First, Sunday was Father’s Day, and I haven’t sent my dad’s card out yet. I have it, I have stamps for postage, I just keep forgetting to put it in the mail. Whatever that card says kind of pales in comparison to who my dad actually is, but it’s always the thought that counts right?
Second, speaking of counting, I was in Montana for about 85 hours (give or take a few), and I was hoping to come back with awesome stories and happy photos to share. I definitely do have stories, but they are not awesome, and if anything, that trip served to remind me why I am who I am when it comes to family. To better explain, my family tree goes something like this:
My dad has two children, myself and my younger brother Jordan. Jordan’s mom is Molly, my amazing stepmom. They live in Tennessee, and are not connected with the other side of my family, nor the trip to Montana.
My mother has four children, my older sister Rebecca, myself, and my two younger siblings Dominic and Elizabeth. We all have different fathers, and therefore different extended families. Elizabeth was the sister getting married in Montana, and Becca and I rode over there together.
I am the closest with my older sister Becca and my youngest brother Jordan, mainly because they know me the best and we’ve spent more time together. I wasn’t raised by my mother, and I only saw her a handful of times growing up, a fact which used to bother me but doesn’t anymore. The downside to this though, is that I didn’t really get to know my two middle siblings. I think they wanted to know me, but I also think it was just too hard because we grew up so differently, with different accounts of the past and different visions for the future. And now, I am not sure at what point I should draw the line and let those relationships be what they are.
I didn’t have a good time in Montana, I am just going to come right out and say it. I know both of my sisters read this blog occasionally, but for the sake of honesty, I need to get that out. Ninety percent of my trip was everything I dislike: rudeness, drama, yelling, bitching about nothing. I came home emotionally exhausted, and didn’t even go to Gig Harbor with Jeremy for Father’s Day family dinner because I couldn’t stomach the thought of ‘family time’ anymore. Witnessing behavior during my vacation where people spoke to one another like they were pieces of shit, I will never ever understand that, and I don’t ever want to. I felt like I was making peace with that side of my family over the past few months, felt like we had all reached an understanding and appreciation of each other. It really hurt to realize that nothing had really changed, especially my tolerance for it.
My younger sister got married, which was awesome for her and her new husband. I got to meet her babies, which was even better. That is where the good ends though, and I hate that I feel upset and unappreciated for all I paid for and purchased to make that time special. I get that people shouldn’t do things so other people will say ‘thank you’, but you know what? I was raised better then that. I was raised to appreciate, appreciate, appreciate what other people do for you, no matter how “insignificant” it might seem. I hate that my older sister was treated the way she was, I hate that I got so angry I cried because it was all I could do. I don’t yell anymore, I don’t scream my anger or say hateful things to people. Why? Because people don’t deserve to be treated like shit, no matter how justified I might feel, people don’t deserve to be screamed at.
If anything, Montana made me appreciate the life I have created for myself. The one where all the people in it are there because I want them to be, not because I feel obligated to have them around. I am utterly thankful that my dad raised me the way he did, because I am proud, unafraid, independent, and try everyday to be a nice person. My silblings can be angry at me all they want, for standing up for myself and not allowing people to treat me poorly, and they can even resent me for choosing to remove myself from their chaos and crappy behavior. But you know what? Life is too amazing and precious to treat those around us badly, and I want to surround myself with good. “Being family” doesn’t give you a free pass to say the first nasty thing that comes to your mind, to not say ‘please & thank you’, and to generally treat people like they’re nothing. That is not any family I would ever want to be a part of, ever.
Luckily, life goes on and I am back home in the city I love. Happy (late) Father’s Day to my dad, who I love and miss all the time. We didn’t always like each other when I was younger, but as an adult, you have brought so much love and happiness into my life. Thank you for creating a family unit I am proud to call my own.
Thank you for being that amazing daughter that you are. You are correct in that there were many times we didn’t see eye to eye, and I can certainly admit I should have handles being a father much differently, for your sake, your brothers and your Mom’s. Life continues to be a learning process for each of us as we grow. I can only hope that I continue to evolve as a man, a husband and a father to all three of you. You remain the most important parts of my life. Thank you for calling me when you were down and having difficulty with the situation. You know that I would have done anything to make you happy and to make the time better. Father loves you so very much and you will always be my little girl.