I alternate between missing him, being completely, fanatically* pissed off at him and being filled with bright green oozing envy at my brother, who still talks to him. I mean, my poor brother sent me a video that he shot of his kids opening a present that Popup had mailed them, and I COULD NOT watch it. Was my dad in it? No. Do I miss my niece and nephews so much it hurts? Yes. But the thought of my dad completely ignoring my kids for most of their lives, and doting on my brother's? It INFURIATES me.
My brother, just so you know, is going to leave a comment to the effect of 'karmic retribution for being the fucking golden child growing up, ho' and he'll totally be right, so don't yell at him. We love him.
Anyway, I was falling asleep last night, trying to decide where I'm at with the old daddio, and I got to thinking about what really was keeping me from moving on. I move on rather easily in most situations, but this one has me hanging. Why am I still so mad, three years later? Is it because he rejected my pathetic excuse for an apology? Is it that he, like my mother, just never asked even one question after I walked away? What is it that's really got my chonies in a knot? And then it hit me.
3 Cabbage Patch Dolls and a BlowPop.
When I left my mother's house, I had one small suitcase and two small backpacks to cram 16 years of stuff into. Everything else had to go in the dumpster outside so that when she came home the next day, there would be no trace of me left in her house. I wiggled and jumped and bounced on those bags, packing them as tightly as I could with what little clothes and shoes I could fit. But I could not, not in any small way, bear to throw away the 3 Cabbage Patch Dolls my father had taken me to get when they first came out. Against my mother's orders, we stood in line for hours to get those freaking things. It was the only abjectly defiant thing I'd ever done, and those sonsofbitches were coming with me.
I also brought a goodie bag from a sleepover I'd attended a few years before. My friend Alisha had a big sleepover at her house in Philly when I was, oh, maybe 14, and I'd never actually been to a sleepover before, so I totally went. I didn't really know anyone there, but I grew up with Alisha; she was more like my sister than my friend, and her mom more like a mother, you know? I was totally fine on my own. At this sleepover, she had goodie bags. Everyone's had makeup in it, but since I wasn't allowed makeup, Alisha's mom had filled mine with candy and stickers and stuff. I ate all the melty candy and did something with the stickers, but I kept the BlowPop that was in the bag, and I kept the bag, too. I packed them and brought them to Colorado with me, too. They meant something to me, I just couldn't put my finger on what.
My father had a box in his garage where my old stuff was kept, just one little box in the back of the garage. I'd gone to get it out a few times, but I could never get to it. He's got one of those garages where you open the door at your own risk, if you're dumb enough to even try. Finally, when he was moving, he cleared the whole thing out and I came over to get my box, with all my old clothes, my suitcase, my dolls and my blowpop, and it was gone. The 25 boxes the shippers packed in 1986 full of coupons for KFC and newspapers that were laying around his apartment were all still there 17 years later, but my one box of super important, never replaceable tokens of my past hadn't survived the cuts.
Aside from the monster of a parent he was, aside from the shitstorm he dropped on my brother, aside from the way he made 2of3 cry every time he saw him, that is what I am not ever, ever going to forgive him for. That is the source of my anger. I had only 4 pieces of my history, only 4 items in the whole world I could hand to my children to share a piece of my childhood with them, and he told me he'd keep them for me. And instead, he threw them in the trash. That day, in my heart, he became no better than my mother.
And I am really, really thankful that it only took me three years to figure that out.
*You know you grew up in Philly when you think fanatic should be spelled with a 'ph' and no amount of spell check is going to convince you otherwise.