Saturday, January 9, 2010

Every Life Has a Story, And Here's Part of Mine

Right now I am sitting at my aunt's house, listening to my uncle and my dad talk as my dad fixes stew in the crockpot. In any other family this might be an incredibly ordinary thing to happen. But for me, in my life, it is not.

Growing up, my dad was never around. My parents didn't get divorced until I was 11, but I still only have about 2 memories of my dad predivorce. He just wasn't around. In fact, when my mom, my sister, and I moved away from my dad and into an apartment when I was in the 6th grade, I remember thinking how nothing really changed.

My dad was(is) an alcoholic. Ever since I can remember, present time included, if he's awake, he has a beer in his hand (or open somewhere). When we lived with him, he would get up and go to work before we woke up, go to a bar when he got off of work, and not come home until we were asleep.

When my parents' divorce was final, and school was out for the year, we (my mom, my sister, and I) moved to Abilene from Ruidoso so she could go to ACU and finish her bachelors degree. My dad hadn't even tried to get custody of us.I don't remember how I found out-if I asked or what-but I did find out. He just let us be moved to another state. And I didn't realize it until just recently, but because my mom didn't have to 'fight' for us, it felt like nobody actually wanted us. My mom just got us.

(Just took a break to live life a lunch, chat with family, talk on the phone with David, feed child, etc.)

And I almost haven't seen him since. One or two week-to-ten-day trips out there. And a few other random visits, but basically, over the last 20 years, I haven't spent more than a week with my dad, and it's been 7 or 8 years since the last time. In the last 7 or 8 years, I have spent one evening at a time with him. And that has happened three times. With a few years in between each time.

My dad was/is (still unsure as to if it is is or was) really bad about saying he'll do something (i.e. coming to pick us up, call us, etc.) and not doing it. In fact he can tell you he's not going to do something and he does it and tell you he is going to do it and he doesn't do it. So I have to admit, that among all the other questions in my mind, is one.

Am I doing the right thing in introducing my son to and allowing him to bond with my dad?

I understand that every person is human, and that every person comes with their own set of ways to disappoint you, but am I being irresponsible in allowing jakob to come to love someone who's history, not only with me, but with everyone in his life, is disappointing others and letting them down?

It's bad enough, that I have been unable to introduce my dad to Jakob as "Grand Dad Varley." I have a hard time giving jakob a name for my dad. I hope my dad hasn't noticed. I don't want to hurt his feelings.

But I don't want Jakob to get hurt either.

On a whole different note.....but going back to what I was talking about with custody.....I was surprised to hear that my dad wanted me to come visit him. And by doing some talking with my aunt, I was surprised to learn that my dad was afraid of my rejection. Doesn't he know he's the parent, the "grown up"? It was his responsibility all these years to keep the relationship going....

This is so confusing.

And........ a little shocking.

That doesn't make it any easier.

So here I am. Thirty-two years old. Getting to know my dad.

1 comment:

CB said...

Wow, thank you for sharing that! To answer you question about your dad and Jakob...I would definately start with boundaries...and a very frank conversation with your dad. But you know, teach Jakob not to expect anything...I don't know Jana. I can see though how you might want to get to know him a little...especially if he wants to get to know you and you have had some of those feelings validated...but for sure if I were you I would have to put up a bit of an emotional wall as a boundary. I will pray for you!