Monday, October 15, 2012

A Memory

Yesterday, in my review of Zombie Spaceship Wasteland, I mentioned that when my dad came home I'd go and hide out in my room for 12 hours.

That wasn't a lie. I can honestly and without hyperbole say that I remember having very little contact with my father throughout my teen years.

I know I've said this before but it bears repeating: My dad never hit me or abused me physically. 

He just didn't like me all that much. I wasn't pretty or compliant or exceptional in any way. I was simply disappointing.

There were two doors between my room and the living room: a sliding door that separated the living room from "my" half of the house, and then my bedroom door. When I saw my dad's truck pull into the driveway, I'd jump off the couch, turn the TV off, run to the kitchen to re-fill my Simpsons water bottle, and head to my room. Day after day, when my dad entered the house, I'm pretty sure that the first sight he saw was that first door slamming shut.

Here's the thing: I have a teenager, and if I came home everyday to him not only avoiding me, but putting up a physical barrier between to the two of us, I'd be concerned. 

My father wasn't. He never questioned it. He never knocked on either door. He didn't know what color my bed spread was, what my curtains looked like, or what posters I had hung on my walls. He was oblivious to the fact that every night I'd let the cat in through my window to sleep on my pillow.

My mom tried. She'd come in my room and we'd play Scrabble or watch sitcoms. But she was avoiding him too. She was probably disappointing as well.

My dad hasn't spoken to me in probably four years, not since I committed the ultimate disappointing act and officially told him I would never be one of Jehovah's Witnesses again. I don't know how he does it. I can't imagine actively making the choice to not speak to my children.

The weird thing is, I'm not really sad about this. Not any sadder than usual anyway. I think I mourned it all a long time ago when I realized as a teenager that my father didn't love me the way the other kids' dad's did: unconditionally.


Margaret (Peggy or Peg too) said...

Shit this is sad.
Some people shouldn't be parents and I think he falls into that category. I would imagine it would be very difficult to see your child have a life you oppose. But to not be involved in her/his life boggles my mind. And to not speak to them to me is unthnkable.

Do you ever wonder what you and Jay would do if you eneded up with an Alex P. Keaton? I alsways wonder what I'd do. Or a bible thumper. Oh dear.

I'm sure your dad loves you the best he knows how to, he just doesn't know how to love.

Jessie said...

Tammie, this is powerful. And you, my dear, are one strong woman (more many many more reasons than this story).

Much love,

DysFUNctional Mom said...

I very much identify with this.
My dad never physically abused me, never even spanked me (although he did spank my older brother & sister very aggressively). But I have always known I was a huge disappointment. My brother is the only one he is proud of. My sister and I are losers, basically. He just recently told me he's never known anyone as stupid and irresponsible as me (for purchasing the yearly decal for my car but forgetting to put it on). I would have cut ties years ago (and almost did many times) but my issue is, he's still married to my mother, who DOES love me unconditionally and would do anything for me.
Anyway. I know so many of my hang-ups are because of him (poster child for "daddy issues"). He knew nothing about me either, I even had a phone & tv in my room so I spent all of my time at home, in that room.

Tammie said...

peggy: jay and i have discussed that because at times monty seems to be a bit like an alex p keaton, but i think at this age, its mainly to be disagreeable. hopefully he comes around to my way of thinking. either way, ill always be here for him. i might not agree with him, but im always here.

jessie: thank you my friend.

cyndy: yeah i know i have a lot of issues i can tie to my dad as well. but knowing it is half the battle right? :) and im sorry that you can relate to this, but its good we arent alone, eh?

Anonymous said...

In reality he WAS the disappointment!!!! So very very sorry he made you feel that way.It wasn't and still isn't right.

Daphne said...

You and Jay are such exceptional parents; a direct contrast to your upbringing. At least you know you are doing the very very best (and better than most) you can for your kids. Hugs.

Visty said...

The hole people like that leave is always challenging for us, but a good reminder of who not to be.

hester said...

This was such a sad post but you are amazingly strong, Tammie, and I admire you for the loving life you have created for your two.