My dad has never taken the time to read my blog, so I don't expect him to read this. And if he did, I doubt it could make things any worse. I believe my dad is beyond listening to me and all my siblings, no matter how kind or heartfelt the words may be. He doesn't want to see our point of view; he truly believes we are hateful, unrighteous people. Yeah, I can be a little irreverent, but it's very clear to me that I have much more love in my heart for him than he does for me these days. I'm not angry at my dad. I've realized that I'm not even angry at my stepmom anymore. She hasn't changed or apologized, but I'm done holding grudges. I'd rather forgive and just live my life.
I wrote an email to my dad the other day because he wanted to have a family meeting to tell us how terrible we've all been and how we need to repent or be damned. Here's most of my email:
"Unless you and Nancy can show some degree of humility and admit that you haven't been perfect either, nothing is going to change. I love you very much and I have always been 100% willing to accept and love Nancy if she could accept me too. But so far, she avoids every important family event, shows no interest in my life or my children, and has never sought out a meaningful relationship with me."
All my dad said when he wrote back is that the meeting was canceled. That was probably for the best, considering that it would have been yet another lecture about how we need to apologize for everything we've ever said or done so Nancy can forgive us.
I can't tell you how many times we've tried to apologize. I called Nancy "Mom" for a few years because that's one of the requirements it takes to be on her good side, despite how wrong it felt to me. I told her I loved her once and she didn't respond to me. On my wedding day, I asked her to help with two things: she deliberately failed me on both. The truth is, she has no love for me--maybe no love for anyone in my family. She can't stand us so intensely that she won't come to an event now if my dad's children are going to be there. We've been wanting to love her since she came into our lives, but the things she needs us to do to deserve her love are higher than any mortal can possibly attain. Unfortunately, I don't feel much love for her, but I hope that one day I can. Right now, neutrality and the lack of anger and bitterness is the best I can do. Last time I saw Nancy, at my grandma's funeral, I even felt warm feelings towards her--a step further than neutral.
I think Nancy must be boiling inside with anger. Why else would it be bad enough to refuse to attend Jamie's wedding? Why else would she tell the youngest two children she raised from the ages of six and eight to leave her house and never come back? Why else would she not care about my life and cute babies? (Seriously. She's missing out.)
I know I can't change their point of view. I only have control over my own actions, so I will choose to get over any harsh feelings towards them. I'll always love my dad, no matter what. I pity Nancy. I feel terribly sorry for her when I think of all the bitterness she feels inside. I'll keep trying to love her. I've decided forgiveness doesn't require receiving an apology. Loving doesn't require being loved back. Only I am in control of how I feel. I know my happiness is independent of outside circumstances and other people. I just wish my dad and Nancy understood this. Instead, they move from house to house, city to city, grasping for happiness. They can't understand why it always eludes them or why things never feel right in their lives. I pity them both. You have to pity someone who doesn't know how to be happy or find good in the world. I can't imagine anything lonelier.
Dad, if you choose to associate with us again, I'll be glad to see you. You'll always be welcome in my heart. Ivy loves you, and you would be a wonderful grandpa if you chose to be.
Nancy, if you can learn to love the children you raised and see past my flaws, I'll be waiting with open arms. I hope to love you one day, and I'll keep trying, whether you want me to or not.
|Me and my dad in the good ol' days|