My Father Didn’t Want To See Me

My Father didn’t want to see me. ..

We’re not close.  Last I heard anything directly from him was, ooh … I would say about 2 years ago? Before that, we’ve gone on stints of multiple years without any communication what so ever. … Now, now, no worries, you may think that this will be a Father’s Day Dad Bashing, but bare with me and see.

My Father did 4 tours in Viet-Nam, one of which was to go back there, find me and bring me to the US. I was … still am, a fiercely independent & precocious little shit.  It was something, maybe the only thing I know that he realized about me, & he did very early on. Maybe it was because I told him when I was 5yrs old that once I was 18yrs old I was going to leave and never come back. …  And sure enough I did. … Well, OK I visit, but never to live.

Growing up with my Father was difficult at best. Being in a military family the common perception would be that there were a lot of strict rules & discipline & whatever … Naw, not here. It wasn’t a complete lack of law & order, mind you, but I was basically left to my own devices … I was left to figure it out for myself.  That was the difficult part. He wasn’t there when I needed him. Then again, when I look back on those times, I really didn’t. … Come to think of it, I’d more & likely, refuse any help from him anyway. I’m like that.

He made sure that I was fed & clothed. That I had a roof over my head & knew the basic protocols to be socially functional. Otherwise, he didn’t seem to have much interest, and frankly speaking, I didn’t care. Seriously! I wasn’t bothered at all by his lack of interest. … Rather enjoyed it. Because of an implied & somewhat enforced   behavioral law of “That’s what/how you are suppose to do/feel…”,  I did for awhile “pretend” that it did upset me. I pretended that I needed his attention, his approval. And I am certain that at least one of you out there who may read this is thinking that I’m justifying &/or in denial, or something like that … Am I wrong? … There were occasions that he did take interest if only to tell me how I manipulate people into doing things for me because I was incapable of doing things for myself. …OK, that I am truly upset about, & still am, obviously. That was a really mean thing to say … To anyone.

To be fair, we did have some special times together. When I was  at Carver Elementary  & too sick to go to school, but not sick enough to stay in bed, he’d take me to work with him. We’d have a enormous breakfast of whatever I wanted at Sandy’s Diner. Then I got to roam around the Chitlaw Building &/or Cheyenne Mt.  (NORAD). Afterward we’d go for foot longs at … uh … I don’t remember the name of the place. It was an A frame drive through hotdog joint with a huge flying Underdog on the roof!

According to common social perceptions, I was a “trouble maker”. Nothing sever, just tricky sort of trouble, or in some circles; “coyote trouble”. He never tried to dissuade me, and he never punished me. He showed the same disinterest toward the neighbors, teachers, police, etc… as he did to my arsony when they complained or prosecuted. “Deal with it or send her home” became his daily mantra. I stole his credit card when I was 8yrs old and tried to buy plane tix to Ireland. He just picked me up at the airport and took me home. I pulled off a scam for several months, where I got an allowance from my Mother and one from my Father for doing the same chores … Yeah, they didn’t talk much! … Hehehe … He stopped paying. I took apart his lawnmower and used the engine to build an ultra light like the one in MacGyver. It worked! Flew for about 200m before it crashed! My Father told me to put the engine back in the lawnmower. He ended up buying a new one. …

I don’t know if he knew that I left when I was 14 and was living in a studio apt. on my own for 9 months. I forged his signature …  I don’t know if he knew that I was training at the Olympic Training Center. I don’t know if he knew that I had dropped out of high school, again forged his signatures, got my GED and enrolled in a community college.  I got busted, had to go back to high school … Don’t know if he knew about that either.

I know that I should feel angry, that I should feel hurt, that I should this and should that but I don’t … This will come as a shock to most of you, so take a seat and be prepared to hate me, if you don’t already. Believe me, I’m OK with that … I know that I should also love my Father but I don’t … We just did not have that kind of relationship.

Recently my Father had a stroke. He was paralyzed on his left side. He’s regain mobility since. This is his second stroke after 2 heart attacks that nearly killed him. I guess he was feeling better and decided  that he didn’t need to take his medication, so he collapsed while crossing Austin Bluffs Park Way. Being that I live halfway around the world I couldn’t come see him right away. Lucky enough though I had to be in Colorado on business not long after. I had arranged a day to meet up with my Brother, Nephew, and Mother so we can all go and visit  him. When we were all together my Bother who’s been looking after him told me that he didn’t want to see me, but we can just go down there anyways whether he liked it or not. …

I told my Brother no … If he doesn’t want to see me, I wasn’t going to force myself on him. My Brother looked concerned and tried to smooth it over by saying that he doesn’t, hasn’t wanted to see anybody, not even him. I smiled and said while I giggled; “I know why he doesn’t want to see me, and I’m perfectly OK with it!” …

If there was any doubt by circumstance, or paternal test, all one needs is to talk to both my Father and me to know without question that I am my Father’s child! I am exactly like him! A contemporary female exactly like him, but exactly like him none the less. I don’t just understand, empathize, sympathize, I know. I know my Father’s indifference, concerns, reasons, excuses and whys, because they are my own.

Jon Hamm is the spitting image of my Father in his day. So much so that I find it disturbing at  times to watch “Mad Men”. He was your classic All American Mid-Western boy in Michigan. He played baseball, basket ball, & of course football. Oh, yes, yes, he was the quarter back! He join the Air Force right out of high school so that he could go to college. He volunteered for 4 tours in Viet-Nam, & spear headed & followed through with programs, protocols, & policies that are still considered gospel to this day. He retired as a Senior Master Sargent of the United States Air Force at the age of 38 years old. He took college course when he could between work & family, & still managed, to be on a rowing team, bowling team, & a black belt in Judo. He wrote & published music, & could play the piano & guitar simply by ear…

No, I do not love my Father. No, I don’t see him as my friend. I do, however deeply honour & respect him. I would not be enjoying the life I have if he decided that day in Texas to throw away the letter saying that he had a child back in Ban Goi. For that I will always be grateful.  I’m happy & rather impressed that our relationship is what it is. I am very proud that he is my Father.

Sorry, I’m not home right now…

I miss the old days where sometimes we’re just not available, a time when nobody’s home. Oh, yeah it’s great! The cell phones the internet, emails, IMs, chats, texts, Skype, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, … YouTwitFace, or whatever it was that Conan O’Brien came up with. We’re all connected 24/7. … Hooooraaay …

It’s all well and good until you have that friend that gets upset because you didn’t text back right away or didn’t answer your cell, or something or other of the sort. You’re forced then to make up a big enough  excuse, a big enough reason that would negate any hurt feelings that your friend may possibly have, because telling them that you wanted some alone time lounging in the sun on your balcony drinking mojitos with mint grown in your own garden while listening to the Buena Vista Social Club just isn’t a good enough reason not to answer your cell.

Why do we do this to ourselves and to other people? Why does there have to be some overriding circumstance for us not to answer our cell, text, or the front door for that matter! Why do we expect the worse when there’s a delayed or no response? As if they are conspiring with the evil minions of the 7th ring of Hell to take down your very existence and use it to rip apart the universe as we know it! MY GOODNESS! HOW DARE THEY! … *sigh*… Just because we can, doesn’t mean we have too, in any regard. We all deserve to be unavailable from time to time without the guilt & pressure of being connected.

So if you call me and I don’t answer, you might find me in the 7th ring of Hell. Apparently I have work to do!