difficult child Dad Encounter coming up - mixed feelings....

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Mikey, May 18, 2007.

  1. Mikey

    Mikey Psycho Gorilla Dad

    In a couple of weeks, I'm going to a family wedding, and will see my Dad for the first time in about 12 years. Oh, we've talked on the phone, and even exchanged a couple of letters. But we've never been close.

    Dad was never "Daddy", i.e. someone who lived at home. My parents separated when I was two, and divorced when I was six. Dad was someone who came to visit (or whom I visited) once or twice a year.

    Without going into lots of details, my Dad was a major difficult child. He was also a brilliant ER doctor, a Navy SEAL, and Navy doctor for nuclear subs. What he WASN'T was a good father. Not to me, and not to the kids of his second family. He was always the one who wouldn't call me or my brother for months (when we were in grade school), and when we finally called him would say "I'm glad to see your broken hand has healed enough to dial a phone..."

    When we were both finally adults, and I was in college, we found a way to have a relationship. But it was never a real Father/Son thing. There was something there, but not what I had with my own sons. And eventually, he went back to being the center of his world, and everyone else had to walk up his mountain to be a part of his life.

    We drifted apart again, and not even the birth of three grandkids could soften him. It wasn't intentional - he was just a typical, Type-A Italian Male difficult child. I tried for several years, but it was pretty much all on me to keep the relationship alive. I did what I could, but as the kids got older I had less time to give to my "adult kid" of a father.

    Then, about 4 years ago, he had a stroke. And everything changed. It wasn't until he was permanantly damaged by the stroke that he finally realized what he'd thrown away. I've tried in recent years to reconnect with him, for his health if nothing else. But after the stroke, he's not "there" very much any more.

    Anyway, I got a call from his partner saying they were going to his hometown for a wedding, and could fly I down as well, as a surprise for him? Of course I could. But I'm very, very nervous.

    I don't know what it'll be like. When I was young, he was bigger than life (if unavailable most of the time). As a young adult, he was a friend that gradually drifted away. As a father, he was not the wise, supportive Dad I needed, or the grandpa that my kids needed. Now, he needs me to play the part of a doting, loving son so he has some reason to go on living.

    I do love him, I guess. But it's going to be hard. I already have one difficult child banging at my shields from below, and now I'm about to jump into a situation where my Dad will be needing me as well. I don't know if I can do both very well, but this might be the last time I see him alive. I can't let this chance go by to at least make on last attempt to connect with what's left of his spirit.

    Wish me luck, and keep me in your prayers. I'll need it to get through that encounter while still having to try and keep my younger pothead son alive and out of jail from long distance.

    Speaking of the Sir Pots-a-lot, he decided he's going to an all-day rock concert while I'm gone, regardless of whether we want him to or not. Good bands, but even better drugs from what I understand. Come to think of it, please keep my beloved, dear wife in your prayers as well. She'll need them while I'm gone, and she has to deal with him by herself.

  2. flutterbee

    flutterbee Guest

    Good thoughts going out to you and wife.

    I understand completely what you are going through with your dad. I have a similar relationship with mine. When I had my heart attack he reappeared and I was just telling a friend last night that it's stirred everything up again. I had everything nice and compartmentalized. Now it's not so nice and tidy and I have to reevaluate.

    My best advice is to just take things as they come and without expectations. Just enjoy the reunion for what it is.
  3. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member


    Im sorry about the relationship you had or didnt have with your father. I think it would be the best thing for you and him...but mainly for YOU...to do what you feel is the best thing you can live with yourself doing. What can you look yourself in the mirror in the morning and feel good about? Dont do something for him but for you.

    Im betting because of the way you come across on this board that you are a really caring man and that it will do you good to see your father again. He isnt the same person he once was. Whether or not he made huge mistakes in his past doesnt mean he didnt love you in his own way. Im sure he did. Maybe he simply didnt know how to show you. See him to make yourself feel better and know you did the right thing.

    Sorry this is hitting you right now.
  4. SunnyFlorida

    SunnyFlorida Active Member

    If for nothing more that you went, you did, it's done. You can leave with a full heart knowing that you did everything possible. That may not add up to a whole hill of beans, but..in the end you may feel some comfort.

    Sending you some cyber support.
  5. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful


    You might want to try to look at it this way, some people just plain don't know how to be a parent. I mean seriously, they haven't a clue.

    I have a bio dad like that. He's a pretty decent guy all in all. Except that he just didn't have a clue when it came to parenting. I think I saw him 2 or 3 times growing up. (my Mom and he split before I was born) There simply was no relationship. My Mom made it difficult, but he could have tried a bit harder. With his 2nd family he did do a little better but not much.

    I will say once when I needed him most he actually stunned me and was there for me and my kids. Once. But during that time I came to realize that he wasn't a horrible person simply because he s u c k ed at being a dad.

    Do I have a relationship with him now? Um, I dunno. I saw him last about 10 yrs ago, and have spoken with him on the phone a few times. Regardless, my kids think he's terrific. lol Because I won't let them think otherwise. Although now that they're older they understand about the no clue on parenting thing. I get my updates on my dad from other family members mostly.

    It 's easier for me to accept my bio dad for the man he is, other than the man I might have wanted him to be. My dad loves his kids, his way.
  6. Stella Johnson

    Stella Johnson Active Member

    Your relationship with your dad sounds alot like me and my father. I see him on holidays. He doesn't make any effort to come see me, I make no effort to see him. Then he whines and gripes to the other family members that I don't ever call or drive down there. He is 3 hours away from me.

    I guess the only real reason I still talk to him at all is that I am afraid I will regret it later if he dies an I don't. Mostly a guilt thing. Not real loyalty of any kind.

    I know how you feel. I will keep all of you in our prayers. I know how tough it is.

  7. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I'm sending cyber support your way for sure. Although I may be
    entirely wrong, I think it is possible that you may benefit from
    this contact. Your posts sound so much like you have dedicated
    yourself to being the kind of Dad for your kids that you never
    had as a child. Those of us who aim for perfection in our own
    parenting often have the hardest time facing that we have a difficult child
    kid........especially a druggie difficult child. This visit may demonstrate
    that a fine caring son resulted from an emotionally distance
    gene donor which proves the complexity that a fully committed
    parent can easily end up with an imperfect offspring.

    Good luck. DDD
  8. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Will be thinking good thoughts for you while you visit your dad and for your wife while she is at home dealing with difficult child. Hugs.