I know you hate when I call you that, or at least you used to. I haven't said it to your face in years. I learned my lesson well. The act of you "embracing our heritage" and insisting I call you Papa is like the man in the Monty Python sketch who insists that he is alive and feeling better until they kill him. The fact is this - you are my father. Whether you like it or not and however I may refer to you (sperm donor, how's that?) the simple fact is that you are my father.
You never were meant to have a daughter you know. You are selfish, arrogant and unsatisfied with stagnation. You yearn for change in almost all aspects of life - but especially on the home-front. My description of you to whomever asks (and is close enough to warrant the truth, oh wait, that's everyone) is this: "When he doesn't have a girlfriend he has a wife. If he doesn't have a wife he has a girlfriend. And sometimes he has both."
How horrible is that? The fact that as soon as you told me last night that you were done with wife #5 I immediately called Mom and we had a great laugh at you. She told me things she never has before about you. Perhaps I shouldn't have been shocked, but I was. You are one of the biggest hypocrites I know. Congratulations.
But I really don't feel this way, do I?
Do you even remember telling me that? That I don't feel a certain way? How can you tell a person, much less any member of family but especially your own daughter, that they don't feel a feeling? That makes no sense whatsoever. I was just a teenager and you were on wife #4. I remember it clearly because that was the first time I ever had the thought "my dad's a jerk and doesn't know shit." Kind of a memorable day for a girl who has before that day idolized her dear old dad. Boy, did you goof that day. I was telling you something about her. I don't remember the exact conversation topic... but I'm pretty sure I was telling you I didn't like her and that I felt she hated me. Or something very close to that.
But I didn't really feel that way, did I?
You amaze me sir. All these years I have longed for a "normal" relationship with you. After close to twenty years of yearning, my mind finally couldn't take anymore and I had a breakdown. Didn't know that did you? Of course not. It was thanksgiving and you didn't call me. I know, such a little thing. Just calling your daughter on thanksgiving. Of course I realize the phone goes both ways... but how the hell do you get off saying that to your daughter? You are the adult and always have been in my life. I'm your little girl. Or did you not get that memo?
I remember the last time you called me on my birthday. It was my 17th. That was the last time and over a decade ago. You sir, amaze me.
And now you are keeping the house, due in part to your parents getting old. When did you learn how to put someone else's needs above yours? Have I missed that much by not moving in with you when you asked? Or would I just have been swept away in the act we preform every time we are together (once every other year when basically forced to by circumstances) of "nothing is wrong and how are you today?"
Do you know that I hate that? That there is so much I want to say to you, to scream at you. But I sit there silently and pretend that our relationship is normal. That I talk to you as much as I want. That I get as much love from you as I want.
Ahh... but therein, as they say, lies the rub. Because during/after my breakdown I realized that you do, indeed, love me. You love me in the only way you know how, and I can't really spite you for that. Because I love you too in the only way I know how. I really can't ask for more, can I?
I wonder if it's as stressful to you as it is to me when we don't speak of all of this. When we hug and talk about the inane details of our lives without each other as if we are second cousins instead of father and daughter. I wonder what other people think when they observe our relationship. I wonder what your mother has to say about all of this.
I know mine gets frustrated as hell with you and that Thumper already hates you. He's never met you. But he has seen the aftermath of your love and our relationship. He was the one who held me as yet another year passed and there was no phone call on my birthday. You would think by now that I would expect no phone call, but year after year it's the same sob torn from my chest as I go to bed at night on that day. He sees how I reacted to the news of your current break up. He may be blond, but he's not entirely stupid.
It's part of why, while I don't feel sorrow for losing wife #5, I feel sorrow that I don't feel sorrow. If that makes any sense. We were once closer than I am with Mom, so what happened?
I think it all stems back to her mother's funeral when you asked me to sit in the back with her friend. I did so, all the time wanting to be with you and her in the front row. After all, I am family, right? But I never saw her look back at me. She never asked why I was sitting back there. I have to think that she thought one of two things. It's the only fitting explanation I can see. She either thought nothing of it at all. Or she thought I sat back there on purpose. That's when I dug a trench between her and I. It's when I realized that things may not be all they appeared in the great relationship I thought we had.
And now, looking back on it (especially if she thought I did it on purpose), it may well be "all my fault".
But then there was Mother's Day. That's when I built the brick wall. Because up until that point she had seen my struggle with you and had supported me. She told me she tried to get you to take an active part in this thing called fatherhood.
And then when I called her for Mother's Day, wishing her a great day and lots of love... reaching out to her after her mother's funeral to say "hey, I'm thinking about you" she shot me down. It was like a physical blow. To have her scream at me for not visiting you when I was up in that area (and at this point I would like to mention how many times she or you would be down in my area without stopping by or calling) was just unbelieveable. I was in shock.
And that was the end of our relationship. So now I mourn not her, but that bond I once had with her. Because up until this point there was some hope that it might eventually be okay between us. But now she will fade out of both of our lives.
You claim it's mainly because of her boys and what happened last year. I know better. You are not talking to a five year old anymore Father. You are talking to a grown woman who is starting a family of her own. I know the pattern. Do you even realize it? Do you see that you can't last in a marriage over seven years? That we were all expecting this?
I love you, but you are a class "A" idiot.