Growing a relationship with my father

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I didn’t grow up with my mom and dad in the same house. Whenever people talk about having a relationship with both parents, I didn’t have anything to contribute to the conversation. Don’t get me wrong, I did spend time with my dad and my mom and grandmother did do a great job in raising me.

My dad moved to Florida with his wife and my little sister when I was pretty young, about 8 or 9. That’s when things started to get fuzzy.

When my dad was living in New York I remember him coming over quite a bit and taking me out. We used to go to the park, the mall, to visit my grandparents and go on diner dates. I used to love when he’d ring the bell. I’d run to the door and he’d say, “Wow angel, you’re getting so tall.” I used to just stand there and smile.

I also remember the first time he let me sit in the front seat because I was tall. My mom was NOT happy about it, but I was ecstatic. I remember when he taught me how to ride a bike and I fell and skinned my knee. My mom said I had an attitude and I still have the scars to prove it.

Whenever my dad came to New York, he would make sure to come over and spend time with me. I loved it. Of course, as he started settling down and making his new life in Florida, I saw him less and less. My favorite times spent with him was when he could get all of my siblings together. My siblings and I aren’t that close in age. My oldest sister is 13 years older than me and I’m 4 years older than my little sister. We were all at different stages in our lives and my oldest sister had a child when I was 6. So it was hard getting us together, but when we came together and went to our grandparents house, it was special.

I went years without seeing my dad between junior high and high school. Him and my mom had a friendly relationship and they spoke on the phone and I was able to speak to him too.

He took me to get my second earring hole when I was 12. Him and I had the father/ daughter dance during my sweet 16 and that’s where all of my friends noticed that I looked just like him. When my high school graduation was coming around in 2012, I knew I wanted him there. I was the first of his kids to be going away to college and I knew he would be proud to see me cross that stage. I would never forget that day, June 25, 2012. He came to my graduation with luggage because my oldest sister was getting married the very next day in Las Vegas. That moment I realized that he was a great dad and that he would be there for all of his children.

Our relationship really changed when I got to college. My mom made way too much money for me to get financial aid and she didn’t want me taking out loans so she decided to stay at work, past retirement, to pay for my degree. Here’s the problem…during those four years my dad NEVER asked if I needed anything. Not even a pencil. My mom was mad. She cut off all communication with him. I was still talking to him here and there, letting him know that I was okay despite being three hours away from home. I was doing well. The biggest blow came, when during my senior year he announced that he was coming to my graduation and not only that…he was bringing his wife. By this time I had shared the same sentiment that my mom had. Hell. No. Not only did you not contribute anything to my education, but for you to bring your wife, who I don’t like by the way, to spectate and stand there in a photo and pretend that she fucked with me. NOPE. I was mad and I made sure he knew.

I wasn’t nice about it and we didn’t talk for about a year.

Father’s Day 2016, I was talking to who would become my partner about our dads. I was telling her how I missed my dad and wanted to tell him Happy Father’s Day. We decided to do it together. I texted my dad and she texted hers. That was the beginning of us getting back to our father, daughter relationship.

I’ve been seeing him a lot lately. Last year, 2017, he came up and we went out to Red Lobster with my other siblings. Then this year I saw him in May and all of us went to breakfast at IHOP. It wasn’t long after that when he came back to bury his mom, my grandmother.

Since then, I try to talk to him at least once a week. My mom still doesn’t talk to him. My older siblings aren’t too fond of him either. They all tell me the issues that they have with him, but I’ve learned to have my own relationship with him. We are all getting older and I don’t want to have any regrets when God decides to call him home. Whatever issues I had with him in the past are now squashed. He’s kind of my best friend now and I know that whatever I have going on in my life, I can go to him and ask for advice.

 

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