When I think of my dad, I can’t help but hope that there were good times. I hope he held me lots and picked me up when I cried. It was always just my mom to my right and a space to my left that got smaller and smaller as I grew. I always wonder if the three of us ever sat down and had dinner together. I’ll never forget moving into this house. One of the first things that happened was that we got robbed. The funniest part? My uncle was asleep on the couch in the basement where they broke in from. Oh, and they stole a massive safe box. An extremely heavy empty safe box. My mom always gets annoyed about it because it was expensive. But that’s not why I remember moving it. I remember because I was playing with puzzles my grandpa bought me. They were brand new! And I felt lucky for the first time. My mom, dad, grandpa, and uncles were all around me helping us move in. It was nice. It was home.

There’s a huge gap in my memories after moving in. Many nights I waited to be picked by from the babysitter’s house. All the other kids had gone home already. I was the only one left in the babysitter’s family time. I was an outsider and I didn’t understand it so I didn’t say anything. Nobody was there to listen anyways. By the time mom picked me up, it was late. We went home, she reheat me a meal and then we’d get ready for bed. I slept with her of course. It was lonely in my own room. I didn’t stop sleeping with her until 4th grade because if I could stay in my room alone, I can start staying home alone. Being at home alone was far better than staying at a babysitter’s house with a bunch of other kids and babies. 

So I stayed home. I walked home from school, locked all the doors, turned on the alarm, got comfy, reheated a meal, watched tv, and eventually got my homework finished. 

Where was dad? Dad moved to Vietnam and was living a leisurely life because he invested in a few of his friends’ businesses. He sent money for tuition though. Only ever enough for the tuition. That was easiest. Sending money as some sort of gift. And it technically was right? He’s not on my birth certificate and never had been. 

More years go by and I graduate 8th grade! Dad doesn’t feel like coming because it’s “just 8th grade.” He’ll definitely come to my high school one, so work hard! Thanks dad. Lost touch with him for a while. Turns out he moved back to the States! Who knew? He was busy getting the house ready so didn’t really have time you know? Okay dad. It’s cool. 

*Realization of dad finally being present and the chance for a real relationship* 

I made an effort to see my dad twice a week. It was okay for a while. Summer came and he finally invited me on one of his traveling trips with my stepmom. Oh yeah, I have stepmom. Another scar to open for another day. Anyways the trip was okay. They weren’t used to having me with them and I wasn’t used to traveling with them. It was like they didn’t know what to do and handled me like I was glass. It was uncomfy and I just wanted to go home. I didn’t feel welcome. Even more so when I hurt my dad’s feelings. I said I was homesick and missed my family. His energy shifted (call me crazy but I feel that shit), he wasn’t happy and wouldn’t talk to me. My stepmom talked to me later that one night when we got to my uncle’s house in Virginia, and told me that I really hurt him because they were also family. I felt terrible. So terrible that I cried myself to sleep that night. Isn’t that silly?

I hurt my dad’s feelings because I said I was homesick and missed my family. I thought the distance between us was obvious. Even with the effort I made to visit my dad twice a week, not once did he ever call me to visit me. No surprise, he didn’t do that when I was little either. When we finally got back, it was late but I was glad to at least be at my house. My house… when did it stop feeling like a home? Maybe when my mom’s alcoholic ex moved in the middle of 10th. Or maybe it was when her boyfriend from Cali moved in when I was in 5th grade? It doesn’t really matter when, it was no longer home. Just a house with my mom and her boyfriend that always had a shitty energy about him, I dreaded it too but at least my room was safe. I just had to go to my room and the world would be okay again.

Dad and I barely continued our meaningless father-daughter relationship. I made an effort to have him in my life, but now he knew how I could live my life best. I just had to listen to him. No way in hell was I sitting around to be told I’m stupid and living my life wrong. I put up with it for a while though. What made me completely shut down when it came to my dad, and I mean completely detached myself from him, was when I got injured. After 2 weeks in the hospital, I was finally going home where I could finally sleep. Problem was that mom worked near 12 hour days and I couldn’t go to the bathroom without someone helping me or get my own food.

Dad doesn’t work, hasn’t for almost 20 years. Dad was available. Dad lives less than 5 minutes away. Dad came the first day. Dad spent the day hanging out in the living room, I was in the basement on the ground floor where it was safest to be bedridden (in case of an emergency because I couldn’t use the stairs). Dad helped me go to the bathroom once. Dad decided he was bored and was going to go home to watch his movies. Doesn’t matter that he could do that in the living room. Told me to call if I needed anything though. Dad left and I cried. I was vulnerable. I couldn’t get my own food, I couldn’t go to the bathroom by myself, and once dad left, that also meant no more drinking anything because fuck if I was going to call and ask him for help. He fucking left me. And that was the last time. That second I heard my front door close when he left that I decided it was the last time I would ever give him the chance to leave me again.

I was done.

I always thought that it was never too late you know? You can always right your wrongs or fix what’s broken. It only matters how you move forward from where you are. I still hold firm on that. Except when it comes to my dear ol’ sperm donor. I’m exhausted from putting in so much time and effort only to get shit for it. All I ever wanted was to be accepted by my dad. But he never wanted a child. So why would he accept just because she was born? I hoped he would. I grew up and hoped for it. I was stupid. My usual high energy palpably changes whenever I see my dad, I’m left somber and depressed. I dread seeing him because no matter what happens during that time, even if it’s good, I walk to my car crying. It takes an emotional toll on me just being around him. So bad that without fail after seeing my dad, I need to just go to bed. I told myself that I wasn’t going to let him hurt me anymore and time after time, I hurt. He can’t leave me because he’s no longer welcomed in my heart, but I’ll forever feel the empty space of where he’s supposed to be.

Oh, dad never came to high school graduation. He and stepmom went to California for vacation instead. 🙃