I miss having a father. My mum and biological father split up when I was two. Although we had contact on and off again over the years, we were never close. We lost contact altogether a few years ago.
My mother married my stepfather when I was four. Old enough to know better, yet I always thought he was my ‘dad’.
I took his last name, (though not legally till I was 16), I called him ‘Dad’. He was, and to be honest, still is my ‘Dad’. He was far from perfect, but he was the only father I ever really knew. He had a ferocious temper, and was very strict, but he also had a soft side, and a great sense of humour. We’d often muck around, teasing each other, play fighting. He was my dad, I was his daughter.
When I was 15, Mum and Dad separated, something that had been on the cards for a long time. However Dad and I stayed close. I would still see him, go out for dinner with him, and stay there some weekends. He was my dad. I loved him. I love him.
The divorce between my parents was not particularly amicable. I think Dad was pretty bitter towards my Mum, which sometimes put a strain on our relationship. Dad started dating someone when I was about 20, a woman that already had 2 young sons, 2 young sons who called him ‘dad’ despite having their own father, who they saw on weekends. The distance between us began to widen.
They got married when I was about 23. The man that had always been my father, suddenly began to look like a stranger to me. They never asked me to be in any of the photos. A few people asked me how I knew the ‘happy couple’, and looked shocked when I said that he was my step father. (a term that I had never used, he had always been just my Dad) Something I will never forget, and brings tears to my eyes as I write, is sitting at the table, whilst his best man made a speech about Dad, and his life, and never once mentioned me. It was like I had never existed. I excused myself from the table and went and cried in the toilets. Where had my dad gone?
The distance grew, though was never spoken about. Until I left my husband, about six years ago. My dad had always liked my husband, (they were startlingly similar) and after I rang him, and told him that I had left him, he never spoke to me again. He rang my ex, to see if he was OK. He invited him to Christmas, to his 50th birthday, to other significant events. But never rang me again. I wonder if he thought I was how he perceived my mother to be? Just throwing a ‘good man’ aside? Except my husband was not a good man. Or not a good man to me anyway. Dad never knew the way he treated me, the things he said to me, the life that we lived.
But I think, really, he was just looking for an excuse. An excuse to walk away from me. Because he had been edging away from me for a long time. I rang him, about a year later, and asked him to talk to me. He said No. Said he had nothing to say to me. And hung up. A little while later, I spoke to his mother, my step grandmother. At this time, I was pregnant with the twins. She said she wanted to see me, that she wanted me, and the babies, to be part of the family. I never heard from her again either. I found out later that my dad had proposed a ‘vote’ to the family, about whether they would ‘speak’ to me. Apparently it was ‘outvoted’. It was decided that they would not speak to me again. I know how ridiculous that sounds. Who the hell does that? But, to my knowledge, that’s what happened.
He was my dad for so many years. Despite everything I still see him as my dad. And I can’t understand how he could turn his back on me. He wasn’t like my real father, who walked away before he ever knew me. He knew me. He chose to be my father, and still walked away. Did he always see me as just his stepdaughter? Just the kid of the woman he married? How could I be so disposable?
I miss having a Dad. I don’t know if I miss him, because maybe he never really was my dad? I miss having a person in that role though. I find myself tearing up at stupid things; Dads on reality singing shows being proud of their children, wedding scenes in movies where the fathers give their daughters away, corny sitcoms that have ‘Daddy and daughter’ dances.
I wish I had a Dad. A Dad that was proud of me for getting my life together, for marrying a good kind man, for having a beautiful child. Instead I have two fathers, neither of whom loves me like a daughter, or wants me in their lives.