Fathers Day Thoughts
I was looking through the racks of Fathers Day cards on sale at the Mall and finding it hard to find a suitable card to send to my dad that expressed my feelings. I have told you some of my personal history in my article on the War Brides exhibit but on revisiting the story of my ‘becoming’, it’s hard to put my relationship with my dad into perspective. I stood there reading all the lovely sentiments “Dad, you were always there for me”, “Dad you made me the person I am”, “Dad, thanks for letting me borrow the car, I’ll give it back someday!” and “Dad, I know I gave you a hard time growing up etc. etc.” I find it very hard to relate to any of these sentiments as I actually only spent six years of my early life with him from ages .
I do remember my dad as being a big strong man who carried me on his shoulders, took me to the beach and parks, he played with me and made me things, a hobby horse, a rifle that fired elastic bands, a Red Indian headdress from duck feathers. I had a bike and birthday cakes and friends. We ran pretty wild in the bush around our home in
I look back on those years as very happy and normal ones, my dad was there, I had friends and my granny was a substitute mother but after my mum died, granny decided she wanted to go back to
I know it must have been hard for my dad to let me go, things were different back then and granny was a very strong willed woman, he had to pretty much to sell up everything to pay our airfares and he did send child support until I was 16 and did keep in touch with letters and presents and cards over the years. He remarried and had a new family, two boys, my half brothers. I remember being overjoyed at the thought of being a ‘big sister’ and couldn’t wait to hear the news and tell everyone at school as they all seemed to have loads of brothers and sisters and also had two parents. I was looked on as an oddity, living with my grandmother with no mum or dad
I was reunited with him when I got married, he flew over to ‘give me away’, we made the local papers, ‘Together after 14 years” etc. But I only had a short time to get to know him before we were separated once more. I went out with him the day before the ceremony for a quiet drink and I’ll never forget what he told me. He said “You know, it’s not too late to change your mind, cancel the wedding, you can just walk away”. I remember being totally taken aback, how on earth could he know that’s what I wanted to do more than anything! But I didn’t have the courage to walk away, what about the church, what about the guests, what about the reception, all booked, what would people think? So I burbled merrily “Oh no, why would I do that? I love him!” and that was that. Years later, I asked dad why he said that and he told me he just knew my husband was not for me and that it would end in tears and it did.
I don’t know if growing up without a father figure affected my development, I know my life would have been totally different had I grown up in
I did get over it, time does that but I always hankered after the life I thought I should have had and now here I am back in Vancouver and surrounded by my own precious little family. My relationship with my dad, though warm, is still at a distance, I didn’t find the family with him I always craved, and I don’t think it actually existed except in my imagination. I think I have finally come to terms with that. You make your own life; no one else is responsible for how it turns out. I only wish I had not spent so many years searching for what was here all the time, and just like Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz”, I found, indeed, that there’s no place like home.