Monday, May 13, 2013

What I Miss

Yesterday's Blog Everyday topic was "What do you miss?" I'm a day late, as I like to enjoy my weekends, but I still wanted to discuss this topic. Are you ready to get personal?

What do I miss? Time with my dad.

One day, soon after my freshman year of college started, my Mom called and told me that she was driving up to my college because she had something to tell me that "wasn't good." She assured me that my family was ok. "Nobody was in an accident or anything."

Three hours later my mom arrived at my dorm and told me that my Dad wanted a divorce. We cried together. I remember my roommate walked in, got an awkward look on her face, and quickly went into the bedroom. I don't remember saying much or asking questions. I didn't know what I was feeling or how this was happening. After 20 years of marriage, a divorce is something I never saw in the cards for my parents.

The next few months are kind of a blur. My family would tell you that I handled the divorce "well" and I think it's because I wasn't around for it. Since I was away at college I didn't witness what my parents went through. I guess I should be thankful for that.

One day, after the divorce was final, I was home from school and my grandma called. I remember her telling me my dad was "sick" for not "getting help" (marriage counseling). I'll never forget that. She called him selfish. She told me I should be mad at him. It was then that I realized my mom's side of the family was angry.  Maybe I was naive in thinking they wouldn't be.

What my angry family didn't see was my dad's suffering. And honestly, I wish I hadn't either. After the divorce my dad had no one. Backs were turned. He had no one to talk to. But me. I can tell you exactly where I was, who I was with, what I was doing, when my dad called me one night when I was at school. He was crying. I can't explain how it felt to hear this. To hear my dad, the strong man in my life, show pain, suffering....instability, vulnerability. It threw my off my feet and I started crying as soon as I hung up the phone. My friends immediately surrounded me in a hug and that was really the first time since my mom initially told me about the divorce that I showed so much emotion.
Since the divorce, I have seen a completely different side of my dad. He is so much more open with me about his feelings than he ever was when he was married to my mom. I know a part of him will always feel guilty for not being around as often after the divorce...not being able to "leave his influence" on me anymore. He is constantly reminding me how important I am to him, that raising me was the best experience of my life.

I've thought about whether or not I blame my dad for his decision. I've thought about whether or not I considered him selfish, as my grandma said. My dad was unhappy in his marriage. Should he have chosen to live unhappily for the rest of his life to make other's happy? He stayed until I was 18. He waited until I went away to school. To make it easier on me. To be there for me until I moved away.

I can't be mad at him for his decision. There is no grudge. But I do miss him.

xo JA


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15 comments:

  1. Thank you for such a personal and honest post :)

    Amy| The Little Koala Blog ♥

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  2. I'm sure this was not easy for you to write but it really was beautiful to read.

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  3. that all sounds so hard. I cannot imagine being in your position. It must have been so hard and so much to deal with at such a young age. And your poor mom! I can see why her family was angry. No one wants to see their loved ones suffering. xoxo

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  4. Thank you for your honesty. It's truly humbling to read. I got so much out of yesterdays conference as well which also lead to getting more personal. I think as bloggers, it's such a release to open up a bit and be vulnerable in our posts.
    Have a beautiful week Julie!
    Kayla
    Love Sparkle Pretty

    P.S. I wish I had been able to get to know you a bit more at the conference. :)

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  5. beautiful, beautiful post. thank you for sharing. <3 i love reading these from you.

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  6. What beautiful words. Your Dad is a strong, selfish man. Staying in an unhappy situation for his child. It is hard. I spent five years in an unhappy marriage because of my kids. It was the worst decision I made. It is so hard to leave, so hard, especially with so many people being hurt. You are a bigger person for not blaming, but seeing both sides.

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  7. Oh Julie this made me tear up. I saw my mom go through a divorce from my biological dad--he visits once a year and he always complained about child support when I was younger. This would make my mom cry, because she was struggling so much as a single mother of two! I saw her struggle, working all the time and trying to take care of me and my sister all by herself--and my Dad never visited or called. He'd send presents on christmas and visit for a few days in summer. He rarely sent money. I used to be really sad about it and sort of mad at my dad for honestly abandoning me when I was small--but I've given this up to God. My mom was a great single parent who loved me with all her heart and tried hard to raise me and my sister right, despite her obstacles! My dad made his own choices--and I'm going to make mine to not hate him or be bothered by him.

    Oh, but I feel your pain. I missed my dad a ton when I was little.

    My mom later remarried to a wonderful man when I was 15. He had two other kids our age and for a little while I got to have a Dad. He is the man I now call my father. Now I'm married and off on my own and soon to have my own kids (maybe?) I understand what my parents when through a whole lot better now! My husband is a wonderful man, and I don't fear him leaving me at all. We both come from broken homes (his broken by death, mine by choice) and we have found great peace in clinging to each other and discovering this thing called life.

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  8. Awee. That is sooo sweet. I wish I had the same experience when my dad left after 20 years. My dad waiting til I was 18 but not because he wanted to be there, he waited so that he didn't have to pay for me. I am not bitter though. He is who he is. He wasn't meant for a family. I can't blame him. It's hard to go though but at the same time it's best.

    Thanks for sharing.

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  9. My parents got divorced when I was 26. They'd been married for over 30 years. I, too, grew very close to my dad after the divorce, and also wish I saw him more these days. I think that people assume divorce only seriously affects children when they're young, but it's a huge change for adults as well. Thanks for sharing this lady!

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  10. My parents divorced when I was three and my mom and I moved cross country so we could "be away" from him. I saw my mom cry and fight with him on the phone and spent most of my life "not knowing" my dad.

    Now that I'm with Cole (who's parents divorced when he was older) it's interesting to look at those divorces and the topic of marriage and see how it's changed our perspectives as adults.

    Thanks for sharing! It's always comforting to know that you aren't alone in this!

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  11. Wow! This was a very emotional read for me. I so appreciate your posting this because right now I am dealing with the feelings of divorcing parents however I am a grown adult, with my own family. I thought the other day there will be no more family get togethers at the house and I couldn't help but be extremely emotional about it. I so appreciate all your post however this one touches my heart.....

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  12. Geez Julie, way to make me tear up! I don't have a good relationship with my father, for many reasons, and this made me yearn for a do-over. I guess it's true we cannot choose the cards we're dealt, only how we play them. Thanks for opening up! Sending big hugs your way.

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  13. *chills* This totally made me tear up girl :( Especially his handwritten note. I'm sure that is so hard! My parents got a divorce when I was away at college, too. Honestly, I don't know why parents think it's better to stay in a marriage for the kids. The divorce was just as hard on me as an adult, if not worse, because as an adult I can understand everything happening - why they fought, who's mostly to blame, who gave up, who is fighting dirty, who is being spiteful, etc. The only good thing that came out of it is I'm finally "knowing" who my parents really are as individuals, which is nice. I'm still not sure they will ever be able to be in the same room together... we'll see how that one goes ;)

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  14. Thank you so much for sharing this. Families are so difficult. I'm an adult of divorce and totally agree with Kristen that it almost makes it harder knowing and seeing everything. Unfortunately, I have two young sisters still living at home and living through it. My faulty relationship is with my mother. I mostly miss the way things were for my sisters. They don't have a lot of the great memories I have with both parents. I wish I had kind words from my mom like you have from your dad. Thank you so much for your honesty...

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  15. Wow you have me in tears a bit. Divorce always sucks, but overall your father sounds like a great man.

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Thanks for the comment! I read them all and reply when I can. Please be sure your blogger account is linked to your e-mail so I can do so! (Tutorial on how to do that here: http://tinyurl.com/c6gh9fk) xo JA