May 25, 2010

Letter To My Dad

Dear Dad,

Here is the response I'd like to send you, but won't because it won't do any good. So the Internet gets it! Ha. Oh isn't family fun?

Yes you heard me wrong. I did say you should find someone else, someone that would make you even happier because she would be liked by those who love you, and yes, I did call her a "butterface" (which, by the way, you laughed at and agreed to). But, and listen up because this is a BIG but, in no way, shape or form in any language on any planet in the whole universe did I say or intend or imply that you should find someone prettier. On the contrary, dear dad, I said you should find someone who isn't maybe so perfect by society standards, maybe someone with a beautiful face but who physically matches you (what, you think you take such good care of your body that you deserve someone who weighs 90 pounds?). In fact, I said that maybe you're overlooking some wonderful women who would be more welcomed into your family because they had an extra pound or two from kids. But no, you have such high physical standards that personality and compatibility and being liked by your family are a far second, third and fourth. You said if you loved someone enough you'd spend the rest of your life living in complete isolation from the world. You think that's romantic but it's just stupid. But if you want to isolate yourself from your friends, relatives and kids for the sake of the latest "love of your life", then I wish you happiness. Actually that's a lie... I'd sit back and wait for you to realize how silly you are and then smugly say (to myself) "I told you so."

And actually, I did give her a chance. When I first met her and I heard all the good (/indifferent) reviews my sisters gave her, and she tried taking me for a pedicure and seemed very into you, she earned points. And it was cool that she was accepting of my sister needing help and a place with family to stay. But when my sister called me to ask for some help because your girlfriend was making a fast job of running her life (I read "the contract" and am not just taking sides without reason) I had to speak up. And then when your daughters tell you, to your face and in front of me, that you don't listen to them and you respond with, "I'll listen but don't expect anything to change," how can you expect us to see it any differently than you being a lazy, pussy whipped man looking for any way out of responsibility? You're right that I didn't know her very well, except for what my sisters told me, but when they both tell me the same thing, and that thing is something very typical of you, why would I not believe them? Would you believe them if they said I adopted another cat/rat/dog? It's something I've done in the past. They told me your girlfriend was trying to act like their mom and you weren't listening. You said they never approached you with their concerns, but did they and maybe you just didn't listen? So yes, I believed them.

I didn't break your heart, dad. You didn't even listen to me, didn't care enough about my opinion or the opinions of my sisters to listen. It was like you made a ransom note using choice words I did say in order to create something so completely different, and held it up to me as proof. There's no arguing with that, I'm afraid. You will see what you want for as long as you want, and we'll just have to wait it out. You won't believe me, but I'm not resentful that you have a girlfriend. You will believe until the day you die that all us kids want is for you and mom to get back together so we can be one happy family, but it just doesn't work that way (despite what your own parents did). You're projecting your feelings on us- you wish mom didn't leave you, maybe you even regret not trying harder to stop her (or trying at all), and we certainly wish divorce wasn't the ugly beast it was, but all the wishing in the world won't change a thing. What we do resent, however, is the person you become when someone tells you they love you. You lose a part of you, and you certainly lose a big part of us.

You think we just don't want you to be happy, that as long as you're miserable and alone and bored we'll be happy. You know why you think this? Because we're different when you're single, because you're different when you're single. You have time for us. You call me. You take an interest. You tell us you're proud of us. But as soon as someone else comes into you're life you almost seem to forget you have kids; it's like you regret that you have a minor living with you, cramping your style, regret that we don't all live farther away so we only see you for holidays when everyone is happy and smiling. You didn't want kids, you didn't want a divorce, but you didn't stop either one from happening (in fact, I'm pretty sure you took an active role in both acts). Don't blame us for that.

This is not new and uncomfortable for us, I promise. You going from a beer drinking, gluten eating, full-blooded Italian-American man to a gluten-free, nothing-but-Coors, organic yogurt boyfriend is what unnerves us. Remember with Sue you drank martinis and went to nice dinners? Remember with the dog trainer you were going to sign Boo up for obedience classes? Remember with your cousin (or whatever she was) that you wanted family around for Easter? You change so much with each new "woman in your life." That's what's hard for us to keep up with. You should figure out who you are before you decide a woman is "the one." I can't believe I, at 24, am telling my 50-something dad this- you were married for more than 20 years; it's time for a reevaluation. Find someone who suits you as a person, not only someone who has a skinny frame and wants a happy family. On your online dating profile (come on, I know you still have it) un-click the button that says "looks are extremely important to me." You'll probably find women who would not only make you very happy but make us happy too. Wouldn't that be better?

This is not about Cheri, dad. It's about you. Find your backbone. Find out what it means to be a dad. Admit your mistakes, including allowing Cheri to try controlling your daughter's life. We appreciate what she's been through, but quiet support would go miles farther than a fucking contract. And you know it.

So, since this is my response to your e-mail, and you won't read this, I guess we won't have much to talk about for a while. That does make me sad, but you forget I did this already, and you don't even know why. I'll wait for this to blow over, because I'm sure it will sooner or later.



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