My dad forgave me for betraying him.
That was a profound blessing and relief, one I think most people in my position don’t get to enjoy. The idea he would go to his grave being disappointed in me hurt more than all the other hurts combined.
But Andy is a very loving man, something most people never get the opportunity to see because he hides it very skillfully behind a lot of belligerence. I always saw it and he always knew. He always knew yelling wouldn’t scare me away and my yelling back was just another way of saying “I love you”.
He called me Saturday night after the dust settled, to thank me (!) for all that was done on his behalf. Dad wanted to make sure I knew that he knew I did what I did because of love. He wanted to make sure I knew that I wasn’t his stepdaughter, but his daughter. His kid.
The feeling of peace his phone call gave me is indescribable. I am so blessed to have a man with such strength of character for a father. I hope someday that I can be as forgiving and strong with my own stepkids.
Someday. These days, I try very hard not to think about my husband’s children because there are already enough painful issues to sort out. Their absence from my life during this horrible time is a sadness I can’t measure. It’s been necessary for my preservation to put a substantial amount of emotional distance between them and me. Keen observers will note the shift between them being referred to as “my kids” to “my husband’s kids”.
The words are important.
I blatantly asked for a sign of love from them not long ago, received deafening silence in return. And by sign, nothing drastic was required, a phone call, a visit, a greeting card perhaps. An ironic Happy Meal would have sufficed.
Part of me is inclined to believe my dad’s long held opinion that G’s kids were never worthy of my love. In the long run, Andy has been a lot more right than he was wrong. But love is a tricky business. They might not love me, but I do love them.
It would be a lie to say I don’t think about the kids every day. Every time I’m wading through one of Andy’s tirades or making decisions about his care, a little voice wonders if the people I raised will do the same for me.
Probably not. But that’s on them, not me. I didn’t fail them, if I was half as good at being a stepmom as I am being a stepdaughter, then they are luckiest fucking people on Planet Earth.
This blog is the most energy I’ve expended on Shortening and Cracker in months. Gotta say that it’s cleansing to get it off my chest. But my energies are better spent these days on taking care of Andy and taking care of me. His mood swings are becoming almost unmanageable, they are swift and capricious. Keeping him balanced and on topic is impossible, so I try to just skim atop the choppy waters the best I can.
I don’t think he has much time left. The bitter truth is that I hope he dies before I have to put him in a facility. That’s a betrayal I DO NOT want to commit. It’s selfish, yes, but selfless too. He’s not the same man he was even six months ago, rational and in control of his faculties.
That man would not want to live like this, he would not want to be so out of control. I don’t want my dad to die ever, but I know in his rare lucid moments, he is embarrassed by what’s transpired. He deserves to go out with dignity and I pray that fate will allow it.
Category: Wonders That Defy Description
About the AuthorCairn Rodrigues is a former professional chef who found that keyboards offer fewer cuts and burns, so she turned to writing. A lifelong nerd, she has affection for marzipan and a potentially unhealthy Twitter addiction. She resides near her hometown of Sacramento, California in a poorly decorated house.
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