Let’s blog and roll, ladies and gentlemans!
So I decided I should make an annoucement. Well, not really an announcement so much as an explanation. Or aaaa… dinosaur, I don’t know.
Point is a lot of you have noticed I mentioned Sydney in my posts etc. I figured it wouldn’t be a big deal, I imagine I’d be heading back to Sydney at some point, all my family and friends are over there! But I dunno, you’ve all got weird intuition powers or something, so I’ll just come right out and say it.
I’m moving back to Sydney.
Well, WE are, I should say, given that I’m marrying Tim in a few months. It’s not for a while, at least a year, probably more like 18 months, but it will be a move, not a visit. There are lots of things that have to happen between now and then, not least a wedding! But it’s definitely happening, not just a “ohh, one day” sort of thing.
There are a lot of reasons this is happening. None of them are personal, so nobody get upset. I miss my friends. They’re all growing up and becoming fully fledged adults without me! That’s not to say that I won’t miss everyone here, and I hope you’ll all come to visit. I have wonderful friends here, I know I do, and I’m not, you know, fleeing loneliness or anything. I wish I could have you all in one place, truth be told. It would make everything a lot easier.
But there’s one big reason I’m leaving. It’s my Dad.
I’ve had a rocky relationship with my Dad my whole life. I’ve disliked him a lot of that time, and I’m sure I’ve encouraged that attitude in my friends with my anecdotes. And I’m sure Tim will vouch for my honesty, in a lot of ways my Dad is not a good guy. We’ve had more screaming matches than I can count, I’ve cried innumerable tears, and it’s come to violence more than once.
I should note that I’m not the only one, he doesn’t just have a problem with me. He has six kids, I’m the youngest. I’ve met all of them at one point, but two of them I couldn’t pick out of a line up, they’ve broken all contact with him. One is a bit of a mess, drugs, boyfriends etc. We only see her when she’s passing through, or, dare I say it, needs money. The fourth is paranoid-schizophrenic. He’s lovely, and the closest of his kids, but I think it’s mostly because my Dad feels sorry for him. My brother has had an equally hard time with my Dad, told him he didn’t want him to come to his wedding, said he was never going to speak to him again. So, he had the first four with an ex-wife, whom I’ve never met, and my brother and me with my Mum, who, well. My Dad has crushed her spirit over the last 30-odd years, she’s a bit of a wreck.
That’s a pretty broken family life. This is a man who has no compunctions about cheating, who stayed at a woman’s house in the U.S. for SIX MONTHS. Who brought his American whore to STAY IN OUR HOUSE WITH MY MOTHER.
So far this isn’t sounding like a good reason to move, amirite? It doesn’t. To be perfectly honest I’m not even sure I’m doing the right thing. But it feels right. Let me tell you why.
My Dad is dying. He’s about to turn 74, and he’s recently been diagnosed with Heart Failure. It’s hard to say how long he has, it is very possible to live with Heart Failure. He could kick around for another 10 years. But it’s not likely. He’s slowing down, he’s overweight, and it’s hard for him to change at the best of times. It doesn’t mean there isn’t hope though, he looks pretty good for a septuagenarian, and I like to think that sturdiness can keep him going. But you just never know what’s going to happen.
So then it comes back to me. I look at this man, this poor man who has spent a lifetime pushing his loved ones away. He has lots of friends, mostly of the lady-type, but no-one who really loves him. Particularly not his own children. And I look at my life, blossoming into adulthood. I look at my friends, who love me for who I am, not what I pretend to be. I look at Tim, my soul mate and partner in everything, and know he’s never had that.
I don’t feel pity for him. He’s made his life the way it is, and he would be angry if I pitied him. What I want is to know him. To love him like a father. To understand that I’ve had my part in making him the way he is, to understand that he is not just an ogre and I a princess in a tower, innocent of all wrongdoing.
I want to confront this image of him. I want to confront his image of me. I want to know that, yes, sometimes he is a crotchety old man, and let his barbs wash over me, and not hold them against him. I want him to see my maturity and respect me as an adult in my own right.
I want to love him. I want to know him. And I want him to know, when he dies, that someone cares, and that not everything he made in this world turned its back on him. I will be better than his other children, though their greivances were lesser. I will take everything he throws at me, and I will look him in the eye and tell him that I love him. For all his faults, for all his mistakes, for everything that he is, and isn’t.
He is my Dad. He has spent so long pushing me away, and I’ve been happy to push him right back. But now, in the time I have left, it will be different. It will be better. I will be stronger.
And when that time comes, and he is gone, I will miss him.
So we’re moving back to Sydney. This was all very dramatic of course, but there are the more mundane reasons, like wanting to take some of the pressure off, keeping the garden and pool clean etc, paying off the mortgage, being there to drive him around if he needs it.
But the fact is, my parents are getting older, and they will only need more help as time goes on. And I’m 3500kms away, and my brother is on the other side of the world! Someone has to be there for them and it seems like it’s me!
3 thoughts on “Okay, here’s why!”
That was a great entry! You really did a great job of articulating all the reasons that I know have been swirling around in your head for a while now. Doing the right thing is always hard and I’m glad you’re able to move past the years of, well, abuse at his hands, to be the strong loved one that he needs.
It is completely inappropriate to say “HOORAY I AM GLAD FRIENDS FRIENDS” but, uh…. HOORAY I AM GLAD FRIENDS FRIENDS.
Well written Jess! You show a really mature and honest side of yourself. It takes a great deal of time, love and effort to be such a supporting & loving family member in these times. Instead of running away from your relationship with your father or casting him away (both of which are far easier options); You have accepted the chaos and the imperfection, choosing to make the best of the situation. Ultimately this will allow you to mature into the strong adult women you deserve to be, with no regrets about missed opportunities. Tim and your friends will be there to provide you support; I wish you both the very best!
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