So, as you know, my dad is visiting. Well, I say visiting, but I’ve seen him twice since he arrived about two weeks ago. I know he’s not here to see us – we’re incidental. He’s here to see his sister (my aunt). I don’t begrudge him that. It’s not like he’d ever come here just to see us, anyway. 

It was his birthday on Wednesday. I finished work at about 8pm (yep, another 11-hour day) and rang to wish him on my way home. He was having supper at one of my cousin’s (the one whose husband smashed a jug over her head some months back). I was trying to organise our meeting the following day, so he could come and see Rosie’s Christmas play as he’d promised. When we’d made the plan, I’d suggested he stay the night at my place so we could explore this side of London a bit more.

“Well, I have to be back here at 5pm,” he said. “We’re going out for supper.” He didn’t mean 5pm the next day. Given that he is 1.5 hours away, and given that Rosie’s play was in the afternoon, I suggested he not bother. “No, no, I’ll come.”

So, I stopped at the shops on the way home to buy some ingredients for a gluten and dairy-free cake, since he and I share the same allergies. I got on the tube, hoping to get home within an hour, but someone had had enough of life somewhere further up my branch of the tube resulting in delays (due to a person under a train as the euphemism here goes).

When I got home it was almost 10. I baked a lemon and poppyseed loaf and hit the sack at about midnight. The next morning, my dad rang. “My head was turning when I got up,” he said. In other words, he wasn’t coming. I’m sure he needed his rest so he could go out that evening… for that all-important dinner.

And that was that. He said he’d ring me that evening, but he didn’t. I haven’t heard from him since. I’d suggested we meet tomorrow, but I don’t expect that to happen. So, I suppose the last time I will see him before he goes back to Canada is Monday – if he bothers to show up. Which would make it three times that I’ve seen him during his three-week holiday in London.

Annual quota

Put into perspective, that’s not too bad, I suppose. After all, I usually only speak to him about three times a year, if that. So, we’ve achieved our annual quota within a month – just in time for the end of the year.

I don’t know what it is about my dad that brings out the snivelling teenager in me. I should be grateful to him, really. He taught me some valuable lessons in life. Like: never trust a man, and don’t depend on anyone but yourself, and keep your expectations low, and it will usually end in disappointment (which is really the same as the one before it).

I applied these lessons to my own life and look where it got me. Married to and then separated from an alcoholic. Oh yes, I have much to be thankful for. He prepared me for the difficult road ahead and made sure I knew exactly how to survive the trauma. If nothing else, he taught me resilience.
Thanks, Dad.


2 thoughts on “Regression

  1. I am sorry that this turned out the way it did. You can feel the disappointment in this writing, even though you do your best to brush it off. I feel bad for you and Rosie. Clearly your father has other things going on, internally as well as externally. Then again, I don’t know the story, so it’s just an opinion gleemed off a single post, so I apologize for any jumping to conclusions. We’d like to think that our parents also teach us positive things, but I know that is not the case in a all households. Sometimes we learn from people in how *not* to do things. Not quite the same, but still holds water.

    I can’t take back the things I did (or didn’t do) as an active alcoholic – being an unpresent husband and father. But I know that today I can do the best that I can. I can hopefully turn the tide and have a family that is proud of me and not dwelling on old hurts that I caused. As do I.

    I am sorry that you are not closer to your dad in many ways. Hopefully that will change, especially for Rosie.


  2. The only thing that works for me regarding other people’s behavior is absolute acceptance. Acceptance of who and what they are and that fact that I can make choices about my own life, but I have no business judging or being in anyone else’s.
    It took me a long time to also realize that the things of the past that do not serve me anymore, I am free to let them go. Why hang on to old resentments? They do nothing for us except give us an excuse not to move on. 😉
    The only thing I would do differently is next time, I would not go to all that trouble to make a gluten free cake. Buy an easier snack, and make a back up plan if he doesn’t show (hot bath and early bedtime?). That way, no chance for a resentment.
    Blessings to you and Rosie for a joyous holiday!
    Love ya, Joanne

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