Friday, August 24

Love in the Lies

I will never understand my father.
I have accepted this fact and most of the time I am even ok with it. I have flashes of brilliance where a decision or statement that he has made seems like a line laid out before me and I can trace it to its root. These are rare, but they happen. This is a 78 year old man who has been involved, in one way or another, with most of the big changes that have happened in his lifetime. Think back on the past 78 years…that’s a lot. He is brilliant and idiotic, careless and tender, one clash of qualities after another. Our dynamic has always been fraught with tension, mistrust, awe and love. There are so many things we don’t know about each other.
He is coming to visit on Wednesday. I mentioned to him that I was seeing someone and it was getting serious and I would like to introduce them. From that moment on I have seen a new side to my father I do not particularly like. Before you start thinking that this is the normal over-protective father/daughter dynamic let me clear a few things up. My father has never shown an interest in my dating life before this point. He wasn’t there when I went to my prom to intimidate my date, he hasn’t ever asked about anyone I was seeing and rarely, if ever knew who I was seeing. I think he understands that I’m not a virgin, but that is in an abstract way because he has never met the man to whom I gave my virginity. I dated a son of a friend of his for a while and he still didn’t pay attention. He never asked how things were going; he never asked anything at all. He didn’t ask my mother or my sisters either. He had no information about that part of my life and seemed content with that.
I have been waiting for him to show an interest for years but I realized that if I did that the first time he would meet anyone was as he walked me down the aisle, so I opened my mouth. Now all of a sudden I am getting relationship advice from a man who is on Wife #5. Apparently Joe, whom he has not met and has heard very little about, and I are moving way too fast. We are spending too much time together and what do I really know about this guy anyway? I am ignoring it. We’ll talk about when he gets here, but for now I am ignoring it. I am not quietly steaming. I am not thinking of the fact that Mama G knew him for 10 years before they got married and he still managed to shatter her heart. I am not thinking of all of the men he could have, and maybe should have, protected myself and my sisters from. I am not thinking that he has some gall to say one word to me now. I am calm and cool and not hurt at all. Why is it that I never noticed the neglect until there was attention?


Susan said...

It's kind of like the "don't know what we've got 'til it's gone" but it's "don't know what we didn't have until it shows its ugly head"..Just keep your chin up. You care about Joe enough that you felt the need for your father to meet him--that's saying loads.

WNG said...

I've been bugging him to visit me up here for two years. I want to show him the life I've made for myself and Joe is part of that. I guess we'll just wait and see what happens. Thanks, Susan, for getting it.

His Sinfulness said...

My mother has never liked any of the women I have dated, although she is very polite in that through clenched teeth way that we Southerners have. I gave up long ago on trying to find a girl she would like - in fact, the more I like a woman, the more likely I am to shield her from meeting my mother for as long as possible.

The last time she tried to give me advice I stopped her cold by asking her if she felt that three divorces qualified her to speak on romantic matters. After some angry sputtering she shut up, and hasn't said anything since. I think I prefer the silence.

My point is, you are a grown woman, and you know your heart better than anyone else ever will. Enjoy your romance with Joe, and be prepared to respectfully tell your dad to piss off if you need to. For what it's worth, I have complete confidence in your judgment.

WNG said...

Thanks :-)
I knew there was a reason I call you Pater Major.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

It sounds as if this is about him, not you. He may have had a sudden realization that he has never shown any interest in your personal life or your sisters', and is now working overtime to set things right.

However, his years of neglect do not entitle him to an opinion now. And yes, five marriages do not speak well for his ability to have a lasting relationship, only for his willingness to walk down the aisle over and over.

Try not to allow his criticism to hurt you. As long as he keeps it civil, you can smile and ignore it. But if he tries to interfere in your relationship with Joe, you may have to tell him that he missed his chance to counsel you long ago and that while you hope for his blessing, you know your own heart and will decide for yourself whether Joe is the one for you.

Good luck!

WNG said...

Or you could just come to dinner with us and I could continue my approach avoidance! Actually, Heart, I do think it is about him and that is one of the things that hurts me as well- even after all of this time it still isn't about me. As Mama G says "You do what you can and that's all you can do". I need to let it go.

Anonymous said...

"Father Knows Best."

WNG said...

Anonymous: Bullshit.