WARNING: Rebecca D. shows flagrant disregard for the rules of punctuation... She uses ellipsis with wild abandon... Punctuation interventions have been done to no avail... If you are offended by such irreverence to the rules of grammar... The very glue that holds our society together... STOP READING NOW... Move on... There is a little button at the top that says "next blog"... You would be well advised to use it... You were warned...

Father's Day... Keeping it Real...

Sunday, June 21, 2015

This is going to be a very long and not so upbeat post, and I just want to say upfront that I am married to an amazing man who is an amazing father. He loves his family with a devotion only second the Lord. He is a bright shining pillar in a life full of tarnished father images...

You see, Father's Day is a tough day for me... I had a distinct lack of strong father roles in my life. My father was born without a father. His father died before he was born. This sunk his mother into a deep depression leaving my father and his older sister and brother to be raised by his grandmother. She had also lost her husband so it was a household without a strong male influence. My father being the baby and the fact that everyone felt sorry for him was doted on and spoiled. He grew up believing his needs were all important and this made him very narcissistic in his adulthood. In other words he grew into a very selfish man. When I was less then two years old he brought my mother, brother  and I to his grandmother's house under the guise of a visit then informed my mother he was having an affair and he wanted to marry the other woman so she could stay there or go where ever else she wanted but he was not taking us home with him. He then married the other woman about a year later and somehow he managed to forget to ever mention to her that he even had children. (She found out after they married when he eventually took her to visit his family.) He was not a totally horrible person and anyone who met him generally liked him. He was the life of every party and people constantly tell me I get a lot of my outgoing nature from him... It's hard to tell since I only saw him about five or six times from that time he left us until I was sixteen and I moved to Tennessee to live with him and my step mother. Let's just say of that two year period, that not much had changed and his world continued to revolve around him. He passed away in 2000 and since he never bothered to visit me or my family and didn't even try to have a relationship with his grandchildren I didn't go to his funeral. (Ironically, after he passed away I reached out to my step mother and we now have a pretty good relationship and she has been a very real part of my daughter's lives.) Ironically he was a leader for "Promise Keepers" for his region. A movement of Christian men to encourage them to put God first and their families second only to the Lord...

My mother remarried when I was eight. My step father is more then twenty years older then she is so when she remarried at 37 he was almost sixty. He was widowed and has five children all much older then I am. (His oldest is only a year or so younger then my mother.) He had grand children older then my brother and I, so he was past his "parenting" years. He made attempts at being a father figure in my life but he was an alcoholic and also very self centered. (Apparently my mother has a type.) He informed my brother over and over that he married my mother, not us. It wasn't long before we (my brother & I) started spending long stretches of time home alone. When he was home he tended to see us as a free labor source and I think believed that keeping us busy doing yard and house work was the best way to keep us out of his hair. He constantly compared us to his children from his previous family and we were always found to be lacking in some way. Ironic since his adult children describe him as a absentee father who when he was around was so overbearing they avoided him. They had the advantage of a stay at home mother to act as a buffer, but my mother had a career so we had little buffer. We were always in a catch 22... We were mocked for not being more athletic but we were not allowed to be in school sports until we were old enough to drive since nobody would pick us up after practice.
I remember one time when I was in sixth grade that I got pink eye. The school called my mother and told her someone had to pick me up immediately and then because of the contagious nature of it I was sent to sit on the school steps. That was mid morning, the school secretary brought me lunch out there an hour later when nobody had come. I sat there all day, as the kids left to board the busses at the end of the day I had a hard time not crying in front of them. Finally the custodian stayed with me until nearly six PM when my mother got home and realized that my stepfather had decided that finishing doing something in the yard then going to the YMCA to work out was more important then going to get me. He never called her to let her know and being the days before cell phones she was in "off site" meetings all day and nobody else knew how to reach her. I could share dozens of stories like this... For every "father like" thing he did there was always a dark side to it. Whenever I point out what a less then stellar father figure he was my mother tries to point out the one time he volunteered to chaperone a school trip. (ALL parents were expected to volunteer for at least one thing a year, and this was always a source of argument and they usually tried to get out of it by claiming it would cause "undue hardship" but for some reason that year it didn't work.) It was a trip to Boston when I was in 7th grade and he started by informing the trip supervisor that he wanted to be assigned to the bus I wasn't on and paired up with different kids since I could be difficult. He said this in front of everyone and this came as quite a shock to the teacher since I was anything but difficult at school. I had never been kept after school or sent to the office, I was the opposite of difficult. He then spent a good part of the day sharing embarrassing stories about me with a group of boys I went to school with and even participated in mocking me with them over lunch. It was horrible and even though I pretended it didn't bother me and laughed along, I did not miss the glances of pity from the other parents and teachers.

If you don't feel as sorry for me yet as they did you should also know I didn't even have a "real" grandfather figure in my life. My mother was somewhat estranged from her parents so I only saw my maternal grandfather twice in my entire childhood. He was very kind both times but basically a stranger. My father's mother did eventually get her depression under control and remarry. Her husband Bill was as close as I had to a grandfather. He was a gruff, impatient man but did seem to like us kids most of the time. He was very close with my cousin Jim but being my mother's "ex" in-laws we had limited time with them. (I can remember less then a dozen visits.) I do have some fond memories of sitting with him watching the weather channel or following him around the yard and listening to him complain about; well everything... But not about me so that was a nice change. I do remember him telling me when I was about 13 or 14 that my father was a, a**hole and that my step father wasn't much better; that he knew I got a raw deal for men in my life, but it was up to me to break the cycle. To look for a man who doesn't drink and who had good parents and marry him. It was the only good fatherly advice I had ever received and I took it.

I married a wonderful man, from a wonderful family. He has been a great husband and an amazing father to our daughters. Now that he is a grandfather I love watching him with her too. Anyhow, father's day is a tough day for me. I try to focus on my husband and have made it clear to my mother that although I take care my step father's needs I will not be making any father's day trips to the nursing home. Don't get me wrong, I am not bitter but I am also not going to keep pretending that my childhood was something it wasn't.

Thanks for listening,


  1. This is what I love about you too ... you're REAL!
    For me, writing out things like this make things make a little more sense and help those who know me (or want to know me) understand a little more where I came from.
    I had a few "good men" in my life - but my biological father was NOT there for me as such. My step-father tried - but he was from a long ago generation (my mom had a "type" too - WAY OLDER MEN!). We're ok now - but I never ever knew what it was like to be "daddy's girl" ... which is sad but I am independent as a result.
    I too married a good man ... and I think I take him very for granted. It would take us HOURS to sort through all the reasons why!! :) I don't really see my girls as "daddy's girls" but I do see them as being unconditionally loved and THAT is what I lacked all my life so I'm thankful for that!!
    Anyway ... bless you for always sharing the good, the bad, and the facts!
    <3 to you on this day.

  2. Oh, Rebecca, that's heart-breaking. But how wonderful that you were able to break the cycle - that's the grace of God, my friend :D I don't mean to minimize the real pain you have from your experiences. I'm so sorry about that. Yet hallelujah that Paul loves the Lord, you, and his girls. May the Lord restore the years the locusts have eaten,


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