Family Drama And Guilt: Why Father’s Day Wasn’t So Happy For My Dad
Guilt is one hell of a feeling. It is even more taxing when the guilt is somewhat learned, not directly your own, but you harness it as if you’re to blame. When it comes to Father’s Day, I feel the heaviest and most guilty as though I’m reliving some traumatic experience.
I grew up with both of my parents in the household. It wasn’t until my sophomore year in college that my parents split up, and throughout my years in college, I was mostly kept in the dark. Despite being a daddy’s girl, unfortunately, I succumbed to playing the middle man between my parents. To this day, I often find myself feeling like that best friend trapped between two former friends.
I try to operate as though I don’t really know the hurt my father put my mother through. That has nothing to do with me, right? He and I have always had a tight bond, and my mom never wanted to interrupt that. But all her strength couldn’t stop her from having moments of vulnerability and frustration. During those times, she would clue me into some of their ugliness. Adultery, financial issues, the works. Disappointing things.
But even with the knowledge of my father’s transgressions, I try to remain in his corner. We kick it, talk whiskey and entrepreneurial pursuits. To me, he’s always been the non-parent; the less intimidating individual who would give in to your puppy dog eyes. He once threatened me with punishment, and I laughed it off as I left the house to go to my theater program.
Dad has always been the homie.
But to my mother and my siblings, he’s anything but the homie, so trying to maintain a strong bond with him has been difficult. When my mom drops a snide remark about him, I stay quiet. I have nothing to offer but an ear. When my dad calls me, I sneak around the house as if I’m a cheating husband telling the booty call to know her lane and call only after 9 p.m.
No one has ever asked me to pick sides, and yet, I’m torn. And that’s why Father’s Day makes me feel so sorry. There’s just something about the day that makes me reflect on whether I’ve only ignored his wrongdoings for the sake of maintaining our relationship or if I’m able to see past it and just be daddy’s little girl – while my other siblings roll their eyes and ignore him.
Of his five kids, I almost feel responsible for being the one that remains the most accessible because no one else will. Thankfully my eldest brother and I share the burden for the most part, but big bro also has a wife and family to tend to. Therefore, it’s up to me to answer his calls and make myself available. The whole state of things is exhausting.
I am happy to know so many amazing fathers, including my own with all of his issues. One of these days I’ll have to grow a pair and start a very adult conversation with him about all I know. My dad certainly won’t feel compelled to spark that discussion on his own. It wasn’t this past Father’s Day, and it probably won’t be next Father’s Day. But I would love to cultivate a strong relationship with him without worrying about what he did and didn’t do in the past. And it would be nice to enjoy Father’s Day with him and the rest of my siblings the way we used to when things were in a much better place. Despite those past transgressions, he’s done so much for us. He deserves better.