May 20, 2013

Blog Every Day in May
Favorite Photo, Childhood
+ My Struggle

These three prompts fit together nicely in an invisible bow.

May 17 - A favorite photo of yourself & May 18 - Tell a story from your childhood.

When I was taking a picture of this picture, one thing came to mind.

Shake it like Polaroid picture. Shake it. Shake it.

You're welcome.

I remember some major events from my childhood. Some I don't. This picture and this day stand out. It was my birthday. I'm not sure which one. If I had to guess, I'd say I was turning 4 or 5. With my birthday being in April, it's often still cold outside. My parents had gotten me a swing set for the big day. It was freezing, and I was sick. My dad, knowing my mom was never going to let me play outside, put the entire thing together in our living room.

As you can see above, I'm cheesing before going down the slide. It's easily my most favorite childhood memory. How many kids get to swing, slide and ride the teeter totter inside their house while watching Jailhouse Rock?
Once it warmed up, my dad took the entire thing apart and put it back together outside.

May 20 - Share something you're struggling with right now.

I haven't seen my dad in over 25 years. To make a long story short, my dad had a drinking problem. He went to work, took care of us and was never abusive in any way. I actually have great memories of him up until the end. He just couldn't and wouldn't get help. My mom finally left. They divorced. At first, he came to visit. Eventually, I saw him less and less until he stopped showing up altogether. There were a few drunken phone calls over the years. When I was 18, I told him off. He didn't reach out again until I was 25. By then, my mom had moved. I was married. He had no way to contact us anymore, so he sang me happy birthday on my grandparent's answering machine. {They've had the same number for 40+ years.} Thanks to Facebook, I've recently been in touch with some of his relatives. Since his parents died, he hasn't been around much. He's still drinking and still living only one state away. Sometimes I think about trying to find him. Other times, I feel like I shouldn't bother. He's the one who missed out on how awesome I am.

For years, it didn't really bother me. Lots of kids grow up with only one parent. I obviously turned out fine. For the most part, I don't feel like I missed out on anything. My mom, grandparents and uncle are amazing. But I'd be lying if I said things didn't change a little bit when I had kids of my own, especially since my son looks so much like him.

Really, genetics? Really?!


Unknown said...

You should go see him. Remember that he is still the man who put together a swing set inside for you. Growing up, I only had one grandparent. Even today I miss the relationship I never had with the other three. So few of us ever get a second chance.

Unknown said...

My Dad has similar issues....I made a huge effort, got back involved, helped him (and put my own life on hold when he got very sick)....and it all ended really badly.

I completely feel that it's his loss and I am 100% better off without him. I won't make the same mistake again and am most definitely at peace with that. Some people never change and I am a big believer that just because it's family doesn't mean that you have to put up with all the crap & heartache that comes with it.

My children know nothing about that side of my father & I intend to keep it that way - he doesn't deserve them in his life.

Your son is gorgeous XX

Because Shanna Said So said...

Wow, your son does look just like your dad. I am sorry that he is missing out on so much in your life. I am sure he thinks about you all the time and often wonders, "what if..." But so proud of you and the road you have taken without him. Big hugs.

Karen M. Peterson said...

Wow. He really does look like your dad.

Whatever you decide to do will be the right thing.

And that picture of you is adorable. How fun that you got to have that set up in your house.

Mrs. Match said...

What a cute picture and such a sweet story about your dad.

I can definitely relate to estranged fathers. My dad had drug and alcohol problems all through my childhood. He's been sober for years, but he still failed when it came to being a dad. Not one to call or communicate, and our relationship was entirely up to me. I just finally had enough and didn't speak to him for years. I always said if he came to me, I'd give him another chance, but I was tired of reaching out. When Roo passed away, he finally stepped up, and since then he's made a lot of effort. Our relationship is still very tentative, but I'm glad we're at least on speaking terms again. Relationships with family can be so tough!
As far as looking for your dad, I say follow your heart. If you feel better without the drama, that's ok. But I will say, if he does make the effort to reach out (soberly) and is the one to make the effort, then maybe it could be something great. Hugs!

Rach said...

Oh wow! Your son does look a lot like your dad. I'm sorry you've had to deal with this for so long. I'm sure it can't have been easy.

Christina said...

That is a really awesome memory about the swing set. What a great idea! I'm sorry about your dad. I don't talk to my biological dad either.

Shelley said...

You might just be better off this way since he doesn't want to help himself.

Heather T. said...

I understand your struggle. My dad was my best friend, even after my parent's divorce, until I was 18. When I went away for my first year of college, my dad basically just disappeared. I haven't spoken to him in almost ten years now. I know where he is, I know how to contact him - but I'm so angry that he would willingly leave me and I can't get past it. I'm here for you!

Unknown said...

Oh my goodness he does look A LOT like him. You know I am up for "that road trip" :)

Unknown said...

They look so much alike! I understand your reluctance to reach back out to him, but if you struggle with it now, how will you feel when you realize one day that you've missed out on your chance? I'm sure you'll feel better at least knowing you tried. Also, I love the story about the birthday swing set.