So I wanted to write something a bit more cheerful after my last few posts, but there hasn’t been a lot to be happy about in the world recently. We have had some horrible, cruel and unforgivable things happen in the last few weeks and it just didn’t feel right to write something happy. However, today is Father’s Day, a day I used to hate, but have grown to appreciate. So to celebrate the day I thought I would take the time to say a few words about my Dad.
I have had three father figures in my life. The first was of course my biological father who physically abused his wife and young daughter (I was five/six at the time). Thankfully my very brave Mother got us out of that situation. The second person was my Godfather. He never raised a hand to me, he was more of an emotional abuser. He felt because he had money he could buy our love and control us. When he realised that was not the case he flipped out and one restraining order later he was gone.
After all that I was done with Fathers. I didn’t need one, I didn’t want one and I would never trust one. Years went by and my Mother started to date a guy she had met through a friend. Looking back, I feel bad for this person having to meet me for the first time. After everything my family had been though I became overprotective and untrusting. I wasn’t just going to let some guy swoop in and hurt my Mother and Brother like the others. I was defensive from the get go and I think he was a little afraid of me at first. I wasn’t rude but I gave off this air of ‘you are not my Dad and if you hurt my family I will destroy you’. I got to know him after a while, bonded with him even, but my defenses were never truly down. He moved in with us after a while. I wasn’t against it, he made my Mum happy so life continued as normal. I became a stroppy teenager which created friction in the house but nothing unusual. The one thing I couldn’t stand was him trying to discipline me. I wasn’t a bad kid, I didn’t do anything particularly bad, but I never felt it was his place to punish me. I saw him as a friend and not a parent so I would argue with him if he tried to “parent” me in any way.
One day our world got a little crazy. I wont go into details but let’s just say it would have been the perfect time for him to bail. Having two teenage kids was one thing but when this happened I would expect most guys to run a mile. He didn’t though. He stuck by the family and I honestly don’t think we would have made it though it without him. I feel like it wasn’t until that moment that I realised that this man wasn’t going to leave, or hurt us, or control us. He loved us like we were his own, and was there for us as part of our family. The sad thing is though, I couldn’t say it to him. I had built up a wall and saying that to him would mean taking it all the way down and I just wasn’t ready for that.
I went to college, my brother followed two years later and so my Mum and Stepdad moved to Spain. I would call my Mum every few days, I’d ask how he was but I never really asked to speak to him. The one thing I always did though was send him a Father’s Day card. At first I would make sure it specifically said ‘Stepdad’, I felt like calling him ‘Dad’ was too weird. I would also make sure to not sign off with ‘Love Valerie’, just ‘Valerie’. I didn’t think it was right as I had never said it to his face. Part of me wants to yell at my past self for being such and idiot.
When my depression was at its worst and I was in Jigsaw, Beethoven got me talking about him. He said it was no surprise that I was defensive after what had happened. I nodded but the more I spoke about him, the more I realised that I had nothing but nice things to say about this person. I hated how hard it was to say out loud, even to Beethoven that I loved my Stepdad. I was ashamed that for the entire time he had been in my life that I just couldn’t say it. To this day I still find it hard to say, especially to his face. I don’t know if I am afraid, or embarrassed, or I just feel too guilty for not saying it sooner. Maybe it is because he isn’t the most emotional person, so it just feels too awkward to say it out of nowhere. Whatever the reason, I just couldn’t get it out.
This year I went to visit them in Spain after finding out that they were getting married. I was so happy for them even though they were practically married already. After a few glasses of wine we got to talking about the wedding and the future and I was finally able to tell him to his face that I loved and cared about him. It was very hard to say and the bit of liquid courage definitely helped, but I was glad that I finally found the courage to say those words to him. I could tell from the look on his face how much they meant to him.
I sent him his Father’s Day card as usual this year. It said ‘Dad’ on it and I signed off with ‘Love Valerie’. I still can’t say it very often but I hope he knows that he is my Dad and that even though we don’t talk much, I don’t know what I would do without him. I am so thankful that he came into my family’s life and made us stronger. They always say you can chose your friends but you can’t chose your family. My Mother did have a choice and she couldn’t have chosen better.
Happy Father’s Day Ger and to all of the amazing Dad’s out there. I hope all of you took the time today to show them how much you love and appreciate them, because not everyone is so lucky.
Hope this wasn’t too soppy a blog post!