Monday, July 9, 2007

My Dad Isn't Coming To the Wedding

Yep. You read right. As of today, my dad has declined my invitation to attend my wedding.

Ok... a little back ground. I've done this before. And at my first wedding my dad wasn't invited at all. He had made it extremely clear that he did not approve of my choice, that he did not like my in-laws and he has a track record of being explosive and violent. I had nightmares of coming around the corner and finding him yelling at my new father-in-law! Also, my dad and I had gotten into a fight about 6 months before the wedding and he had said that he didn't want to talk with me until I apologized. It was the hardest decision I ever made. My wedding was also right about the time that he and my mom's divorce was almost final and he was getting ready to marry the woman he was screwing before my mom officially left. What did he say... He said he'd catch me on the next one.

Well, that comment hurt like hell, but you know, life goes on. My dad and I have "made up" which involved me beginning to contact him and act like nothing ever happened and him acting like the "bigger" person because he was forgiving me for whatever ills I had done to him without insisting on an apology. We sort of talked about the whole thing one time and he acted like he was so sorry that he had put me in that position and that he understood that I wasn't punishing him but protecting my family and new family.

So, when my marriage broke up (which was the second hardest decision I ever made partly because I knew my dad would say, I told you so), I reached out to my dad and one of the first things he said, was, "I told you I'd catch you on the next one." This time I sucked it up and laughed it off.

So a few weeks ago, I was in Charlotte near where my dad lives for Jay's leave and Jay and I had dinner with him. He asked when we were getting married and I told him soon. He said, "I told you I'd catch you on the next one. I just hope I'm going to have a freaking prominent roll in the wedding maybe the preacher." It wasn't the first time he'd talked about having a prominent role. He'd mentioned walking me down the isle before and always spoke of it as if it were his right as the father.

Well, Father's Day came around and we had a huge fight. It started when I stuck to my guns on a small issue and he didn't take it very well. When I began to cry he said he was sorry that something so small would make me cry. I told him it didn't have anything to do with what we were fighting over and told him that his comment about catching me on the next one hurt me so badly that I cried for days over it. Well, instead of saying he was sorry I was hurt or getting me a tissue or comforting me or anything. Instead he had a full on melt down. He screamed, I screamed. it was the first time I stood up for myself, through the overwhelming sobs that is. Well, eventually my dad said that we were done and that he recommended Jay and I go back to Charlotte (we were planning on staying the night). While we were packing up and leaving he said that he hoped my relationship with Jay tempered me.

Two nights later, the love of my life asked me to spend the rest of my life with him. It was the most wonderful and exciting night of my life and because of what had happened I didn't feel comfortable including my dad in my mass text announcement. So, because of what had happened he missed out, for the second time, on being one of the first to know about my engagement.

I figured I might as well take advantage of the drama. So, when I came home I waited a couple of weeks and sent an email telling him that as hard as it was to tell him this, I did not want him to walk me down the isle. I didn't go into why, I only said that this was something I needed to do for me. I tried to give him a half way mark. I told him he could be an usher, part of the photography team or simply be sat with the other parents. OR he could choose to not participate, but that would be HIS choice and not MINE.

It didn't take long to get a response, only about 50 minutes. Just long enough for him to type out an angry email via the hunt and peck typing method. It basically said that he was going to decline the invitation (plus a bunch of other hurtful things).

I don't know what to do with all this. It just hurts so bad, and Jay's not here to hold me. My brother stayed the night last night to help me with this first underway, so he was here to help me process everything this morning and I am so thankful for that. But now that he's gone and the house is empty I find myself crying off and on. I'm sitting here watching Army Wives which is one of my favorite shows and I keep crying over one of the women's husband's being deployed or a wounded husband's return to his wife. I was doing really well with this first underway, seeing it as a time to myself, a time to eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. A time to catch up on phone calls to my friends. But now, I just want to stomp my feet and throw a 5 year old fit. It's just not fair. I need him and he needs to be here. I hope he never reads this, but I feel so abandoned right now. My dad refuses to be in my life and as much as he'd want to be here Jay's not able to be.

I've been trying to figure out why it hurts so bad and why it's so hard to just let my dad slip out of my life at his own request. I was at a wedding a few years ago and the father of the bride was the officiant. When he pronounced them Husband and Wife you could tell he was fighting back the tears. I couldn't get out of that church fast enough. First chance I got, I ran out to the parking lot, plopped down on a cement divider in my tea length black cocktail dress and my stiletto heals and called my mom. She could hardly understand me through the uncontrollable sobs. It hurt so bad that my dad wasn't at my first wedding. And I find myself grieving over my dad not walking me down the isle at this wedding, let alone not even attending this one. And although Randy Sluder most likely would have been at my first wedding if I'd asked him to be and he would certainly walk me down the isle this time, truthfully it doesn't help. And I finally figured out why. The bottom line is that I'm overwhelmingly sad to admit that I really do not have a dad. I have a man who contributed to half my genes, but that doesn't make him a father. And it will never make him a father. So tonight, for the first time, here in my bed... alone... I have to admit that although my biological father is living, although I know his phone number, address and email, I'm a girl planning a wedding without a vital part... a daddy to walk her down the isle and to dance with and to give her new husband a loving but firm talking to about always taking care of his daughter. If he couldn't take care of me, how could he ever expect anyone else to.

god... this just hurts so bad...

Update: After a few months my dad changed his mind and decided to participate on my terms. It made for a slightly more stressful day, but I'm glad he was included.

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