For the first eighteen years of my life you seemed like a great father. I didn’t know what was going on behind the scenes until I moved away to college. Yes, my sisters and I could hear the fights through the bedroom door, but it was never done in front of us, thankfully. You always ask what it is that you did that “made us turn against you” we didn’t, but I’m going to lay it out for you.
I was just graduating high school and getting ready to go to college. Things had started to break down and show me where you stood as a parent. Me and mama had it out, bad. It was to the point she yelled at me to get out of your house, to pack my stuff and leave. When I turned to you, you wouldn’t even fight for me. You told me to just go and things would calm down. You told me to leave while my little sisters both went to face that angrier than satan woman (sorry mama, you remember that night. It was rough and those girls were brave for facing you down) without even blinking. They got yelled at and sent to their rooms because she was so mad, but they at least tried to fight for me. You sat in the living room, quiet and when I went to walk out the door you hugged me and said “We’ll try to find you a place for you to go tomorrow.” And let me walk out the door. My mother who was angry as hell at me for leaving when she told me to, drove and picked me up off the side of the road and took me to a friend’s house. Yes she drove off the moment my feet hit the gravel, but she was kicking me out and took me to a place where she knew I’d be safe because you wouldn’t even do that much for me. (Let me pause here for a moment. I love my mama, she will always fight for me and the next day she came and told me to come home so we could work things out. It was the worst fight we ever had and that woman is my best friend. Even when she was screaming at me to leave she made sure I was safe for the night while we had time apart to cool down. The next day we worked it out and I don’t know how I would live without my mama.)
I was in college, living in a dorm and you came to pick me up one night to talk. We talked about things I as your daughter had no business knowing. I didn’t need to know what you thought of your intimacy issues with my mother, I didn’t need to know about your addiction, I didn’t need to know about the other women you ran to for comfort. I really didn’t need you putting the blame on my mother when you told me about the divorce. If you really want someone to blame, you can blame me. My mom and I sat up talking one night about how the checkbook would never be balanced because you promised so many people money. We talked about how she was tired of fighting. We talked about how she just wasn’t happy with her life. I told her the same thing she’d told me all through high school. “If you aren’t happy, then change it.” A week later she called to tell me you two were separating.
You stayed at the house through the separation and then Papa passed away. You treated it like a way to get back together with mama instead of just being there to comfort your girls and your estranged wife who lost someone incredibly important to them. For years after you stalked our facebook pages and whenever we would say something about the amazing man our Papa was, you would leave comments about “I hope you feel this way about me when I die.” Everything had to be about you or it meant we didn’t love you.
You moved out. You only moved five minutes down the road, but you didn’t come to see us. You blamed it on the fact that our mother was there. You took us out to dinner on our birthdays, one I ended up paying for on my own because you waited until we were all done with dinner to tell me you didn’t have the money for it. We asked if we could spend time with you, and you claimed to never have the money. There are very few times I can remember just going to see you and being able to sit and talk about something other than you cutting down my mother, or you saying you were the victim in all of this. You said that you wished you were “Daddy Warbucks” so you could give your girls everything they wanted. What we wanted was a relationship with our father than didn’t have a price tag on it. We made suggestions about what we could do that didn’t cost anything. In seven years you took us up on it maybe six times.
I came home and decided to live at home instead of being at that cult of a school I went to and went to another college. I was stressed because I didn’t have the money to pay for tuition on time because my financial aid was late. You took me to a high interest loan company and forced me to take out a loan in my name. You had told me I was just a co-signer because your credit wasn’t all that great. $1,500 dollars to pay for a little bit of one semester of school. You told me it was for my school and you would take care of it. You never made a payment and it was in my name without me knowing it. A year later I got married and my name couldn’t be put on anything that me and my new husband wanted because that little $1500 loan had accrued that high interest from you never doing what you promised. My husband and I spent the first year of our marriage paying off a debt I shouldn’t have owed, but it stood as a constant reminder of the promise you broke.
I had Little Man. I didn’t want you at the hospital because my entire pregnancy you played victim and talked about how you wouldn’t be a part of his life and it was back to you blaming mom saying she cut you down to us. Let me set the record straight, my mama never once talked down about you in front of us. She never once old us that you were a bad father. She never once told us that we should forget about you. All she ever did was tell us the truth about why you split up (because you were irresponsible and unfaithful and there was plenty evidence to support that) and encouraged us to look passed it because you were still our daddy. So we tried. We called, we asked if you wanted to go do something since you wouldn’t come see us at home, we asked if we could come visit you but you lived with your sister and we’d had reasons for not wanting to be around her. Your answer was always “I don’t have the money” we weren’t asking you to spend money, we were asking you to spend time with us. You always made it about money, it was never us. The only time we would ask if you were paying was when you called to invite us out to dinner for our birthday because I ended up paying for it on mine. After one year of that, you stopped. I took Braiden to see you once, you never asked to see him after that. You would get upset that he didn’t know who you were when he did see you because you never even called to see how he was doing.
My wedding day, you said you were going to pay for me and the girls to get our hair done. Nana’s brother had covered the food, nana paid for my flowers, I paid for my dress, mama paid for the girls’ dresses and you were going to pay for our hair. We got to the shop and Mari was doing Katie’s hair. I said something about being hungry and you said you didn’t have money for food and hair. So I bought food for us. Then when it came time to pay for hair, you paid for Katie and Megan’s and told me you thought I was paying for myself. Mari told me it was a wedding gift and not to worry about it. Then you showed up at my wedding in a suit and when you came to hug me you whispered in my ear. “I wore it just in case you changed your mind.” You had no respect for my decision whatsoever. You had shown me where I stood as your offspring long before I got to my wedding day and you expected me to tell my sisters that had been through hell and back with me that I’d changed my mind? No. My sisters cried with me every time we tried to figure out what we had done so wrong to make you turn your back on us. My sisters fought for me when I was at odds with mama. My sisters sat in our room with me while we listened through a closed door and you and mama fought about one thing or another. My sisters gave me away because they fought beside me through the brunt of everything and they still do. Mama wasn’t hurt by my decision, she thought it was pretty awesome and she respected it.
The phone calls got farther and farther between. The only time you would call me was when you were upset and you had to vent about the divorce or about my sisters or you would play the victim. Over and over and over and over. That was the first time I told you to stop calling me. You never called to tell me you loved me. You never called to see how I was doing. You never called to find out how Braiden was doing. You always called me to tell me about your problems, to treat me like your therapist and not your daughter.
Then you wrote this nice long facebook email about how we needed to get over the fact you had a new family and they took priority over us. Everything took priority over us because we never came first. That’s one thing mama has always done that you never have. Give me one good example of when you put us first and I will take it back, but we have never been more important to you than everything else. Then your new wife would send us pictures of you with your new daughter. She would say “I wasn’t trying to upset you, I just thought you’d like to see your dad happy.” You would get upset that we got mad. You’d tell us how much that hurt you. It didn’t matter to you that it hurt us even more. There was the man we’d been fighting to have a relationship for years and he found a new daughter to love, to spend time with, to take to father daughter dances at school, to celebrate her birthday. And we couldn’t even get a phone call just to see how we were doing.
Then Megan got married and you started texting us about how you wanted to give her away because I didn’t let you give me away. You wanted to dance with her because I didn’t dance with you. Victim, victim, victim. At her wedding you caused drama. You upset her on her wedding day by complaining that you didn’t get to walk her down the aisle and she didn’t plan a father daughter dance. She had a money dance and you wouldn’t even give a dollar to dance with your daughter, instead you had to upset her on her wedding day because you didn’t get your moment in the spotlight on HER day. You showed up, I’ll give you credit for that, but it was just like at my wedding with you making comments about how “Katie’s your last hope of having your moment” You texted her after the wedding telling her she was your last hope to give one of your daughters away. Why would you even do that?
Texted messages came now, you didn’t even have the time to call us anymore. Those texted ‘I love you’ didn’t hold much water when you couldn’t meet us for a drink. (Water is free everywhere) Couldn’t go to the park to meet us while Braiden played on the slides. You couldn’t come visit us when we had our own houses. All three of us live away from Mama now and when we were still talking to you, you only came to visit me when you needed something or needed to get rid of something. You didn’t call to invite us to dinner but once and it was our idea.
Then Emma was born. You showed your butt to Megan about seeing her and tipped her over the edge after months of playing the victim still. Even after we’ve told you time and again what you’ve done to make us hurt so much. You “I’m sorry for whatever I did.” That’s not an apology, because you for some reason think we just hate you. We don’t. We love you and we cry more often than not that you so easily replaced us. I forgave you. I gave you a chance. I laid it out and told you what to do to have a relationship with us and you couldn’t even pick up the phone and call us once a week just to ask how we were doing. No you had to stalk our facebooks and write crap on our posts about mama with your jealous and woe is me crap. You know what I’ve learned about parenthood? Its NEVER about me anymore. Its always about my son. That’s a concept you never and probably never will grasp.
After the altercation with Emma, you were texting me and I told you not to text me about my sister that was between the two of you and I wasn’t getting into the middle of it. Then you spoke with a friend about killing yourself because you were already dead to us anyways. That friend called mama and mama called me. I called the police and reported it because I was scared my father was about to take his own life over something that wasn’t true. I cared enough to call someone that could get out there to you to let me know you were okay. I loved you enough to get help to you. You know what you did? You blamed me for embarrassing you by letting them know what you said and then claimed you never said it. You used it yet again to make yourself a victim and said I did it to cause drama, to make you look stupid. You can’t even see that I love you even through all the crap that you put me through that I don’t want you to take your own life. I don’t want you to die. I don’t hate you. None of us do.
After that I told you I was done. I told you to lose my number. I blocked you from facebook. I told you not to email me because my life was better without you in it. I forgave you for everything you put me through, but I can’t ever forget what type of poison you bring to my life. I tell you I need my father and I become your therapist. I try to look out for you and its me causing drama. Megan did the same and Katie, God bless her. She’s still trying to be your daughter and you just won’t let her. You have to send her emails about me and Megan, about how you don’t trust her with your phone number, only your email address. You have to break her down when she works so hard to keep herself standing. What kind of father does that to his daughter? What kind of father knows the pain he’s causing and he just keeps causing it because he refuses to admit he was wrong? What kind of father sends an attachment in an email showing the letter in his will to his wife to show that he doesn’t want his daughters to know when he dies? Do you think we want something from you? After everything you put us through, we at least deserve the opportunity to decide for ourselves if we’ll pay our final respects. You can say we’re heartless, cold, cruel, but the truth is you’re just looking into a mirror and we’re on the other side of it waiting for you to realize that’s your own reflection. I hope your new daughter never has to go through the things that we have and I hope and pray you just let Katie go, because she doesn’t deserve you tearing her down when all she’s ever tried to do is love you through every brick you throw in her face.
I love you, Robert. You may not be the father I needed, but you did make me, you are part of me and for that I will always love you. I forgive your every flaw, but I can’t let you into my life because I know the destruction that comes with it. While I want my father in my life, I’m a parent first, and I’ll protect my son from hat destruction until I take my last breath.