Date: November 11, 2013 05:41PM
I thought I had a good relationship with my parents when I was a kid. I got along ok with my mom, and thought the world of my dad. He was my hero and I would've died defending him. But this 'good relationship' only worked if I was doing exactly what my parents wanted. The first time I felt hate towards my mother was the day she made me cover up my date with a black guy. The first time I felt disappointed in my father was when he bought cigarettes for two fifteen year olds, right in front of me.
Our relationships waned and waxed over the years. Something my dad has done, that I will never forget, was tell me to "Stop crying" and "Suck it up" When I was in pain in a hospital bed at 15. There was a part of me that never forgave him for that.
When I left TSCC, our relationship got worse than it ever had been. I had disobeyed them, gone against their wishes. They never said it, but I could hear it and see it in their voices and eyes. They felt like they had lost me. But I remember ignoring it, because there were so many life achievements my parents could witness, now. I could have my whole family at my wedding, someday. My father could walk me down the aisle. We could have our father daughter dance.
When I met my husband, those dreams really began to take place. When we got engaged I pressed the urgency of having them at my wedding. Then my brothers said they probably weren't coming. And my and my sister started fighting. And if it wasn't me and my sister fighting, it was me and my mother. I spent many nights crying and confused, wondering what I was doing wrong.
Due to a family illness, we wound up moving our wedding up over a year from our original plan, with only a few weeks to plan (crazy I know). Because it was now out of state, my mom and siblings now had an excuse to not come! And I tried to understand. I consoled myself with the fact that they wanted to watch the ceremony on Skype. And I was happy.
My father, on the other hand, travels for work. I told him the first day we decided to do this, that it wanted him there. That I NEEDED him there. In my heart, I knew that this was my dads last chance to prove that he cared, that he still loved exmo me. He said he'd try, and see if his boss could get him to be in that area around that time and he'd figure out the rest. I spoke to him almost everyday until we flew out, reminding him. He always said the same thing; "Don't worry, #1 (my lifelong nickname from him, that I haven't heard since I got married) I'll make it". I told my future inlaws that he'd be there, and they were excited to meet him. My future mother in law encouraged me to pick out my father daughter dance song, and to pick some picture poses to take with him. And I did. And I was happy.
We flew out the day before the wedding was supposed to happen. When we landed and after we got our marriage license, I called my dad. He said that he was "Kind of close", only a few hundred miles away. His plan was to drive all night and sleep during the day, then wake up and drive the rest of the way until he got here. I even told our officiant and hosts that there might be a delay in the ceremony start.
That night, as I was doing the finishing details on the ceremony, I called him again, just to reiterate his plans and find out a tentative time he'd be here. Instead, he told me he wasn't coming. I thought I heard him wrong. Nope, I had heard him just fine. It was too far to drive, he said. He told me he was going home to see his family (I guess I didn't count anymore), to do his laundry (really??!) and that if he went home, he'd get to go to church (He could've gone there with my husbands family. They're Mormons too). After a brief conversation, it sunk it: my dad didn't want to come to my wedding. I couldn't be sure if my mom had talked him into coming home, or if he had made the choice. But either way, he decided. I was a wreck for the rest of the night. My poor future inlaws were so confused; my fiancé was very angry. But, I was getting married tomorrow, to the man I loved. And I tried to be happy. And in reality I was.
As happy as the next day was, it was full of "Should be"s. Trying to put my jewelry on by myself; my dad was supposed to be here to help me. Taking my bridal portraits; he was supposed to be here to take pictures with me. Waiting my turn to walk down the stairs; he was supposed to walk me to my husband. Instead I walked down by myself, legs and lip trembling, looking at the door the whole time, waiting for him. Hoping for him. Then I took my fiances hand, and I was home. Until that night when, instead of dancing with my dad, I danced with my father in law. I love the man dearly, and he did what he thought was a simple thing. But it was a very big thing to me. It helped me keep the sadness out of my heart. It was a wonderful day. We said our "I do"s, ate cake and opened gifts, and spent time with my new family. And I was REALLY happy.
A few days later, while we were on vacation with his extended family, I called my parents for the first time after the wedding. My mothers first comment was how nice my inlaws house was, and that it must be nice to have that kind of money. My inlaws are far from rich, but they are comfortable, and my family lives in poverty. The last little hope I had that I could have a good relationship with my parents, was gone. No warm welcomes, no joy. Just judgement. Then I called my dad. And he acted like nothing had happened. Like he hadn't just missed my wedding. No apologies, nothing. That tiny little part of me, that was still a 'daddy's girl', died right there. I knew then that I had idolized my father, and that had never been or would ever be the father I needed him to be. Not anymore.
Leaving the church was one of the best, hardest decisions of my life, and I would never go back. But I hate what it has taken from me. What it has let my family take from me.