I hate Father's Day. I hate all the posts on Facebook showing happy daughters and sons proclaiming all the great things their dads did for them. I hate shopping for Father's Day cards because they all ooze love and gratefulness for having such a great man in their lives. I hate the litany at church that honors fathers for their faithfulness and presence in their children's lives.
Do you know what my dad taught me? He taught me that no matter how good of a performance I did, if I messed up even the slightest bit, that was all that mattered. Even last week, I performed a song in church and got tongue tied on a few words, the first thing he said to me when he saw me was. "Well, I guess you flubbed the words!" The rest of the performance was pretty damn awesome, but that was what mattered most.
He taught me that when your drunken father chases you around the house in a rage, if you run out the back steps of the house and sneak in the front door to run up to your room, he will be too drunk to figure out where you went and leave you alone.
He taught me that every single piece of food that goes in my mouth has a consequence. If I eat a salad, I am not eating enough. If I eat french fries, I should be trying to lose weight. If I don't finish my meal, I am wasting food. If I finish my meal, I am greedy. EVERY...SINGLE...MEAL.
And I know that the fact that he is still in my life is my fault. He is still there because I grew up with no family. My mom disappeared into depressed stupors for days at a time. My brother was a drug dealing addict who may have had a room at my house, but pretty much left emotionally by the time I was 10. When I had my miscarriage 600 miles from my husband, my dad drove me all the way back to my state (since I wasn't allowed to fly) and sat in the doctor's office while I had a DNC and then drove me the 100 miles home.
He is still in my life because when I had a high risk pregnancy with E he drove all the way again to spend a week with me while Hubby had to go out of town because he didn't want me to be alone if something went wrong. He is there because when my mom disappeared for days, no matter what was going on at work, no matter if he was meeting with the president of his company or the government agency he did secret work for, his secretary was told to never tell me he couldn't take my call. I was always put through.
He is there because he was there. And mental abuse is a vicious chain. That's the reason I don't judge anyone who stays with drug addicts, alcoholics or abusive spouses. Nothing ever takes place in a vacuum and the color gray bleeds into every aspect of our lives. He's is there because for all the damage he has done to me, that I allow him to still do, he was there.
Happy Father's Day to me, just because I survived.