.

I was halfway through the workday when the phone rang. I recognized his voice like a familiar childhood song I knew but didn’t like.

“Chrissy?”

“Dad?” I choked on memories existing only in my dreams.

“Your mother tells me it’s your 40th birthday.”

Your mother tells me.

Perfect.

“Um, yea.”

Those four words released my fear of talking to a man I barely knew. He rambled on nervously. Something about being married a fourth time, moving to Las Vegas and wondering why – for the life of him – he can’t figure out why I’ve not settled down. Why I haven’t met the right man. I knew he was trying to be kind but underneath my layer of congenial nods of interest, I wondered why it was his business.

“What’s your office address, so I can send you flowers?”

I should have hung up – but only after I ranted about how a bouquet of flowers 38 years after leaving our family was a tiny crumb in his papa-loaf sandwich of redemption. I should have screamed those words then slammed the phone in his ear. Instead I froze. Then I spoke.

“You got a pen?” My heart, welling with tears, fought back the urge to sob.

Was this it? Was this what I needed – waited for all my life? Validation of his love in the form of a mixed bouquet of I’m sorrys and remember me, the one who split?

The moment dad told me I was going to receive birthday flowers, my anger evaporated, leaving only love in her wake. I would savor every petal; inhale every breath of my bouquet. My hero was finally back – alive and in the form of forthcoming flowers.

The next day I waited, dressed up even, in a beautiful springtime dress fitting for a lady about to receive flowers from her father. The morning rolled by. I sipped my coffee and chatted with co-workers and shared about my father calling on my birthday. No one knew the vast landfill of my heart – the open space that one phone call filled.

My father was back.

After lunch when the flowers still hadn’t arrived, I wrestled with familiar butterflies. The ping of disappointment wasn’t new where my father was concerned.

This was the man who told my mother he had his own kids to worry about when my mom asked for help with dance lessons. The man who never called or sent as much as a card for any of my birthdays. The man who moved to Canada to avoid paying child support.

Still, I prayed those flowers would come.

Maybe they’re really busy.

I tried to justify the delay in my belated birthday present.

By 5:00 I knew. I collected my purse and walked past my co-workers trying not to look anyone in the eyes. I knew that look and didn’t feel like connecting with the sympathy faces.

There were no more tears. Nothing left inside my heart but the burning shame of I told you so’s.

The following day I called my mother. I thanked her for always being the olive branch – but told her I was done.

“Please don’t email Dad anything about me ever again.” I let out a sigh of exhaustion.

And then I felt it. Freedom from wondering if my father would ever change. I made the decision to cut him out of my life after one too many times being let down. It freed me from my fantasy.

For nearly four decades, my father was a fantasy – not this person who didn’t have the balls to stick around when my mother had two babies. Not the man who fell for a woman he worked with and let his penis make decisions. He was my fantasy hero – the man I always knew would come back because he loved us.

After knowing he never would, I finally realized he was human.

.

24 comments

  1. Sorry to hear about that, Christine. I can empathize because my four daughters never hear from their father, and it's been 26 years for them. But I know that's a karmic kick in the ass for him, every day of his life. Too sad, that kind of hurt just doesn't have to be.

    Like

  2. Gosh I'm so sorry to hear this, Christine. I cried reading it. *hugs*My parents disowned me when I transitioned and it was very hard. I'm finally at a point in my own life where I'm finally ok with that and trying to move on.

    Like

  3. Christine, I'm sorry. I always wished my dad was nicer. He was tough and no-nonsense. I was always afraid of him, but at least he was a part of my life every day growing up. Considering your story, I should be grateful to have him.

    Like

  4. You are such an amazing woman that deserves so much more. It's incredible how much pain people put each other through with out even questioning their own integrity. You are strong, beautiful and super talented. You deserve True Love, True Friends & Honest & Positive people to surround you and be a part of your life. I guess now is where you don't accept him or his behavior and you don't allow him to take you "emotionally hostage". It's a new day & you've got an amazing life to live to the fullest! I'm glad to be along for the ride…

    Like

  5. You are such an amazing woman that deserves so much more. It's incredible how much pain people put each other through with out even questioning their own integrity. You are strong, beautiful and super talented. You deserve True Love, True Friends & Honest & Positive people to surround you and be a part of your life. I guess now is where you don't accept him or his behavior and you don't allow him to take you "emotionally hostage". It's a new day & you've got an amazing life to live to the fullest! I'm glad to be along for the ride…

    Like

  6. Fantastic reading Christine, per usual. And your Post is simply lovely, with the photos you include, font, etc.You do public speaking, great. I'm considering this but can you give me some advice on what venue's to approach, and, what to say?Sheila (thirsty for guidance) Cull

    Like

  7. Having a defective relationship with a parent, I can sympathize. I know how strong this bond/need for a connection is, and probably always will be. To this day, I have siblings who still seek approval/acknowledgement/sense of self-worth from a parent who has no desire to please anyone but self. It saddens me that while I have come to accept this parent as is and have moved on, my siblings have not received this revelation and it sickens me to see them get hurt over and over again. My advice to you is don't set yourself up for disappointment. I know, easier said than done, but you have to come to terms with that relationship or you'll never be able to fully move forward. Life is what you make of it, Christine. The people you choose to surround yourself with can make a good life bad, or a bad life really good. Please, don't let this drag you down and distract you from the truth – that you have recognized your weaknesses, you have the power to change them, you have made a conscious decision to better yourself and your life, and YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL and deserve to be happy, I wish only good things for you."If you carry the bricks from your past relationships to the new one, you will build the same house" – Unknown"Relationships are like glass. Sometimes it's better to leave them broken than to try to hurt yourself putting it back together" – Unknown

    Like

  8. Honey, I'm so sorry. You deserved so much more. My mom was present in my life, physically, but nothing else. So in some small way, I understand that deep seated pain that always wants for something more, something you are entitled to. You are a brave, wonderful woman and I am proud to call you friend.

    Like

  9. You know… it's this exact reason I work SO hard to be a Father to my son and daughter.I can NOT imagine being responsible for the birth of two wonderful lives, and not caring about them…My relationship with my daughter wasn't an easy one for a while as she suffered from just drinking too much alcohol. She was never diagnosed as being an alcoholic, so I can't call her that…… but at her lowest level, I was always there for her.Now the kicker… the role model I used as to the kind of Father I was supposed to be… came from my Mother.If I had your address, I would send you flowers for your birthday…Every beautiful women deserve flowers for their birthdays…~shoes~

    Like

  10. Sheez,how difficult is it to send flowers? If you are not going to send them why call at all? I don't get it. It is better to have this guy out of your life. Good decision, but it must have been very hard. Your are a brave woman Christine.Phanto

    Like

  11. Sorry he let you down. I grew up without my father in my life too but for different reasons. My mother left my father & his abusive ways when I was 2 years old. I can relate to the loss of not having a father but I can also relate to the blessings of having the most wonderful mother.

    Like

  12. This is a great post, I feel the emotion and pain and then of course the release from resting our trust on the notion that others won't let us down, when in fact we're all human, and everyone lets us down, it's just a matter of how much power we give it.Hurts being human. =(Yes I'm still in the sidelines, getting back to blogging slowly. I don't know what's happened to me in the last year, just life I guess… and being… human. xoxoJax (a.k.a. "AJ")

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s