I'm too old/wise for this crap...
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|Mon, 04-28-2003 - 3:56pm|
A long time ago, I resigned myself the to the FACT that my father cares more for himself than he does for his family - BTW, in case you didn't know, that's a sure sign of a really bad parent. Anyway, I learned to live with that and I learned how to have a relationship (I use that word lightly) with my father that I could live with - I maintain just the right amount of distance so I can keep in touch without getting hurt - very tricky!
He met a woman about half his age five years ago and last year they got married (you may have heard that hell froze over last November? He should never have gotten married the first time!) Because this woman does not get along with 2 of my siblings, NONE of us were invited to the wedding. I had mixed feelings about that - on one hand I thought "whew! no gift to buy, no fake smiling for a whole evening, no choking back exclamations of sorrow at how some people trivialize the sanctity of marriage!" On the other hand it was really embarrassing for me for my in-laws and others to find out my father was getting married and didn't even invite his own children to the wedding. It's amazing that the older I get, the more I am ashamed and embarrassed at how poorly my father has behaved. I used to blame myself for him not participating in my life - now I see he just has no idea what the hell it means to be a parent or a member of a family. It's really sad.
As for the new wife, I've been nothing but nice to her... to her face ;-) And dammit, I think that's all that should be required considering she has done plenty to destroy any possibility of us having a relationship with her. She made it CRYSTAL clear from the beginning that she wanted nothing to do with us and intended to put as much distance between my father and his children as she could. She considers herself in competition with us - little does she know, there was never a reason for her to worry as he has never put his childrens' interests/feelings before his own wants. She won the race without ever having to leave the starting line.
So anyway, back to the gripe at hand: with the latest health development in his life, there's a good possibility I could get sucked back in, closer than I wanna be. I mean, there's a life at stake, right? Even if he hasn't taken care of himself by drinking and smoking himself into 2 bypass surgeries and now cirrhosis. And then there's the whole stepmonster issue, with her standing by his bedside serving up scotch at 11 in the morning and lighting every cigarette before he can get it out of the pack. I know he's an adult and God knows no one has ever made him do something he didn't want to do but she's no mother therese - I don't care how stereotypical it sounds, she has a vested interest in his declining health and eventual demise. He is not a poor man and that's one of the few good things you can say about him so you tell me what her attraction to him is. Stereotypes don't materialize out of thin air.
So the question is, how much do I invest emotionally in what's going on, if any at all? I think it'd be easier to just turn away, or at least just participate indirectly, through the grapevine as it were. But that makes me a bad person, right? No matter how big of jerk he is, that's no excuse for me to behave badly, right? And besides, I may regret it down the road if I don't at least try to be there for him, right? But does he even want me there? I don't think so but then I can imagine him and the wife telling their friends what a sorry bunch of children we are, never calling or visiting, even at such a serious time. But if I give in and offer myself and get burned now or in the end by my father and especially by that bitch of a stepmother, I am going to feel so stupid, like I have so many times. What to do, what to do...