The next part of my journey is quite a lengthy few years. At this point in time we introduce a pivotal character, my father. The stories are deep and very emotionally rooted. From a length perspective these are sure to be the longest portions thus far and because of this I am going to break it into parts.
From the getgo my father was a sly cunning fox who could sell ice to the Eskimos. He came from a religious family, his father being an Episcopalian minister. From the stories I’ve heard from both him and other family members his upbringing was a troubled one. By the time he met my mother she was desperate to get out of her own situation and married practically right away. He offered an escape for her and at the first chance she took it. My father was expected to be successful and in his own mind he was destined to be a man to be remembered. My mother worked full time to pay for his college degree at of all schools, Wharton (which is Ivy League level business). Coming out with a business degree he was expected to make millions, be a CFO of a company, anything successful. Instead his own mindset got to him. He quit his new job and decided to be an entrepreneur. From here on out the story fades, not much has been told to me. What exactly happened next is unknown to me.
The pieces I do know were of a troubled marriage spiraling out of control. My father was an alcoholic drug addict with an abusive temper, which wasn’t aided by the fact my mother also had a flaring temper herself. On a number of occasions I listened to stories where my mother had an outburst and was silenced only by the physical abuse of my father. By the time I was 2 years old my father had turned into such a monster that even my mother who knew she would be left out in the cold with a toddler decided to run. The night she knew it had to end was when my father was coming home from a business trip. He was so drugged out that he crashed his car into multiple neighbors parked cars and stumbled on home practically drooling on himself as he went. Seeing all of this happen my mother decided it was time, the unstable nature of my father was now in the public eye with a toddler close by. And the fuzziness begins again, the story falls short and the details are left blank.
If we speed up in time to when I was in kindergarten my end of the story can really fall into place. My entire life my mother and father were fighting each other, both for the approval and award as best parent. My mother being an actual good parent who cared about her child was always there to pick up the pieces. On her own as a single parent she was able to work and take care of me, providing me with the best childhood possible. My father on the other hand who only had me for weekends was trying to boast his fatherly skills. As a young child this consisted of child friendly trips such as the zoo or playground adventures. What I saw of my father was fun time dad, not anything of what he truly was.
The prime example of this was my kindergarten graduation. Since I went to a private kindergarten we had a special ceremony that congratulated us on our little achievements (which is seriously ridiculous). My mother was ecstatic, until my father showed up. I remember graduating, walking and standing for pictures then being given a bag of gummy bears. After that I was in a car being driven away frustrated that I couldn’t open the bag, which I eventually tore open and lost half of my prize. But it wasn’t my mother who was driving, it was a family friend. What was happening to cause this? Apparently a fight broke out between my mother and father which resulted in my father physically assaulting my mother in front of all the other parents and children. The cops were called and charges filed, all while I was being escorted away to hide the true side of my father.
So why after all of this would my mother allow me to see him? Why did the court allow him visitation? The simple answer was the abuse wasn’t affecting me and my mother truly wanted her daughter to have a father in her life no matter how horrible he was. She tried her hardest to make my father something he just wasn’t. No matter how hard he tried at the end of the day he was scum. He had cleaned up his act, got anger management, and by all means looked to be a decent father. Behind the scenes he was constantly fighting over paying child support, always lying to the court, and sabotaging everything my mother had worked for.
It was a tricky situation for anyone to be in, how could a parent tell her child no? How could one parent keep the child from the other? And how do you even start to tell your child the truth?