Friday, February 19, 2010

Family insanity

The term "dysfunctional family" should be permanently removed from use, since it means exactly the same thing as the term "every family." Seriously - there are no "Father Knows Best" or "Leave It To Beaver" families. And I'm pretty sure there never were.

With that in mind, let's talk about my family. On second thought, let's not. Suffice it to say that they're all nuts (present company included). When you look at my dad's immediate family, a flowchart is required to get the relationships straight. As an example, I have two stepbrothers. They are each married (to their second wives). Each wife was married before. To the same man. That's right - both of my sisters-in-law were married to the same man (one was his first wife and one was his second). Yeah, that makes holidays interesting, which is one reason I don't go.

But this is really supposed to be a blog about disappointment - specifically, the ways we disappoint our parents. I've come to realize that I am not the daughter my father hoped I'd be. And you know what? I don't care. He's not the father I hoped for, either. I've spent so many years trying to get him to love me for who I am, and to somehow get him to be the dad I want and need. But it's not going to happen.

It's sad. I saw the movie "Father of the Bride" when it came out in theaters. I was 15, and I dreamed about the day I'd get married and my dad would be like Steve Martin's character. When the time came, it didn't work out that way. But really, by then, I was used to it. My dad did a lot of things right, but he also let me down in a lot of really big ways.

Bottom line, though - I guess if I want him to love me for the person I actually am, I have to love him for who he is, warts and all. But I also know that I have to take care of me first. And if that means distancing myself from him, so be it.

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