It is Sunday, June 15th tomorrow. A date that has changed dramatically for me over the years. Now it is just another day, and I’m very happy about that.
I’ve written about Father’s Day in the past but I want to touch on it again because family ‘stuff’ never goes away, and the bs that comes with these relationships hits home for most of us. The more we talk about it, laugh/cry about it, the healthier we’ll be. In my opinion, anyway.
Mothers Day, Father’s Day, birthdays, and Christmas are charged events because they a) have expectations, and b) usually involve family. These can be wonderful events but they can also be hard and stressful. Mine was the latter because unfortunately, Roy Ferris was a really horrible man. No dancing around it, no self pity, and no point in the ugly details, but trust me when I say, he was a detrimental and dangerous presence in out lives.
When he died my brother and I were actually relieved which made the decade after his death very challenging of me. When Father’s Day came along each year I would try to feel something emotional for him. Something simulating love or loss. I couldn’t do it.
Then I started to feel guilt. What was wrong with me that I didn’t miss my dad? Feel bad that he’d died? Was I a terrible person, missing some emotional make-up that most people have?
Then I spent a couple years being angry. Angry that he was making me feel guilty from the grave. Lol. Which is ridiculous; no one can make you feel ANYTHING without your permission…. Especially from the grave. You are in charge of how you feel. I know that is annoying to hear because it’s SO MUCH EASIER to blame someone else. Sorry. You are in charge of your thoughts and feelings. But that’s a topic for another time.
Then I got angry at him for not being a good dad. For not being there. For bullying, endangering, and manipulating his family. That lasted quite a few years, and boy was I pissed.
It has now been over 15 years since his death and I am at peace with my father. I did a lot of work on it and learned some very important things, so let me share them with you so you don’t have to put decades into figuring it out.
* your parents are really only ever doing the best they can WITH THE TOOLS THEY WERE GIVEN. My dad was a monster, but his mother (grandma Dolly) was even worse! He never got love, warmth or decency so he couldn’t give what he didn’t get. Poor bastard. He couldn’t do better because he didn’t know better.
* family is relation by blood and doesn’t automatically come with a stamp of approval to treat each other like garbage. Society puts pressure on us to accept horrible treatment, treatment we wouldn’t accept from our worst enemies, from our family. In the medieval times relatives had to stick together because survival was sketchy and people died early. They needed to stay close to STAY ALIVE. Thank gawd, we no longer need to do that, and we are able to decide who gets the honour of our time and attention. And it is an honour.
* every family has baggage of their own. I looked up to the people next door for years. I envied them. They appeared so functional and stress-free. Ha! I learned later that the dad had a drinking problem and was cheating, the mom locked the girls in a closet from time to time, and the oldest daughter developed an eating disorder because she didn’t think she was ‘good enough’. Got issues in your family? You are not alone. We all do. You just don’t see it. Family dynamics are complicated, and dramatic, and mostly happen behind closed doors. We are not perfect. Not one of us.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti-dad…lol….If you’ve got a great dad and/or a great relationship with him then I am thrilled for you. Maybe even envious. But if Father’s Day is weird for you, don’t sweat it. You are not alone. Hallmark cards puts pressure on it to be this great movie-perfect day. F**k off, Hallmark. It is just another
Day. You can make it whatever you want.