June 20, 2010

The Myth of the Perfect Parent

Last night I couldn’t sleep, it was one a.m and I felt anxious. I knew it wasn’t the affects of the caramel macchiato that I had earlier that evening, as I laid there on the couch I wrestled with this feeling of anxiety. I knew instantly what it was about …..Father’s Day.

I tried to recall past Fathers days with my father, and just remembering his lack of acknowledgement when it came to the homemade cards or little trinkets that we bought for him. “It’s just another day” he’d say and go hide out in his garage. Seclusion away from us seemed to make him happy.

How do I acknowledge and give thanks to a man that ……well to put it bluntly, had a hand in screwing me up. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wished to have the parents my sister has, a week doesn’t go by that they don’t call her….the last time I heard from my father was earlier this year when he asked me why I wanted to invite my uncles to my wedding and that they would only come out to California to play golf…..I didn’t even hear from him when my wedding was cancelled. as a child they were my sisters biggest cheerleader, they cheered her on at her soccer tournaments, never missed a dance recital, her grades were always on display and of course I got to hear “Jolene why can’t you just be like your sister?”. In their eyes she can’t do anything wrong. She never felt the back of a hand for talking out of line, she never felt the leather from a belt hitting her rear, she never was insulted by her father, and I don’t even think she ever heard the phrase “you’re grounded”.

“Jolene you have to stop expecting them to change, they were never parents to you. They were nothing but toxic to your upbringing. You will never have your sisters’ parents, yes they are technically your parents but they never acted like a father and mother should, they abandoned you and you sat on the side lines through the last 30 years watching your sister enjoy the life you wanted………which was loving parents” these were words spoken from Maria, my counselor over 6 months ago.

As the house was silent, I wrote a letter to the father that I always dreamed of wanting…..in a way it’s the father that my sister had the pleasure of growing up with , and then I wrote a letter to my father, which will never be given because he doesn’t see that he’s ever done anything wrong. ………………..by writing these letters I was only hoping to release myself from the anxiety of today.

Happy Fathers Day

Dad ever since I can remember you never hesitated to slay the evil monsters from under my bed or scare away the boogeyman hiding in my closet. You played along during tea times and never once made it seem that you’d rather be lounging on the couch enjoying a good sci-fi movie or football game.

During those days that I would stay late at Dawns and I needed to come home, you heard the scared little girl on the other end to please meet her outside; because walking home late at night down our street was somewhat spooky, and as soon as I walked down her driveway there you were standing on the other side of the street waiting for your 6 year old daughter to guide her home safely.

Thank you for encouraging me to do better in school and never once made me feel worthless when I brought home a report card smothered in C’s.

You understood my tears when my heart was broken and made me realize that this too shall pass, and that the boy just didn’t see the trueness of me and that one day there will be a guy who will never want to break my heart.

Thank you for never taking sides when it came to Andrea and me, by that you taught me fairness. You taught us right from wrong and allowed us to express ourselves even if it made you roll your eyes.

You instilled in me that the world is my playground and anything is possible and for that I thank you for all that I have accomplished in my life.

I never doubted the love of my father or missed one of your cuddly hugs, because you never let a day go by that I left the house without you telling me or showing me in one way or another that you loved me.

Thank you especially for protecting me from moms’ manipulations and mind games.

Dad, as an adult I’ve learned so much from you. I’ve learned to be a supportive, loving, giving mother, friend, daughter, and sister.


Dear Jack,

This is the day that kids spend quality time with their dad, making memories. Dads will be opening up handmade cards, a new Worlds Best Dad shirt, and a new tie to wear to work on Monday proudly. Well Dad we won’t be doing any of that this year. The father’s day I remember are ones that were faked with emotion.

dad, I don’t understand:

Why was it so hard for you to tell me you loved me?

Why can I recall all the times I got hit with the belt, spanked or slapped but can’t remember receiving a loving hug from you.

Why did you take me fishing believing we were having a father/daughter day but only to be told to be quiet, because if I talked I’d scare the fishes away. Oh and thanks for telling me that was a big fat lie, because I looked like a total fool telling the guy I was dating to be quiet while we were fishing. He didn’t understand why I kept getting irritated with him for talking, until I told him that he was the reason why we weren’t catching anything because he was scaring the fishes with his talking. I seriously knew as the words were coming out of my mouth that it was all a lie, that my father never wanted to have a father/daughter day because if he had, he wouldn’t have cared if I talked about barbies, or what Dawn and I did or what happened on the smurfs that morning.

Why did you act like it was such a bother to come to my room when I had nightmares or if I was scared of the monsters under my bed? Why couldn’t you just be my protector, you were the cities protector when you were driving that black and white around town. I was just a little girl wanting her daddy.

Why did you make me feel that nothing was ever good enough?

Why did you always compare me to Andrea? It was really unfair to hear “why can’t your grades be like your sister’”. Dad, maybe because when I was in high school she was in grade school.

Why did you insist on calling me names or putting me down for my weight? Being called bubble butt was humiliating, and being told as an adult to move to the front of the boat because I was weighing the back of the boat down was so hurtful. Your constant doubt, the name calling, the put downs have done more damage than you think.

Your anger scared me and when I had the courage to stand up to you to say my peace or tell my side, it never mattered you already formed your opinion…...it was my fault, I was guilty….end of story. Is this what they taught you in the academy?

Why wasn’t I ever allowed to have a voice? My thoughts, ideas, opinions were never good enough. I was never good enough.

Did it ever occur to you that you could have been a father to me as well as to my sister? Did it ever occur to you that I may have needed you too? Does it ever occur to you that I may need my father NOW?

When your comments about my failed relationships and what did i do wrong this time reach my ear, don't you realize that you and mom played a HUGE role in that? the lack of love, the lack of emotion, the lack of feeling safe, the lack of just BEING there in my childhood has affected my relationships?

The reality of all this is at times I’m still that little girl just wanting her father to slay those evil monsters that continue to show their face, but now the only person who can come to that little girls rescue is ME.