My title may be misleading and a bit odd but it means a whole lot that needs a blog attached to it.
Lets think about family. What does that mean to you?
It could mean a mum and a dad and perhaps siblings. It might have at some point become a step mum and a dad and a step dad and a mum and perhaps some step siblings thrown in with your already perhaps siblings. Family can be as easy or as complicated as it wants to be.
Does family matter?
I started by looking at the nuclear family. I am not saying it’s the best…I’m not from a nuclear family so I don’t even have first hand experience of that let alone any authority on it. By family what I am really trying to boil down to is does blood really matter?
I came to be on this earth as a big accident. My parents decided to not be responsible and 9 months later I rocked up. About 8 months before that my dad decided he wasn’t signing up to the whole parenthood thing and off he went.
So I’m born, flipping gorgeous I might add,and my mother raises me as single parent. When I say single I mean my nanny and aunts and uncles and all the other people in between have been there along the way. She’s done most of the grafting but I have to thank so many other people that have contributed to this fabulousness. My father on the other hand wanted absolutely nothing to do with me. He had other kids (shinier and more his style I believe) and got married and still wanted absolutely nothing to do with me.
So a whole lot of life happened for me. Finding out my step dad wasn’t my dad (moved school at 6, Head teacher refers to Richard as “Charlie’s step-dad”, got home, “Mum, What’s a step-dad?”, earth shattering moment)and I had another dad to my sisters (in technical terms they are half but I love them with my whole heart) and then my mum and step dad divorcing and alllllllllll that mess. I got to 14 and thought it was time to meet my dad. My mum asked him and he said…..
That was pretty crushing but I got over it. The best thing I remember from that time in my life was my uncle Pete (non-blood relative but this blog is pointing out why that doesn’t matter) saying that he would be “proud” if I was his daughter. Another male figure in my life Rob and his wife Sam sent me a card saying that they thought the world of me and that it didn’t matter what my dad thought because he didn’t know me like they did.
I got to 15 and three quarters and fully developed my attitude. I decided I was going to meet him whether he knew it or liked it. He is a hairdresser (it’s how my parents met) and owns a salon in a town about 20 miles+ from my home town. So I rang up and booked an appointment under the name of Carrie Taylor. My aunt dropped me off and I went to meet my dad for the first time. I sat in the chair and my heart was racing. He was jokey and seemed nice. Well dressed and nothing how I imagined. I tried to see how he looked like me but it was hard to look for myself in a person.
“So Carrie, is this your first time here?”
“Erm yes it is.”
“Whereabouts are you from?”
“Oh I see, quite far to travel for a haircut, how come you chose to come here?”
“A er my friend Jess recommended it.”
“Oh great, Jess. I know her. How’s she getting on at work?”
“Erm It might be a different Jess.”
I relaxed and he chatted away about stuff, some stuff about my hair and what I wanted and then bits about his own life.
“I thought I was having a heart attack the other day, I was racing my bike and got some terrible chest pains and had to go to hospital”
I was worried then. I thought, Great I am about to give you another one!
“It turned out I had indigestion!”
I breathed a sigh of relief. But I decided I was going to let him discover who I was.
“So Carrie, who normally cuts your hair?”
“My mum. She’s a hairdresser but we always fight over it.”
“Ha just like me with my son. You don’t sound like you are from Kettering are your parents from them originally?”
“Well my mum was from Finedon.” I could see the penny starting to drop but I paused to let him get there himself.
“What’s your mum’s name?”
“You’re not Carrie are you? You’re Charlie, aren’t you?”
Now if you were expecting a fairy tale ending then tough luck they only exist in fairy tales! He was nice at first and apologized for ditching us and never contacting me and all the other stuff.
But then fast forward to now. I am 25 years old. He last spoke to me on the phone a year ago when he rang thinking I was his neighbour. He last saw me 4 years ago when I went for a haircut and he cut all my hair off so I wouldn’t go again to see him. He told me he won’t ever let me meet my brother or sister and generally speaking has come off as a big of a dick.
What have I learnt from this?
I have learnt that blood is only thicker than water in the literal sense and not in the metaphorical family ties thing. This man saw a picture of me as a baby and knew his blood ran through my veins and chose to turn his back on it. He then met this living breathing teenager with thoughts and hopes and aspirations of a relationship and chose to turn his back on it. He met this adult woman that was about to go to University and had a whole grown up life plan but wanted some thread of a relationship and chose to turn his back on it.
Do you have a step-parent that calls you their daughter/son? Can you think of a non-blood relative that does stuff for you without payment or letting you owe them? Are you part of a family of amazing people that care for you? Do you have gay parents that fought to make their house your home? Are you adopted?
Because these I have learnt that THESE are the people that love you. They made it their choice beyond any physical connection or blood tie. I have the most excellent extended family that keeps on getting bigger and better. So dear father….
I don’t need you. I am surrounded by far better examples of fathers and family than you could ever provide.