On October 1, 2011 I went over to my dad's house to gather the few boxes of old books, photo albums and knicknacks from my childhood because the previous three hundred and sixty four days had made it abundantly clear that he wanted to forget he had any ties to me.
I felt the strong urge to tell my dad what I'd been thinking for the last 364 days. I knew it wouldn't help anything but getting it off my chest to the person who's caused me more grief than anyone else would have made me feel better. Instead I said 4 words:
Me: *knock knock*
Him: Come in.
Me: We're good.
Him: *comes to the door and indicates the garage* Your things are in there.
Me: Thank you.
And in about 6 minutes we packed our things and ourselves into my little car and left. He didn't overtly watch us pack up and go, but I hadn't even started my car before he'd closed the garage door. No goodbye.
On the upside, I remembered just how much elephant things I've accumulated since childhood. My sister tore into a garbage bag with all of my old stuffed animals and tossed them to me: "Elephant, elephant, elephant, bear in an elephant costume, Raggedy Ann..." Some things just never change.
I now have some amazingly embarrassing pictures, some treasured pictures of Milo, my high school cap and diploma, and cards and keepsakes from friends. I'd completely forgotten the vast majority of the things I had there, but we had a great time going through them and laughing and remembering being kids. But some things I just don't have room for, and can't justify keeping in an apartment especially with as often as I move, so I'll be keeping only the things I absolutely can't part with.
In the end, I'm very glad to be done with my dad. It's hurt me more than I cared to admit the last 364 days (well, more than that, but at least before then I thought there was a chance), and I'm ready to not be angry anymore. If he wants to believe we have a relationship, that he's doing everything he can to be a dad, there's nothing I can do. If this were anyone other than my dad people would be telling me to stop trying. It's only because he's my dad that it's acceptable to keep beating a dead horse. But I have too much self respect to allow it beyond the 364 days I've already allowed it, and a father shouldn't ever treat his daughter this way. This isn't me taking a stand so much as giving in to the stand he took October 3, 2010. I have to accept the things I cannot change.
And hey, I'm 26 now and I've got a pretty good life going on. And I'll always have elephants.