Hi there! I'm Danielle from A Little Left of Lost. Kristie asked me to guest blog today, while she is off lounging at a whimsical bed and breakfast. Of course, I agreed, because I am sweet like that, and also a bit of a sucker.
For a bit of background info, Kristie and I went to high school together. I think we have agreed that we knew each other, or rather, knew of each other, but I don't think we hung out or anything. A couple of years ago, I saw her on Myspace (I know, I know). She was dating one of my old friends, and ultimately had the most precious, smooshy-cheeked boy (whom I just want to squeeze) with him. Anyway, she was my only blog reader on Myspace. She read me faithfully, and she convinced me to move my blog to a blogging site (yes, I am so sure all of you will thank her!).
When we first started talking, I couldn't help but feel that she probably had tons of friends, was a very busy woman, who probably didn't need another friend. But that wasn't the case. She asked me to meet her for lunch. She called me randomly. We went shopping at the Funky Monkey. We chatted, texted, and talked to one another while driving home. We've even baked together, and played Wii. And well, here we are!: I'm guest posting, and rambling on! (But really, I adore Kristie, and am so very glad we are friends!) On to the actual post!
I figured I would take this opportunity to blog about something that I couldn't talk about on my own blog. See, I have random family members who have found my blog, and I don't feel so comfortable talking about family stuff now. I know that they would read it and use it as ammo against me. It's just how they are.
Specifically, I'm trying to avoid my paternal cousin and one of my paternal aunts reading this. You see, my father is a complicated man. And my love for him is equally complicated. When I was little, he was 'my hero', and I would say that he was 'as smart as a rocket scientist'. We were close, 9 times out of 10. It was that 1 time out of 10 that really threw me for a loop. My father yelled, ranted, raved, screamed, and then pouted. He said hurtful things. He was irrational, and there was no talking to him during these times. It was hard to get away from him.
It was that 1 time out of 10 that made it hard to love him.
Over the past couple of years, things have become more complicated with my father. Some would call his behavior that of someone going through a mid-life crisis; others would say he appears mentally unstable, and could use some medication. He was fired from his job in 2007. He has made the idea of hiring him pretty difficult for possible employers. He cashed in some of his 401K, started a lawn and remodeling business, and dealt with a handful of stressful situations with his wife.
During this time, he has become more narcissistic, more selfish, more painful to deal with. He says things without thinking of the consequences, of the people he could hurt. He does things without thinking. He seems sad, lonely, angry, and looking for comfort, yet no amount of comfort can ease him.
My father has always been all of these things, but now they are amplified. And now, as an adult, with my own child, I am having to mediate, smooth things over, when my father is around.
I have to hide my alcohol. I have to watch his reactions to my daughter, lest his feelings get hurt by a 3 1/2 year old, and he lash out at her. I have to laugh off things, ignore statements...things I don't find funny; things I don't want to ignore. I have to avoid his phone calls when he is stalking me, because I just don't have the energy to deal with him every damn day. And I have to hear the disappointment in his voice when I say that I have other plans, or that my girl is napping and can't have a visitor right now.
I have to listen to my in-laws say hurtful things about him. I have to watch my husband avoid eye contact with my father, because he knows if he looks at my father, he may say something that will either upset me or my father. He doesn't want to hurt me by hurting my father.
But worst of all, I have to deal with my own emotions, my own reactions, my pain, frustration, fear, and anger. I love my father. I truly do. But my patience is wearing thin. I am sick of doing all of these things. I am sick of feeling this way. I am sick of the situation. The weight of it is excruciating and suffocating.
These are the things we do for those we love. It's unbearable at times. The pain, anger, shame, exhaustion. But I believe that true love is defined as that love we have for someone in spite of all of these things.
I worry about hurting my father. I worry about alienating my other family members by defending my father, especially at times when I don't even feel he deserves the defense. Mostly, I worry that I will one day do this to my own children, without meaning to.
All I can hope for is more strength and patience. All I can do is pray for peace in both his life and in my heart.