remaining family.
My childhood was over, and I was taking a crash course in how to be an adult at 14.
I quickly learned to rely on myself. I learned that people I love can vanish in a second. I learned that no-one is perfect. I learned that words can hurt more then I ever imagined. I learned that people I trusted would not always be there for me. These lessons have left a drastic impact on my entire life.
I began to see that you were not perfect, rather you were human. On some level, I knew you were hurting just as I was, but you chose to turn away from me when I needed you most.
Some days I think I’ve forgiven you for leaving me feeling abandoned when I need you most, other days the hurt runs so deep that I do not even know where to start.
Most days, more than anything else, I just wish I the father that stands before me is the one I once knew. The one that still lives today in my memory.
I wonder, Dad, do you ever think about the good old days when I was your little girl? Do you ever wonder what could have been? Do you ever remember what we once had?
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For entirely different reasons and circumstances this knocked me for six coinciding with thoughts about my own life, with my own Dad.
Sending you hugs.
It is amazing the power of these things to affect us throughout our lives. Love and hugs to you Arwen.
I can feel you hurt though this post. Sometimes I think it’s amazing what you do with your words. I have similar questions about my own dad and often wonder if he things about me ever. Sending you so much love.
Thank you so much for your kind words and love. Love to you as well.
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It’s crazy that so many of us can relate to this. I had many up and down years with my own father. We are on good terms now, but I accept his limitations. Our journeys are different and I learned a lot from his mistakes.
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Awaiting Autumn, I too am shocked at how many relate to this so well. It makes me sad actually, but it also makes me feel a lot less alone. And, I think you make a great point about accepting others limitations, and I think this is something I’m still working on with my father
Sending you lots of love and prayers.
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Thank you so much.
Aww this makes me sad for you. When I was REALLY little, I had a good relationship with my dad, but it quickly faded and then we just butted heads constantly. I think even as a tiny child, I saw something in him I didn’t like, I just didn’t understand it until I was a teen. I think it’s tough for a girl to not have a good relationship with her dad…even harder when, like you, it started out so wonderfully, then it was taken away. Will you send this to your father to read?
I am sorry you too understand having a tough relationship with your father.
I had not thought about sending it to my Dad. Honestly, right now, there is no way I can for my own sake. But maybe one day.
As always, your writing is lovely. I feel the abandonment and the nostalgia you portray. Interestingly, for me, I actually don’t remember a time where my dad’s love for me was untainted, so I guess I don’t have that same kind of nostalgia. Instead, I watch old home videos of when I was an infant, see his love pouring out, and just weep that I can’t remember ever being on the receiving end of that.
I am so heartbroken reading about your lack of relationship and happy memories with your father. Life just seems too cruel sometimes. I wish I had words that would make a difference.
And thank you for your kind words. I am deeply touched.
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Yes, thank you. I think we all have holes in our hearts, and hopefully they are eventually filled by something else. In the absence of love from my father, was an outpouring of the purest, most beautiful love from my grandparents.
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I am so sorry. No daughter should ever have to hear this from her father. Wishing you peace and love.
Thank you. You are right, no daughter or any child for that matter, should ever hear this type of language from a parent. To me, there is just no excuse.
I just want to give you a hug after reading this. I’m imagining that one of the hardest parts of parenthood is going to be balancing my own needs against the needs of my child. Some parents excel at it, and some just fail miserably. I had a dad who failed miserably, too.
I always say to Mr. MPB, I don’t care what decisions you make with our children if I’m ever gone, so long as you care for them and make sure they know they are loved. I figure so long as you have that, then everything else will fall into place.
I am sure by the very fact that you are thinking about these things, you will be an amazing parent to your child!
I am so sorry that you had to go through that. I can see why you go between thinking you’ve forgiven him and still being mad. At a time when you needed his support more than anything, you didn’t have it and that is a very hard thing to overcome. Sending you lots of love!
Thank you so much for your compassion and love. You are right it is hard to overcome. It’s been years now, but I know my emotions that resulted from all of this directly impact our relationship today.
Wow, from reading the comments, I’m not the only one who rebates too well with this. I never had a good relationship with my mom, but did with my dad. He was my rock and my greatest supporter. Then one day, in early adulthood, I decided to confront my mom about my horrendous childhood with her and my dad quickly faded from my daily life. He has to live with that wretch of a woman so I sort of get his need to support her, but I still feel abandoned by him and I don’t like spending time with him anymore. Add to that that he’s the most arrogant person I know (and has a serious alcohol problem) and the relationship is just doomed. His relationships with my sisters are even tougher because of horrible things he said to them in their teens.
I needed to read this today after a very hard morning with my son and a lot of yelling on my part. I worry that all he’ll remember some day is the yelling. I don’t want to wonder later in life if he remembers the tender moments. Thank you for this.
You are right, it seems like a lot of people can relate to my emotions in this post. I am sorry to hear that you too can relate.
That said, I’m so incredibly confident that your son will remember you love and tender moments together! Everyone has bad days and bad moments – we are human. And from what I know about you, you are thoughtful, caring and loving, and that’s what he will know and remember. Much love to you, and try to give yourself a break.
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I really wish your Dad would read this. Perhaps nothing would change but I think there is healing and power in these words for you. I had a similar (much, much less tragic) experience and when I finally wrote down my thoughts and shared my pain- I felt a little healed inside. I marvel at your strength. Xo
Thank you for the encouragement and sharing your own experience. I think there could be a time when I do share it, but I know that time is not right now given other events in our lives. Maybe one day.
I get that. Unwelcome negativity. I have tried to step aside from any outside negativity too. Xo
You are right, right now I’m working to build positivity not negativity in my life. So, even though he could be supportive, I simply cannot risk a negative response. Maybe with time.
I felt so sad reading this. To hear your Dad talk about you that way is awful – unforgivable of him to speak of his own child like that. The only thing I can suggest, which you have probably already thought of, is that perhaps you cause him pain simply because you remind him of what he lost? The ideal response, of course, would have been to draw closer to you and to make even more of the relationship that was left, but people deal with grief in so many different ways – and some people don’t really deal with it at all. I’m not excusing his behaviour in any way and I don’t know the details, so I could be way off the mark here. Whatever the reasons for his behaviour, it’s still heartbreaking that such a good relationship has been destroyed, I’m sorry 😦 x
I have actually thought many times that I am a reminder to my Dad of what he lost. First, I am the only remaining women and second I look a lot like my mom (and even more so as I age). I really do wonder if that’s been a root cause of some of our struggles. I don’t know, but on some level it does make sense.
That said, and like you said, these types of comments towards a child are simply unacceptable.
This brought tears to my eyes. You have been through too much. You are so brave and have a knack for rising above all the muck. Hugs to you. What huge life lessons you’ve been given to integrate into your journey. Xoxo
Thank you so much for reading and sharing your thoughts. You are right, I have been through too much. That said, I know the only way I can live and be true to myself and to honor my mom and sister is to live positively and raise above it. I cherish the lessons I have learned, but I also have to remind myself that not everyone will hurt me – sometimes I’m not great at that part.
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