The first in a series of posts on my dad, growing up with (and without) him, and our eventual reconciliation (one of many). Here goes…

Over the years, my dad has been in and out of our lives (my sisters and I) for as long as I can remember. My parents had us when my dad was 24 and my mom was 25 and looking back, I can’t imagine having triplets – aka insta family – at that age. Even now, at 30, I can’t quite imagine being a mother, and while that’s a post for another day, it lends some context to some of these posts on my father.

My dad is a full-blooded Italian, which comes with hot-bloodedness, stubbornness and quite honestly, some anger issues (not to say all Italians are this way, or to pigeonhole at all, because clearly I’d be insulting myself and half of my family!) as well. I don’t know that he was quite ready to have a family at his age, either, which I think lent to some of his actions as we grew up.

He was in our lives, as a father, until we were 4 or 5, and then things got hairy (from what I recall as a child that age, and from what I have been told, growing up). My parents fought quite a bit, and by the age of 9 or 10, they had divorced.

To back up a bit, my sister Jen had the closest relationship with my father among the three of us. She was daddy’s girl and in a way, I think Jess and I took that to heart and tended to pull away from him, and more towards our mom. My dad definitely favored Jen whenever we had arguments, and bottom line, I think she was just the apple of his eye, which I don’t say in a bad way at all, because they truly had a special relationship. My sister Jess and I, on the other hand, were attached to my mom’s hip, and there began somewhat of a separation between the three of us (that we’ve since rectified and now have the closest sisterhood I could ever hope for).

As we grew up, with our dad in and out of our lives throughout our childhood, it was easier and less painful for me to not become too attached to him, to not feel the love and adoration I had for my mom, for my dad. Because he would leave and not come back, sometimes for days, sometimes longer. And as a child, that’s really hard to deal with. It’s funny (not ha-ha funny) that as I write this, I struggle to recall some of the turn of events that led to my parents divorce….except for one particular instance that I will post on tomorrow, likely in a protected post (just leave a comment with your email address and I’ll share it with you).

But what I do remember most distinctly, beyond that, is it was less painful to just ‘like’ my dad than to ‘love’ him, and to this day, I feel that way towards my father, for fear of being hurt, and protectively as well, as I know how many times he’s let down my sister Jen or my family, in general. In a way, it’s sad to have a father that you don’t allow yourself to love, but on the other hand, it’s afforded me the ability to maintain a good friendship with him now, which is, in my opinion, the best possible outcome.