Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tuesday's Tribute - Daddy Dearest


I am all too often reminded to be a positive example for my kids. In fact, if my wife wasn't a great balance for me, I would probably still be making some of the irrational and thoughtless decisions of my youth...meaning through my early thirties.

But in addition to having a positive male influence in your life, I am here today to share why having a negative role model has its value as well.

A number of years ago my mother made the decision to leave my "father" after 24 years of marriage. While I refer to him as my father, I must point out that he was actually my step-father, but had been around for the majority of my life.

He wasn't my biological father, but he was my Dad.

When my mom left, he took it pretty hard. He was not built to be alone, and didnt do it well. The house quickly fell into a state of disarray, and though he wasnt a man who was capable of admitting being in a state of depression, he was clearly there. It was no surprise when he started dating soon thereafter, but a bit concerning when he announced that he would be getting married again to a woman he had only met 3 weeks prior.

Well that woman, of course, turned out to be a psychopath. And long story long, she drove an incredible wedge between my Dad and my wife and I. Finally, this woman persuaded him that we were only loyal to my mother and her new husband, we were trying to ruin her marriage with my Dad, and ultimately persuaded him to cut off all ties with us. Not with my brother and sister of whom he was the true biological father, just his ex-wife's kid.

So after almost 3 decades, "Dad" became "my ex".

How do you put yourself in a place to be a child's father for the bulk of his life, and then just decide to walk away rather than face the hard times? Were you that scared of being alone again that you traded a son for a woman you knew to be trouble?

Any positive lesson you taught me is now suspect. Every decent thing I ever saw you do is now marred by your ultimate weakness and irresponsibility. And your legacy is that you are the biological father of two kids who are scared to tell you what they really think of you and your wife, for fear you will disown them. Nice work.

This week's Tribute is to an unbelievable coward. Clearly I carry some pain and bitterness, I know this. But in the end, I also have to thank you for what you did. For it is one thing to teach positive lessons, but to be a living example of what I will NEVER do to my kids is invaluable.

This Tribute is to you, "Dad". I only ever wanted you to be happy again.



Tuesday's Tribute


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53 comments:

texasholly said...

That totally sucks. She sleeps with him. He listens to her. It really is unfortunate and ugly.

My post might be a bit lighter...OK, I admit it is a puff piece. *insert pun ALERT groan here*

If you don't like it, I don't know you at all...

Summer said...

I'm so sorry Jay...

My husband has an awful stepdad as well that was insane.

I feel sad for what he witnessed and went through, but thankful for the fact that it showed him exactly what he doesn't want to be.

And I seriously think he is the best dad I know.

I'm sure you are the same.

Under the Influence said...

My family has a similar experience - different players with different "titles" but similar just the same. And it sucks.

Mary@Holy Mackerel said...

Very touching post, and totally understandable.

My mother was like that to us, and I guess I have to thank her because I learned what NOT to do when I had my children.

Elaine A. said...

I like how you found something positive from a bad situation. Your kids are SO very lucky...

Jenni Jiggety said...

Oh man, Jay. That sucks and I am sorry. You deserve better than that!

Denise @ Sunflowers, Chocolate and Little Boys said...

Wow...that is crappy. I am so sorry you had to go through that and now have such a big void. Maybe someday things will work themselves out for the best.

mommaof4wife2r said...

well, that just stinks. as a foster mom, i hate to say it, but i see this happen a bit. sometimes people walk when they just don't know what to do.

good thing ur a good dad...and you've got a good wifey too.

Kristina P. said...

Man, replace "dad" with "mom" and I am so there.

The Daily Blonde said...

Screw him. You're a fantastic Dad. You've done THAT all on your own.

Mama Kat said...

:( I can't believe your Dad would turn on you like that. You would think a grown man...ugh. Frustrating.

And by the by no the maids were not hot...just very very merry.

MamabearMills said...

A very valuable lesson to me as well, for I am a step parent. I willnever walk away from my son that way! everrrrrrrrrrrrr!

Straight to Your Hart said...

I am so grateful for my "step" Dad..I love him. To say it was easy...no, but all the work continues to pay off. I hope someday...he will be awakened..for him. Because I think you already have been..My step MIL always says (cue the groan) "this to shall pass" I know..crap, now I just have to believe it!!

On a funny note..oh and Thank you. I received the package today...Love the shirt and button. Which leads me to the button..it has a striking resemblance to you...sorry, in a cartoony kinda way...giggling!!

Sera said...

Wow. That's intense. I'm really, really sorry about the what he chose to do after all that time. I can't even imagine. You are doing a fabulous job with your own kids, and I think it's admirable that you're turning this around to find something positive in it.

Mariah said...

You know, it's too bad he made that decision...I guess everyone has a bit of baggage. Thanks for sharing. I feel like a loser with mine after I just read yours! Thanks.

The Mom Jen said...

Jay that hurts deep! YOU are an amazing father and it comes from your heart, you are above and beyond that man.

Becky @ beckyandjames said...

So sad. I am sorry to hear that he chose to believe her vicious lies.
Your ability to turn this around and be an amazing Dad to your kids is a credit to you.

Samantha said...

The only reason I can forgive my parents for what they did to us growing up is because of the example they taught me of how NOT to make my kids feel and what NOT to do to them and to my husband.

I am sorry you have to feel that hurt... Just goes to show, not all kids with crappy childhoods end up as crappy people.

Dory said...

Aw, Jay, that so totally sucks ass. I'm so sorry.

angie said...

How sad. I'm sorry. Really, really sorry.

Beth said...

What a disappointment the adults in our lives can be. When my father died, my step-mother slowly faded from the scene. I guess you know exactly how feels.

Great tribute. And a great reminder that the negative lessons we learn can be turned into positives.

Jenn@mylifewiththecrazies said...

Oh Jay... totally sucks. Dont we all have those lovely people in our lives?? So sorry it causes you such pain and hopefully he will learn, but more than likely he wont. I have a step dad who was more of a father to me than my real dad and thank god I dont have to worry bout this happening... he and my mom are still happily married 30 years later... my post is much lighter today :)

Janie at Sounding Forth said...

That so sounds like my dad. Are we related?

Alisha said...

I'm working on my tribute now.

Ryan's "step dad" did this same thing. They were only common law, but after his parents divorced, his moms boyfriend was a second dad to him. They built a house and lived in it together for many years. Then she left him, and he continued to support them as any father would.

Well, he met a woman who thought this was stupid, that he would want to spend time with his ex's sons (I should point out that he told me he thought of Ryan and his brothers as sons) and wouldn't you know that one day he calls Ryan's youngest brother, and tells him he has to stop seeing him, and he was never really his father anyways. And that was it. It broke his heart, because this guy has been a huge part of his life since he was a baby, and he just ditched him. To Ryan and the other brothers, it sucked, but they were adults.

They all carry a huge grudge against him now.

Just sucks.

April said...

i'm sorry. no one should have to go through that. he's taught you at least one incredibly valuable lesson though. we know you'll be the father he couldn't be.

Kristen Andrews said...

ok my tribute is to all Moms and a contest is involved!

Jenners said...

Wow. This is some pretty deep crap you are putting out here. I hope it helped you a bit. It is so hard for kids when the grown ups in their life are f'ed up ... even when the "kid" isn't technically a kid anymore. What a sad story.

Kelly Deneen said...

Ugh. That is terrible! I'm sorry. You are such a wonderful dad.

Fresh Mommy said...

Wow, that's incredible... and not in the good way. So sorry for that. It's so amazing the true importance that dad's (whether biological or not) carry with their kids, and most don't even realize it. The things they do or don't do make HUGE impacts in lives, forever. Great lesson and so glad you learned it in the right way, instead of carrying on bad traditions to your kids. Way to go Jay!!

:)
~Tabitha~

freshmommyblog.com

jsprik said...

same here...we all learn by example whether it's good or bad and we can either live our lives the same as those before us or use the example of what not to do!!! you and i jay, we chose to stop the cycle and use our pasts as what not to do for our families!! proud to be in your company dude!! way to go!! your family is blessed to have you!!

EADotCom said...

Still raw.

Thanks.

Tony@ That One Paticular Harbor said...

I am glad you see the value through the pain. Your beautiful kids lives will the richer for it. In turn as will yours with them. Be well brother.

Sheri and George said...

I was lucky enough to marry a man who has been a wonderful stepdad and example to my children. They think the world of him and he of them.
Sorry this man chose psycho woman over you after all those years of raising you. She obviously had him snowballed.
Be the best dad you can be to your children- and hope they love you as much as you love them

Crafty Christina said...

Sometimes parents are just as immature as children.

Thankfully, you've chosen to take that hard life experience and learn from it. You're a better man for it.

BoufMom9 said...

Jay, this broke my heart.
I am so glad you have learned from the pain of your past and haven't made the same mistakes, but so sad you had to experience any of this.

Good for you for being the man that you are!

Blessings!
Debi

Ann Onymous said...

That is really sad, Jay. I'm sorry.

♥georgie♥ said...

wow what a story Jay...I am sorry but glad you found a postive!

kisatrtle said...

Ouch. That is quite a tribute. My mother has provided me with a lot of those examples of what not to do.

She too is remarried...to the man she cheated on my father with.

Makes for akward Thanksgivings.

Momma@Live. Laugh. Pull your hair out said...

As much as it sucks that your relationship turned out that way, you are probably better off without that relationship.

And it takes people like that to teach us how NOT to act with our kids.

Sassy Britches said...

Ugh. I think the last few paragraphs sum it up nicely. That all you ever wanted was for him to be happy again, and he messed it up by being a coward. I'm so sorry things had to end that way for you, but you're right, you learned something from it, so that's a "positive" in the end.

Jillene said...

Just remember that HE is the one missing out. Missing out on what a great man/father you are, missing out on your wonderful wife and especially missing out on your kids. Boo to him!!

Lee of MWOB said...

Wow Jay.

I don't know from my own parents but I have seen other instances very close to me where the parent has chosen the partner over their kids. Isn't that interesting? Whereas some of us identify with being a parent FIRST and foremost and that is what motivates our choices, others choose to have their significant others be the ones who call the shots.

I think turning the pain inward to utilize it for the betterment of your OWN family is the way to go....

:-)

AdviceMaven said...

It's so important that you've turned any bitterness into resolve not to follow in his footsteps. It makes me crazy when I see people who use their pain as an excuse as to why they hurt others instead of learning from it.

HeatherY said...

That is awful, Jay. I swear there are women that prey on men in vulnerable situations with the main goal of isolating them from their family in order to suck them dry. It happened to my Dad after my Mom died.

At some point your Dad is going to see the light. When he does, I guarantee you'll be the first one he calls to help pick up the pieces and you will because he's your Dad.

Mama Zen said...

That's incredibly sad, but you've expressed it beautifully.

Lee said...

This reminds me of what happened in my family. My brother has the worst taste in women. He's married a bunch of psychopaths, and each time my mother and her other children have said that the woman was trouble before they got married.
Well this caused my brother and grandmother to accuse my mom of him not wanting to be happy.

I'm so sorry you had to go through that, but I'm glad you took from it something positive.

Becky @ beckyandjames said...

Hmm. Somehow I have put my link for this weeks tribute as one I did a few weeks ago :S I honestly have NO idea how I could have done that... Two teething bubs and not alot of sleep sure makes me crazy!

Soxy Deb said...

But what you say it so true, every bit of your past (and the constant needling from your real life wife and internet wives) has made you who you are.
So for that I say a thank you to him. His decisions, good or bad, have made you a better person.
We love you Jay!!

Sharlene said...

Jay thank you for sharing your story. Maybe someone else will read this and learn a lesson. It always amazes me how many dads can just walk away from their kids. It is beyond my comprehension how a man could be part of a childs life for so long and then cut all ties. I am sorry that you had to experience this.

Sticky (not too) said...

That kind of abandonment is always awful, doubly so when it comes from a parent.

We always want our parents to be the shining example...

I'm so sorry for your loss - but as someone else said above me - it really is his loss. You are an amazing person and father.

Alicia said...

WOW! What a dick. At least you rose above and left him in the dust when it came to being a real father.

Young Momma said...

I feel for you SO much!! I had a step dad who was my dad too. From the time I was 2 until I was 13. Not as long as you, but still, he was my dad. My mom divorced him when I was 13 after he developed a drug addiction. He ended up hooking up with my moms best friend (who was also my best friends mom!) and just completely disowned me.

This is a man who constantly said "The only steps in my house are at the front door." More than 10 years later and it still stings to know that this man who told me I was the only daughter he could ever ask for, has and wants nothing to do with me. Not that I want much to do with him after what we went through with his drug addiction... but it still hurts.

Oh, he also has a daughter with my moms "best friend" now too. Nice, huh?

jill jill bo bill said...

How can someone NOT like you?! She is definitely insane. I hate that for you. My ex and his new bitch have basically done that to our kids. I don't care how old you are, when a parent chooses a mate over their child, it hurts. Love ya, man.

posthumous pointer
To laugh often and love much; to win the respect of intelligent persons and the affection of children; to earn the approbation of honest citizens and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to give of one's self; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived - this is to have succeeded. - Emerson