Last weekend the family and I took a road trip to North Carolina. I wasn’t sure if this was a trip I wanted to take; I hadn’t been there in eleven years. The last time I went it was out of obligation a bit. I had been a year prior to bury my uncle and I was about six month pregnant with my first child. The family was so excited to see me and excited to see that I was going to be a Mom. So I returned a year later with my eleven month old son for a visit.
This is long, but it is raw and you may require a tissue, I’m just saying.
It was strange because my paternal grandmother never seemed to like me. They say babies change things so maybe her change had come. At the age of 25 my grandmother who has known me my entire life told me she loved me for the very first time. *let that sink in a bit* Since that moment my grandmother has been in phone contact with me. I always sent her our Christmas cards and the kid’s school pictures.
I’ve had Daddy issues for the past 36 years. My Dad lived in the same state as me for seven years. I then moved four hours away. Insert more empty promises, and a vicious cycle of I’m coming to visit or get you and not showing up. Children need their Mom & Dad, which is why you need one of each to make a baby. It is by design. Both roles are equally essentials to a child’s life. They give us two different types of love, and we need both to thrive. Except I only had one, she did it all but no matter how hard she tried she could never feel the void of my absent father.
For years I’ve wondered why, why would you not have a role in my life? Why wasn’t I good enough to love? I’m amazing.
Earlier this month my Bloggy Boo Diana Ramsey of Sisters with Beauty released her new book titled the Butterfly Transition. During the launch party, she talked about how this book wasn’t just about transitioning your hair back to its natural state but how such transition is a metaphor for other areas of our life. There is a part of this book that hits home for me. I’m not going to give it away, you can get the book and find out for yourself. What I will say is it was Daddy-related and it totally struck a nerve.
By the time I read this book I had already decided we were going on this road trip. I needed to quiet the questions my daughter had about a grandfather she knew nothing about. God has a funny way of delivering a message… I decided we would go on Saturday, June 18th the day my grandmother would turn 90.
The morning of the trip I woke up with all kinds of anxiety. My family of four along with my mother and sister piled in the car headed to North Carolina. I decided that I was just going to have a good time. I wasn’t going to overthink it; I also wasn’t going to talk to my Dad about said issues. Note: I’ve called him by his first name all of my life. Saying Dad is new for me and still feels a bit uncomfortable, but I’m trying.
We arrived and everyone was thrilled to see us. We caught up on the past eleven years, laughed, joked and ate a lot. We had a great visit, the kids got to meet a side of their family they knew nothing about. It felt good to give them that moment.
The trip was over and now what? I didn’t talk much about it for a couple of days. I needed to process everything. Tuesday afternoon had a great conversation with my big sister. It was just what I needed and she had no idea. She and I have different dad’s but we’ve known each other’s Dad all of our lives. She has more memories with my Dad than I do; she is six years older.
On Tuesday night at 11:20 pm, I would have the breakthrough I needed for the past 36 years and 8 months to the day. I was telling Diana that I loved her book and how it really helped me out. From there I just emotionally dumped on her. No seriously, I let out 36 years of resentment and hurt. I cried so hard my nose was stopped up and I had to breathe out of my mouth and I had a killer headache. Despite all of that I felt like a load had been lifted off my shoulders.
I had to realize hurt people hurt people and I couldn’t continue to punish him for that because I was also punishing myself. I’ve decided to just meet him where he is. He is a loving person just not capable of loving me the way I want to be loved and that is okay. Now I am the child teaching the parent; much like my son did to me recently. Whenever I would see my Dad he always told me he loved me and he was proud of me. I never doubted the love I just didn’t understand why it never moved beyond my immediate presence. I didn’t understand why I had to come to him.
I’m the show no emotion type of girl. The one that always has an answer or a plan but this part of me was broken. My Daddy issues were stopping me from being the best me. Stopping me from getting where I desire to be; I’ve decided to let God put me back together again. Reading Diana’s book gave me permission that I needed to let it go. I didn’t realize how much it had weighed me down. I thank her for being my messenger when she didn’t even know my life needed a word.
I had to let go of my expectations, my Dad is 62 years old and he isn’t about to change who he is. So I’m going to change who I am and meet him where he is. They say our story isn’t for us it is for someone else. Diana’s story was for me and I hope that my story is for someone.