Of course I know what today is. I’ve never forgotten, it’s not my nature to forget such things. I’m sure he thinks I forgot, he thinks very little of me.
When my mother was pregnant with me, it was before the days of regular ultrasounds for gender reveals. The nurses would guess what you were having based on the fetal heartbeats, and amazingly, 50% of the time they were spot on. On that cold, December day, when my belated birth was finally scheduled, my parents had no clue whether I was a boy or a girl. Being the first born after the struggle of infertility, you would think that would be enough.
You would think.
The doctor met my father in the hallway. Being a hilarious man, at least to himself, he decided to follow tradition and exclaimed with delight that I was a boy!! My father was overjoyed! How exciting! Working in construction, his family gave him a gift when they were expecting me, a sign to attach to his work van, advertising his business with a big proud “& Sons” at the end. The dream was real!
Except it wasn’t.
That doctor told all of the waiting fathers that the baby was a boy, and he thought it was hilarious. When my father found out I was indeed a girl, he wasn’t laughing. And pretty much, he has kept that bitter look of disappointment every time he has looked at me ever since.
What a way to start a relationship, right? So much of my childhood was spent desperately seeking his approval, yearning so badly for any kind of positive recognition from my father. I can’t remember ever in my life feeling loved by that man. Not once. If he walked through the room and I was having a snack, he would look at me in disgust and tell me I was going to be fat, just like my mother. When I had to get glasses, he told me I would have to start plucking my eyebrows so I didn’t look like a man. When I got dressed up for school dances, posed in front of the camera before leaving with friends, he would criticize the way I stood, telling me it made me look even fatter than I already was. Brought home A and B report cards? Why aren’t they all A’s? Maybe I needed to study more, to get those grades up.
What in the actual hell??
I doubt myself to this day with a special kind of self loathing that can not possibly be built alone. It took over 30 years to hate and doubt myself this much, and I have my father to thank for that.
While he is being doted on and told how wonderful he is today by my Stockholm Syndrome poster child mother, and siblings who never had the pleasure of knowing the same monster as I did growing up, I will resist the urge to wish him to choke on his birthday cake. Instead, I will take pleasure in knowing that I am finally free from his poison. I have so much damage to try and undo, so much pain and suffering to heal from.
I will also take this opportunity to be thankful for the amazing Daddy that my husband is to our children!!! They are so lucky and so blessed to have such a magical relationship with him!! Thank goodness they will never know this empty, dreadful feeling!!
And for that matter, I thank my lucky stars for being blessed with such an amazing man, constantly dealing with this crazy, broken woman that he calls his wife!! I don’t know how he does it, but I sure am glad to call him mine. I may have had an awful, hellish upbringing, but I now end each day knowing how loved and important I am to the people that truly matter, my husband and my babies. God is GOOD!