Monday, March 13, 2006

All About Me: Part Deux

After my parents divorced, my dad soon moved back to Texas when I was about 4. I don't remember much about him moving, just that I missed him tremendously and I felt a huge sense of abandonment.

When I was 6, he remarried and a few months later they had their first of three kids. As I have stated before, my step-mom and I have never had a healthy relationship. She has always treated me with a sense of resentment and has never made me feel welcomed or comfortable around her. The same goes for her family as well (with the exception of one sister who has always been warm and loving toward me). I guess I was always an annoying little reminder that my dad had a past; that she wasn't his first true love.

I do have to consider where she was coming from, though, because in recent years I have come to find out that she has been compared to my mom by my dad's family members from day one. She and my dad have been married almost 25 years, and she is still compared to my mom, so I guess the ability to NOT hold resentment toward me was difficult for her, to say the least.

Nonetheless, the way my dad and step-mom have always carried themselves where I was concerned has been painful for me at best. I got to see my dad once a year and that entire visit was never spent alone with my dad or even hanging out as a "family". I always felt like an outsider in their home. Never part of them. And as I got older, I was pretty much their built-in babysitter when I would visit, thus causing my resentment and hatred toward my half-siblings to increase.

As the years passed, I dreaded my annual visits because it was always a huge slap in the face for me that my dad had chosen to move on and start over with his 'new family' leaving me behind to fend for myself. I in no way doubt that my dad loved me, but he certainly did not have the capability to show emotion toward me because of how much pain and difficulty came along with it. So rather than drudging up years full of painful feelings, he basically shut down towards me. It was almost like all or nothing with him. His new family got the 'all' and I got the 'nothing'.

The straw that broke the proverbial camel's back for me was when I was around 15. My mom was in her second battle with breast cancer, this time a losing one. My dad was fully aware of her condition and imminent death. I was working two jobs while going to school so we could pay rent, because my mom could obviously not work. Not once did my dad call to check on me. Not once did he drive up to visit. I only lived a three-and-a half hour drive from him.

To this day, that is still a hard pill for me to swallow, especially now that I am a mother. It was proof that he had completely cut off all emotion toward me. After that, I was done. I wanted nothing to do with him.

Years passed with countless other disappointments and hurt feelings. When I was 18 I stopped contacting him and when I moved I never told him how he could reach me. Several months later (maybe even a year - I'm not quite sure on the time frame) he tracked me down and we had a long, much-needed hashing out over the phone. They had spent my life holding my actions against me, even though I was a child, and I had spent my life building a wall of resentment and pain toward them.

That's what amazes me. Not one of my parents ever looked at me and saw a child. They never looked at me and saw a little girl that they needed to protect. I have never been able to understand that. But I digress...

Eventually we made amends and have been able to forgive and move on. Today we have a good relationship and we talk often. There are still issues that arise on a regular basis due to things that are said and done on my step-mom's part. And as my siblings grow, there are always those constant reminders of how differently my dad treated me. Things that I was not able to have out of spite, they are freely given, and so on. But as I grow in my walk with Christ, I am able to just walk away from those situations and not let them consume me any longer. I have realized that yes, in fact, things are going to be different for them, and that's okay.

Once again, I just have to have complete forgiveness and pity upon my dad and step-mom for their actions and let God take care of the rest. He has a tremendous plan for my life and carrying these things with me would only sabotage it.


At 3/13/2006 3:04 PM, Blogger Addie said...

The beauty that God is creating out of your ashes is miraculous! I'm sure that sharing this has been extremely difficult and I will pray that God will bless your openess.

At 3/13/2006 4:03 PM, Blogger Amanda said...

You know I am your fellow trailer trash girl! It's comforting to know that you have experienced things that I myself can understand. You said something that explains how I feel. Why didn't my dad look at me like a little girl instead of an adult that took care of him in his alcoholic rage? I never got to be a little girl and I think that's why Ava Beth has brought so much healing to my life. I'm not saying that you need to go have another baby and hope for a girl because you would have another boy! But, I know that you and Kayla, your niece, have a special bond and I really believe that your relationship with her can be a healing balm. You are a beautiful, gorgeous, spunky, funky woman. You have changed my life, I know. Today as I crawled through a "the tubes" with Josiah my Mom said, "Do any other adults crawl up there besides you?" And I said, "MInnie!" Then my Mom, your hair stylist, said "Oh well then I'm gonna do it too!" Your will to survive the life you came from encourages us all to live life outloud. I am so proud of you.

At 3/15/2006 10:52 AM, Blogger Minnie said...

Thanks, girls, for the encouragement. It has been a tough week on me after opening up all of these old wounds. But I know God can't heal them if I don't expose them first.


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