Today my mom called me to tell me that my dad had called her to inquire about me and the family. Well, me and the kids. He doesn't really care about Jay because he's still convinced that Jay is the reason I'm no longer one of Jehovah's Witnesses. Which isn't true. I was having doubts about the religion long before I mentioned anything to Jay. It's also sad that my dad thinks so little of me, thinks I'm so simple and unable to think for myself, that I would let someone else influence such an important part of my life. As Jay said this afternoon, "Wow. He really doesn't know you at all." No, he doesn't.
Anyway, my mom's conversation with him went something like this:
Dad: Can you tell me anything about Tammie and the kids? Are they dead?
Mom: Wow. That's kind of rude.
Dad: Well, they never answer any of my calls.
Mom: I don't know what to tell you. Sometimes they don't answer my calls either. Tammie works.
The conversation continued with my father listing all the many ways in which I have hurt him. Basically, it's a list of one thing: Me no longer having the same beliefs as him. Because me going on with my life and living it as I choose is clearly a personal attack aimed at him.
For what it's worth my father has called me twice in the past three years. The first time, about 2 1/2 years ago, was because Monty accidentally called him when meaning to call a friend. Upon realizing his mistake he just hung up. My dad called back, Monty answered and said, "Oh sorry Grandpa, I didn't mean to call you. I meant to call someone else." According to my mom, that interaction hurt my dad's feelings, although for the life of us we can't figure out the reasons why. But I'm sure they are illogical. What adult gets upset by the actions of an otherwise well-meaning 12 year old?
His second call came about a month and a half ago. The timing of it coincided with the annual Memorial Meeting at the Jehovah's Witness church. It's a big deal. I knew why he was calling-to nag me about going. No, I didn't answer that call. My mom mentioned it in her chat with him today. He was quiet, so I guess my assumption was correct.
To my mom's credit, she remained calm and reiterated that we are busy people and don't always answer phone calls right away. She then told my dad that he needed to stop acting like a martyr and maybe just try to be nice. To which he yelled into the phone, "Don't you tell me how to act!"
Hmmmm. Why am I not answering his phone calls? WHY do I NOT want to be a part of this conversation?
I have a lot of valid reasons to not want to have a relationship with my father. He wasn't around a lot when I was growing up, basically relying on my mom to maintain any kind of parent/child relationship. He was never truly supportive of anything I've done. He never did anything in his power to make me feel good about myself and he raised me in an organization that thinks women are second class citizens.
But I'm over all of that. Really. On an average day I don't even think about any of it. I have a full life. I have kids and a husband who I love and enjoy being around. I have a job that has the potential to be the career I've longed for. I have hobbies, go to book signings, have lunch dates with friends, and occasionally I'll sit in a bar and drink a few whiskey sours and stare at Canadian rock stars. I'm fine. I'm happy.
I truly am at a point in my life where I could overlook all my father's past wrongs. If they were in the past. Therein lies the problem. His conversation with my mom proves that nothing has changed. I don't know if I need any of that in my life.
I guess it dosn't matter anyway. Before my parents ended their phone call, my father said that he was "done trying." Because apparently two weird/loaded phone calls in 3 1/2 years constitutes proper effort.
It is what it is.