The fourth in a series of posts on my dad, growing up with (and without) him, and our eventual reconciliation (one of many).
Just prior to our 30th birthday – an epic weekend we had been planning (my sisters and I) for months, since a) we love birthdays (especially our own! Everyone teases us that it becomes a birthday weekend, but shouldn’t it? There are three of us celebrating!) and b) it was our 30th! That’s a huge milestone, no? My dad had been planning a big dinner out in Boston with my sisters, my mom (side note – my mom and dad have since come to a better place, where they are civil and can be in the same room together, so this wasn’t a huge thing, but it did mean a lot to us that both were planning this) and my dad, prior to an epic bar crawl planned the next day.
An argument ensued. Of which I was no part of, but my sisters were. And the argument itself has not much bearing, to be honest, to the outcome of it. My sisters banded together and refused to speak to him, as he had said some of the most hurtful, painful words to my sisters, and words that should never, ever, ever be uttered from father to daughter. I couldn’t even read some of the emails or listen to the voicemails (cue not letting myself get hurt…), but what did hurt me was how much it hurt both of them.
And it made me angry because somehow I got lumped into this fight, and he didn’t speak to me either (not that I truly wanted him to…).
My divorce date passed. No call from him.
My house closing passed, no call from him.
My move date came and went, no call from him (and he had agreed to help me move to, for the record, so he knew the date…yet another broken promise).
That hurt. It felt like a slap in the face, as we’d all gotten closer to him in the last year, had let him into our lives. He was extremely supportive of my divorce, he had the defensive papa bear hat on, and was upset that Pete had ‘done this’ to me, and I appreciated it. I let him in, and I hadn’t truly done that before.
And then this.
Needless to say, our birthday celebration with dad was off. We hadn’t spoken to him for two weeks leading up to our birthday in October, and were not expecting to speak to him on our birthdays. My sisters and I were together, celebrating our birthday together, when first Jess’s cell phone rang. Dad. She didn’t answer. Then Jen’s cell phone rang. Dad. She didn’t answer. And finally, my cell phone rang. I didn’t answer.
We listened to the voicemails. He had called us at exactly our birth date and time….8:02, 8:04 and 8:06 pm. He wished us happy birthdays. I could tell he was sad, almost broken, and he may have been crying. He was at least probably drinking.
We didn’t call him back.
None of us.
The words he’d said, and the pain he’d caused was what stopped us. He hadn’t apologized. He hadn’t even tried. A phone call on our birthday wasn’t enough. We needed more.
He called us at Christmas. And on New Year’s. We didn’t answer, nor call back for the very same reason. It wasn’t enough.
Finally, this spring (2010), he reached out. He called Jen and said he was wrong, he said some very bad things, he made the biggest mistake of his life and he wanted to make it up to us. He cried.
He never cries.
And least of all, he never apologies. Ever. EVER.
So we agreed to meet at his house. Just us. No girlfriend (his), no husbands (Jess or Jen’s). Just us.
To be continued…