The Father Factor

I loved my father. I know he loved me. He is gone now, no longer enduring the hardships of this world we live in. He no longer has to work him self to the point of exhaustion, worry about money, and making his wife and my sister happy. He has no worries, or cares. He is gone. He has been dead almost 10 years.I will write about that later. A short story I wrote about his death was published in my college literary magazine. I will gladly share that later.I have no intentions of making my father look bad, or have him seem like a careless person. He was not. Honestly, I really don’t know what he really thought of anything.I know he had good intentions, but it seemed to me he could never act on them. They were there, in his heart just know always shown.  I never had the chance to figure him out or have a real father/daughter relationship myself.

I was 16 when he died and it all just went down hill from there.

There have been so many studies dedicated to the study of the affects of an absent father especially when it involves a daughter. Did I make decisions based on the fact I just wanted to feel love from a man? The love I never felt I got from my father? I know that there is a significant impact a daughters life. Is it just an excuse for bad behavior? Is it a way out? Is it a cry for help? I know first hand. It leaves a lasting impact and believe it or not, it’s not pretty.

My half-sister came along when I was 7. I was ecstatic. I loved her already.My mom had just had a baby boy from an ex-boyfriend who bolted left when he found out my mom was pregnant and now I was going to have a sister from my dad. A little sister! I imagined helping her learn to walk, talk, holding her tiny hands in mine, play barbies, and dress-up. That never happened. The years after she was born I often to refer to as my “Cinderella” years. My step-mom had her “perfect” family. She had handsome husband and a beautiful baby girl. Unfortunately for her I existed.

Do you see as theme here? I was always in the way of something. I wasn’t needed and I certainly rarely felt wanted.

I always felt that in someway I ruined her vision of a her happy family. I reminded her that my dad was previosly married, that he may have even still loved my mom, and I took away her time with my dad when I was around. Selfish of me right? How dare I take a few hours or maybe a day of every other weekend to spend with my daddy. My dad’s family saw right through her. They never liked her from the beginning, more about that later. They saw how I was treated by her. No, I was never beaten or anything like that. I was emotionally abused and could feel her negativity towards me even as a child. Her beautiful fake smile went right though me and it still does to this day. She spoke bad about my mom and as a child and could never understand why.

After a while the weekends at my dad’ house ended. I went to and spent many happy weekends at his parents house where I would play with my cousins, go on adventures in the woods, bake the most delicious, flaky biscuits with my mamaw,with my papaw we would can the sweetest strawberry jam that when you would lightly unscrew the jar sugar would fall down like snow. I felt true, unconditional love with them.I felt wanted there and even needed!

As I grew older the innocent joy of splashing in the mountains creeks, climbing trees, and bedtime stories came less and less enjoyable. The older I got time with my dad grew further and further apart. He know tried to make up for lost time with me with extravagant Christmas and Birthday gifts.He worked hard for his money and was not wealthy. They were always so nice, I know he was trying in his own way. The gift cards, CD’s, DVD’s. T.V’s, beautiful clothes and more wasn’t what I wanted.The gifts made me feel guilty. Why?  I wanted him, his time, his attention, and his love. What made this gifts even less appealing was knowing that he didn’t pick them out. He may have helped some, but he worked so much I know he didn’t have the time. He had sent my step-mom out into the retail world to buy his daughters love. When the whole time it was free.

So, my immature brain began to look for love in all the wrong places.

Note: The photo of the man with his daughter is not of us.



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