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Boston, MA, United States
I don’t need an introduction.

Monday, January 4, 2010

(OB Rach Import) Dear Daddy.

Weddings are an absolute, right?  I mean, during a wedding, two people agree in front of God and everyone else to stay with each other until death do them part. No one can argue with the sanctity of marriage.  It is a responsibility that a lot of people seem take much too lightly today.

People ask me all the time why I am still single, and my answer will always be the same:  I have not met the right guy.  You see, I take this ceremony seriously, and I refuse to marry a person who just might to fit the bill, or so I don't have to be alone.  I would never want to put myself, or the children I hope to have someday, through the pain and desecration of a divorce.  No one should have to live without their father.  Not for any reason. It is reprehensible.

My parents divorced when I was two, and like a lot of single mom's in this post-feminist society,  she had to raise my brother and I all by herself.  My dad divorced and dismissed us with a letter addressed to my mother in neat cursive.  She still keeps the tattered paper in her high school year book.  I saw it for the first time this year while I was helping her get settled into a new house.

According to his letter, he left 200 dollars in their bank account. His brother had $145 in cash to be delivered with the note and a request for my mom to give his stuff to my uncle.  My mom packed a suitcase, then my uncle brought it to my father who was at some unnamed place in Boston.  This was the last time we saw that uncle, my dad showed up sixteen years later, unexpectedly and way too late.

I know what you are thinking: my mom must be ugly, or a miserable person, but she is not.  And, my parents did not have a shot-gun wedding.  Nope.  My mom wasn't knocked up, either.  She and my father were married four years before they decided to procreate. 

My mother was raised a proper, Catholic girl from an upper middle class, "blue blood"  family, hailing from the North Shores of  Massachusetts.  She lost her virginity to my father and married him because she thought she was used goods that no man would want.  Also, she feared she would go to hell thanks to what she was taught.  My grandmother laughed at my mother when she heard the story.  "You believed that?"   *OUCH.*

Perhaps she was the one who made the mistake.  My father is a non-practicing, Irish Protestant, who was raised in direct opposition to my mother's childhood.  He grew up one of nine children in a low-income, three-bedroom housing project apartment in one of the worst sections of Boston.  His mother was a stay at home mom and his dad worked himself to death.

My mother definitely married beneath herself by all standards.  But you can't control who you fall in love with.  Interestingly, my father kept his family a secret until they had been together for almost a year and, in naivete, she assumed it was because he was ashamed of her.  Little did she know.  

Despite my mom's circumstances, she did a great job of raising my brother and I.  She went back to school and learned job skills so she could develop her career and support her family.  We were rarely on welfare, except when  we needed to get by right after my dad abandoned us.  My mom also got help from the state for medical emergencies, since my father never provided Blue Cross Blue Shield medical insurance for us, despite a court order for him to do so.

Thank Gawd my mother sought help because I was born with a sub mucosa cleft palette and surgery was the only option to correct it.  My mom needed the assistance of the Massachusetts state medical system.  I have to say, Boston really has it together as far as a public care system is concerned:  my mom got the best doctors available for what turned out to be probably six or seven surgeries for little me.  I also needed speech therapy to correct the symptoms of my condition.  I could not verbalize words until I was five years old and I had major issues with my ears.

In truth, I would be deaf and mute today, if it wasn't for Welfare.  Can you imagine if everyone treated the welfare system with respect, as my Mom did?  Part of the United States financial crisis is due to the abuse of the very system that saved my life. Wake up, America!

My childhood brings up some interesting issues about what happens to kids of broken homes when the father bails out and takes his love and support to another family without looking back.  Why do so many fathers think they get do-overs just because they marry someone else?  Offspring doesn't just fall into some magical void where they are taken care of properly.  Just because a man has decided to stop being husband doesn't mean he gets to stop being a dad. What are these dead beats thinking?

Believe it or not, I have the pathetic excuse for an answer to that question, at least in reference to my dad.  And I promise you this scenario is more common than anyone likes to admit:  my dad was getting back at my mother for whatever he was mad at her about, and by default I got screwed.  As a side-note, here, I need to say that I am certain my mom has some blame here, too, but at least SHE WAS THERE, and still IS.

This pittance would not have stopped him from buying his multimillion dollar commercial building in the heart of Boston.  He still would have have had no problem whatsoever paying the mortgage on his new multimillion dollar homes and businesses.

My child support would not have taken anything from his military pension.  Sixty dollars a week would not have stopped my father from keeping his "step-son" in private school, while his wife stayed home and enjoyed her Chanel bags.  Even though my father and step monster are no longer together, my father loves to brag about how he still pays all her bills and spoils her with the best of everything. 

As I found out later on, my step-monster is a greedy bitch who made it her business to help my dad evade his financial and emotional responsibility in favor of her own wants and desires.  And the reason my "stepbrother" remains in quotes is because he is two years older than me and has an uncanny resemblance to both my father and brother.  Coincidence?  I'm not so sure.

To this day, I have no idea what my "stepbrother" thinks. Unbeknown to him, he has two siblings just hanging around this planet taking the scraps that are left over for us.  I wonder what he would say if he knew how my brother and I got the short end of the stick?  Would he think it was wrong?

I've have never had the opportunity to get to know my "stepbrother".   To be brutally honest, I don't think I mind so much.  Of course, he is also just an innocent bystander of all of this crap, but it is hard for me to see past the fact that my stepbrother was on the receiving end of all I ever wanted growing up.

He got to live in my father's house, in the same neighborhood all of his life with his family intact. Am I jealous? Hell yes.  But that isn't what keeps me from pursuing a relationship with him.  I just seriously doubt that the two of us have a single thing in common - besides my dad.

I'm not sure what my father was thinking when he left the three of us over thirty years ago, in that big house all alone without a car and no money.  But I know what he thinks now because he told me recently on the phone.  My "stepbrother" has mild retardation and my father actually had the nerve to tell me that he could not understand how I ended up so screwed up, since his "step-son" has managed to keep the same job for all of his life and the kid has a sizable retirement already in the bank.  Gee, "Dad, do you think that maybe a little stability, love and support from you may account for that? 

My father may be blind to his callousness in even saying these words to me, but he will always know the consequence of this neglect because of the way he found me.  He saw my name in  the arrest report of the Boston Globe one morning while he was having coffee.  The year was 1989, I was 18 years old, and in big trouble with a capital "T."  I had been involved in a bank robbery in another state, and I was going to jail for for a long time.

My bank robbery story is a good one, and I know you will want to hear it.  Dear reader, don't be disappointed, but I have to save it for anther post.  This is just too big a story to simply note here.  Stay tuned for the full details to come.

So, rumor has it that my father warned my Mom he would come back one day.  Allegedly, his master plan was to return when his children where both above the age of 18 (i.e. ineligible/too late for child support) and buy us back with his money.  As if my brother and I could be bought like property, or are some piece of furniture my parents bought when they were living together in matrimony.  Please.  Are you f'ing kidding me?  I hope he was drunk when he said that.

Well, I'm sure things did not work out the way my father projected, but he sure gave it one hell of a try, in spite of some really screwed up circumstances.  OH WAIT!  My brother fell for my Dad's bullshit HOOK, LINE AND SINKER.  I guess one out of two ain't bad.

After my arrest, my mother came to visit me in the state holding facility with a stranger.  All I remember is her saying "Rachel, this is your father." There I sat, a criminal in my orange uniform, looking through prison bars at this man who was my "DAD".  It was almost surreal, actually.  All of my life I had so many fantasies about my dad and who he would be.  I imagined my real father was a top secret service agent who just could not see us because he was in some third-world country performing exciting and dangerous C.I.A. work.

The only other explanation I could think of was that he must be dead.  My father was alive and well.  He was just one more progenitor turned sperm donor who had replaced his family with another one.  Now, here he was, sitting in front of me.

I gotta admit, I did have fun while it lasted.  Suddenly, I was "daddy's" girl.  What I thought I wanted and needed to do after my arrest was to get into rehab.  Unfortunately, my mother did not have the $200 grand  she needed to post my bond, so my dad stepped up to the plate and put up one of his commercial buildings to get me out of jail.  For the first time in my life, I got to spend time with my "dad."

My father was the one who delivered me to prison when I finally had to surrender myself to the Feds to start my sentence.  We spent long days talking and getting to know each other better as we took the long trip by van from my rehab in Georgetown, Massachusetts to the cold and lonely prison that was located in Lexington, Kentucky.  We cried a little bit as we talked about what happened.

When we said good-bye at the gate, I felt confident that he was always going to be there for me.  He retreated to his prior life, that did not include me.  Sadly, I did not speak to my father very much while  I was locked up. 

My father and I have been through a lot since we met in that jail cell twenty years ago.  Over the years we've lost contact several times due to stupid fights and my inability to let go of the past.  Finally, when I was 35 years old and done abusing myself with substances for good, I decided I really wanted to pursue a relationship with him.  I tried to put the past aside.  I have to say I have truly given our relationship my best effort.  I have made it a priority to get to know this man for who he is.  Believe me, I understand mistakes.  I have made plenty of them.

My relationship with my father has always been rocky.  Frankly I don't know what to think or expect from him.  Is he my Dad now?  Is this how it should be?  Am I wrong for expecting him to be here with me, since we are both growing old?

Nowadays, my dad will throw dollars around at  times,  but he is mostly pretty tight with his money when it comes to my little brother and me.  Of course it's better than when were kids.  I still remember when I was about seven and the "t.v. man" came to our house and hung out for a while.  When he left, he took a twenty dollar bill out of his wallet and tore it in half and gave it to us.  "Take your mother out to McDonald's" he said.  A whole Ten bucks each...WOW.

To this day, I have never mentioned this memory to my father.  But, I do remember, Dad.  I remember when you came to our house.  And I knew you were pretending to be the t.v. man.  And I remember spending the rest of the day and night in my room, wondering why my dad didn't like me.

You see, I really want a father.  And I want to believe that my father loves me.  Sometimes I really do get to believe it.  But then he will do something really screwed up and uncalled for, and I am taken back again.  It just seems like he can't follow through.  He just can't, or he won't.  Either way, it sucks.

This past holiday season will mark the 35th year that I have not spent Christmas with my father.  For three years, I've been able to go back to the fantasy that my father might really care.  We've had long conversations on the phone, and I had begun to sort of rely on him for advice.  Having him around has been been especially great because he's even been sending cards for my birthdays and Christmas.  Every year he says he is going to make it to California to visit me.  Just like the little girl who believed her daddy was a secret service agent, I look forward to when he finally makes the trip.

This year, my step-monster is in the hospital, and he was late for Christmas, but  he promised he would get my card to me by the new year.

Well, Dad, it's January 4th.  Maybe it will come tomorrow?

DeConstrucor's Comment In Response to LETTER TO MY "FRIENDS" IN AA (page above)

"Brav fucking O.....Standing O fucking Vation. Or perhaps the Charlie Daniels quote from the Geico commercial of "thats how you do it son"

That was incredible.

Reminded me a little of "the letter" at the end of the Breakfast Club (perhaps the greatest movie ever)

Keep it up, dont be afraid to kick them in the teeth once in a while.

Always remember that its the misfits, the rebels, and the troublemakers that are the ones that change the world."

He post the following video at the end of his comment.

Thank you, my friend.
I am both Flattered and HONORED.

*This Video is here to support Decon's Words, not OBAMA (or any politician for that matter, since I've never been allowed to vote) Sincerely, Go-Go Rach.