Wednesday, May 26, 2010
From a former daddy's girl.
I wanted to write about this a while ago but at the time I was still very angry and emotional, so I thought letting the situation stew and give it some time to cool off would be a better approach. I'm still angry and it still hurts, especially because he can't see it at all, but at least now the wound is not as fresh.
I used to live in Chile. We moved there in 2002; I was ten. We didn't speak Spanish but it didn't take long for my brother and me to pick it up. My dad was born there. I have dozens of relatives on my grandmother's side (Torres) and on my grandfather's (Varas). We would get together with our cousins, aunts and uncles routinely and we quickly established good friendships with them. I love my Chilean family members and I miss them, just as I love and miss the best friends I've ever had - Cata, Meli, y Cristian (or "niñito feo" as we used to call him, pero no era feo). We're all on Facebook, but contact is still minimal. It doesn't help when your Spanish is rusty. Although we were just getting by most of the time, we were happy. Or at least I thought we were. We had a spacious apartment (except for the kitchen) in a really nice area of the city. We had friends, family, good and inexpensive food, cinemas, parks, and public transit within minutes of our home.
After two and a half years, my dad was offered back his old job in Canada. He was having a hard time finding steady work in Santiago, but both he and my mom were teaching English to pay the bills. I'm not exactly sure how the whole thing went down, but before I knew it, my dad left for Canada. We were to follow in a couple of months. My mom did not want to go back, my brother probably did not want to go back (but he was still little so he might not have cared) and I, of course, did not want to go back either. Why would I want to leave my family and friends? We didn't actually have to, but even so, we did go back.
I never cried when we left my Canadian hometown, but I wept when we left Chile.
On July 1st, Canada Day, the wheels of our aeroplane skidded down the runway and dropped us off at YVR. Soon after, sometime in August, my dad left. I suppose the reason for bringing us back with him was simply because he wanted to be close to us, his children, and vice versa, after the separation/divorce. As selfish as that may have been, he never took advantage of what he seemingly deliberately did.
I never received a good explanation or an apology, but perhaps it was unrealistic of me to expect anything like that. I had questions but I lacked balls to ask them. Sometimes I was upset about what he did but for the most part I felt numb, like a constant uncomfortable neutrality and many times I dreaded seeing him because of that feeling. Over the years, I didn't think about him much. He's had some presence in my life, and no one but himself has ever stopped him from having more. Later on, he made it clear that he doesn't want to go where he isn't wanted. This implied that my brother and I would have to be the ones to initiate contact or make an appointment to see him. There is a saying, "If you want to be loved, then be lovable." My dad makes it seem like he wants to be wanted but he is not being wantable. He says he loves us and he says he misses us. I don't doubt his sincerity; however, it has always felt like we tell him about our lives without knowing if he actually cares. This is not only because he rarely asks about our lives and probably expects us to always just tell him, but it's also hard to bring your dad up to speed about your life when he tells you nothing of his own. Give a little to get a little? If you want to know something about me, all you have to do is ask. I simply need an invitation, a question or two, and I will spill every bean you wish me to spill - within reason. We'll make hummus with the leftovers. He tells me to send him an e-mail or a text message once in a while, but then I wonder why he doesn't send me one too. Although he knows some of what goes on in my life, he doesn't know anything about me as a person and he hasn't shown any real incentive to learn about me.
Try this: "I want to know more about you because you're my daughter, and, you know, we're related and shit. So, what do you like? ..." A sorry for not asking sooner would be nice too, but again, it is important to remain realistic.
A couple of months ago, my dad went on a trip to Chile without taking neither Child nor me. When he returned, I discovered why. He went to visit an old high school sweetheart. (He could have taken us and left us at the airport to be picked up by family/friends, but whatever!) He told me about his trip, her, and then a bit about his life before and after he emigrated to Canada. This was the first time he opened up and told me something about himself. I was glad. Except now he is thinking of moving back to Chile despite the fact that he doesn't like it there and, most importantly, despite the fact that he brought us back here, in a way, against our will, so we could still "be together" as my rationalization claims. He is leaving. Again. We don't know when but we suspect it's soon. This means no more Child Support (a decent amount) because he'll be retiring. At 50.
What a lucky guy: no more paying almost the full amount of Child Support, no more not contributing to the cost of extra-curricular activities, no more not contributing to the cost of school trips, no more not contributing to post-secondary tuition fees - no more not spending money on his kids' needs and no more not spending time with them either.
What a lucky guy: no more responsibility at all. It must be nice to have a penis. It seems that if you have one you have the freedom to abandon your children and live without a care in the world.* By the time he realizes what he's done, it will be too late. We'll make due, but I pity him for being so blind and selfish. I, along with my mom, wonder how long it will take for him to return with his tail between his legs.
What a lucky guy, indeed.
* By no means do I believe all penis-owners think like this, but there are many who do and it is them to whom I refer.
My cousins/Mis primos: