Thursday, November 05, 2009

Whooooo Are You? Who? Who?

The young boy jumped out of the tree he was climbing. He walked past the small crowd of people who were huddled under the awning. They were trying to stay dry from the rain as they smoked their cigarettes.

"Hi!" He heard the man say.

"Hi!" He answered back.

"What's your name?"

"It's W."

"Well, how are you, W.?" He smiled at the boy.

"Good."

"Who's your mom?" The man questioned.

"Um....your daughter."

Yup, that my friends, was a scene from my nephew's birthday party a few weeks ago. I did not know that my father was going to be attending.

Actually, no one did.

The invitation was extended, by my brother, after a few failed attempts to visit with my father. My father was NEVER good at keeping promises. So, really, who would have thought that he'd show up for his grandson's first birthday.

SURPRISE!

I haven't seen him in quite a few years. Probably since my daughter was born and he graced us with his presence at the hospital. He stayed his usual eight to ten minutes. And that was that.

When I heard he had called and was on his way, a knot in my stomach tightened. He came in and I saw how old he had gotten. I could see the alcohol had finally caught up with him. He's only 67 years old, but the years of self abuse were apparent.

He smiled and spoke in his loud, "Is everyone looking at me" voice. He was still as pompous as ever. I think I rolled my eyes.

My children were all around me and I whispered in each of their ears, "That is your Grandfather Jim." I hated using the word Grandfather. As far as I'm concerned, their Grandfather is, sadly, in heaven. My father-in-law, who loved them dearly, is the only man my children should call Grandpa.

For about an hour, while joined in conversations, of which we were both included, he never spoke directly to me or to my children.

I began to fume. I texted back and forth with Mr. Schmitty, who was at work. I told him that the FUCKER couldn't even acknowledge us!

Then I heard the howling laughter from my brother. He proceeded to tell me the story of my son and my father out by the tree. My father had no idea who I was. He did not recognize me. WTF?!!

My dad came inside and was laughing and trying to hug me, which I guess was his way of apologizing for his screw up. My body, as usual, reacted to his touch by cringing and pulling away. I smiled a half smile and moved on to another topic.

Such was the way of our family. Ignore the dysfunction and sweep it under the carpet.

My brother and I shared a laugh later on that night as we recounted the colossal brain fart my father had exhibited. We always could bond over funny, ridiculous dad stories. I think it was our way of coping and dealing with our shit childhoods.

This one, without a doubt, would be going down in the books.

Laughter....I guess it IS the best medicine for a very, VERY sad situation.

10 comments:

♥georgie♥ said...

Omgosh I just dont know what to say wow...I see why you fumed!

Stacie's Madness said...

wow.
i mean, really. wow.

Julia said...

wow is right. when my father in law came (uninvited) to grandparent day for my first grader, I had to introduce them. they'd never met even though we lived one mile apart. it was awkward because my son kept saying, he's NOT my grandpa, THAT's my grandpa (my dad, who was also there).

Leslie said...

My girls don't call my father-in-law grandpa. Lucy's never even met him and Julia doesn't ever remember meeting him. He doesn't deserve the title.

I'm just so sorry this happened to you. I'm not sure there is anything I could say that might make it feel better except that I'm fuming with you. You deserve better than that.

The Fritz Facts said...

It's sad, but also makes you realize how much better it is that you aren't around him. I am thinking of you, sending you my love. It is hard when family is not really family.

Baloney said...

Dang. I have no idea what to say.

Laura said...

OH my...my heart goes out to you and your family. At least you and your brother could laugh and reamin connected. It is sad how distant and far off base they can be.

You deserve so much more. Your kids deserve so much more. The happiness you ahve created with your hubby and kids - that is what counts in the end.

hugs!

Dawn said...

I'm so glad you have the relationship you do with your brother.

My brother and I make similar jokes. =)

I'm sorry for the hurt you must have felt - yet again.

STILLMAGNOLIA said...

OMG...I am so sorry...I feel your pain...I am experiencing it with my mom....but she has dementia....so even though it hurts...there is a reason.

Christy said...

wow...just wow!!! totally sucks.