I Used To Feel Bad About It...

Growing up, you're pretty much taught that you're supposed to love and respect your parents. I'm sure I did up to the point I started realizing he wasn't really deserving of a whole lot of respect. With five kids to support and raise, he and my mother were mediocre at best. My father in particular was the main source of all the **** the family went through for the first 18 years of my and my brothers and sister's lives.

He was never a good provider, he never put the welfare and well-being of his kids ahead of anything he did, he seldom considered the effect his horrible work ethic was having on the family finances. Neither he nor my mother planned for a single thing -- not family vacations, not college funds, not routine things like dental visits. Not one of their five kids got regular, routine visits to doctors or dentists. Most parents chose where they want to live based on how good the school system is in a particular area. Not my parents. It was "how cheap can we get into this house for?" We lived in south Florida for 26 years and we had 21 different addresses during that time, because he could not keep the rent paid.

By some "miracle", my dad worked for the same freight transport company in Miami for a little over 20 years. He didn't drive a truck -- he worked as a freight handler on the loading dock, and apparently he hated his job so much, he seldom managed to work an entire week without missing at least one day. Actually I think it's because he was a Teamster and firing a Teamster is harder than it's worth.

By the time I got old enough to start evaluating such things, I could never figure out just what in the hell my mother had ever seen in him. Years later, in conversations with my maternal grandmother, she told me she felt the same way, and never had been able to understand what her only daughter had seen in the man either. He wasn't charming, he wasn't handsome, he wasn't particularly intelligent (and in fact hadn't gotten beyond the 9th grade); he was too quick to trust the wrong sorts of people and as a result, was taken advantage of more times and in more ways than I can count, and when he was, he seldom tried to get people to keep their promises. As an example: Once, a guy who worked with him asked him to co-sign on a loan with the company credit union. Apparently too much of a wuss to say 'no', my dad did and the guy subsequently lost his job and couldn't repay the loan. My dad ended up having to finish paying for it and it took months. My dad never attempted to get the guy to repay him, because, to put it bluntly, my dad was a spineless wimp.

From the outside, family life for us looked almost ideal -- my parents never had any domestic problems; they weren't physically abusive toward each other or toward us kids, they weren't alcoholics (though they did consume at least a six-pack of beer a day). Everybody seemed to get along for the most part, at least until my brothers got into their teenage years and started fighting with each other, and sometimes even physically assaulting my dad.

More than anything else, I think I hate him for being a raging hypochondriac, which is the basis for his horrible work ethic. He would miss two or three days a week just because he had a "headache" or for some other nebulous excuse, such as "he didn't feel good."

My dad is still living -- as far as I know. The fact is I have had little contact with him, by personal choice, beyond the very rare phone call. He lives less than 2 hours away, but I have not seen him since a couple months after my mother died - nearly 20 years ago now.
CakeEater57 CakeEater57
51-55, F
1 Response May 5, 2012

I don't blame you for not being in contact with him.