So my family structure is a little complicated. I have a brother and a sister who are my half siblings – although I have never and will never refer to them as this. My stepdad came into my life when I was a toddler. My parents had separated before I was 1 and my Mum had a lot of difficulties with my Dad at the time. I remember visits when I was young, he would turn up to pick me up and I would have to walk pretty far to the bus stop and then maybe on a train and some more the other end. Sometimes I was put on the bar of his push bike and we would cycle to his place. When I think of this I know I would never let T do this but I guess people weren’t so safety conscious back then. I remember we would visit his Mum and Dad,my Grandad was called Danny and was Irish, his mum was called Eileen. They loved me and looked forwards to my visits a lot. The thing is I didn’t get to go very often so sometimes I would come away with my last 2 Christmas and birthday presents! My Grandad drank a lot, I never thought of it as a bad thing when I was little but he was always going to the tavern and would often get back late. When I would wake up in the morning he would be slumped at the kitchen table with a coffee and a cigarette. I just used to think he was always up early. I used to roll his cigarettes for him in a rolling machine too. Again looking back why did no one tell me this was not an appropriate thing for a child to be doing?!
Anyway the visits gradually got less and less and I would usually get let down at least once before he actually showed up. I would get a late birthday card with £5 in, if anything and it would usually be once a year he would show up. When it got to 2 years and he rang I was 18 and had been moved out over a year, he knew nothing about me and I wanted to keep it that way. We argued and I told him I wanted nothing more to do with him.
10 years passed and then one day a text. “I miss you I always think of you Dad” I don’t know what right he thought he had to call himself Dad after all that time but he had text to tell me my Grandad had died. I was sad as although I hadn’t seen them in a long time I was always fond of my Grandparents and even though my childhood memories of them weren’t always age appropriate I was always well looked after with them and I would have maybe liked the opportunity to have more of a relationship with then.
Nothing came of the texts and we never met up then last year a Facebook request from a woman I’ve never met telling me she is my Father’s partner and he misses me and would like to be part of my life again. The thing is now too much time has passed, I have a child and I couldn’t have her going through the let down and upset I did. I remember as a child sitting with my coat and shoes on ready to go and him calling to say he wouldn’t be coming. Then my mother taking the phone off of me and screaming down it at him. It wasn’t pleasant and I will never let my baby be treated like that.
So still I have no contact and still I block the messages and numbers and this is my choice. At my wedding the only real father figure I’ve ever had my Step dad Colin gave me away. He looked after me from the moment I got in that car as much as I knew he would by using his sense of humour. As I gripped onto his arm for dear life walking down that aisle I couldn’t have felt prouder to have him there.
When we registered to marry I was told unless he was married to my Mum he couldn’t go on my marriage certificate as my father. I was devastated. There was no way I was putting that pathetic excuse for a father on there when I hadnt even seen him since I was 16. Because of this I had to leave my father’s name blank. Surely I should have the choice to put who I want on there and not have to be told that someone who has been there through it all for me since I was tiny would not be allowed on my legal document. I found it unfair and still do.
So family is tricky, I would have maybe liked more of a relationship with my Grandparents but being a child I never had that option, when his contact stopped so did my visits to them. I’ve got a half sister out there somewhere I know nothing about apart from her first name and lots of cousins that I don’t have contact with either. The thing is my relationship with my Stepdad isn’t what I would say is close either now, he lives a few hours away and has his own life now with a new partner and we dont speak all that much. I try to keep in contact with him but everyone has their own lives these days. It’s the same with my brother and sister, she is living in New York and my brother is at Uni. Unless I initiate conversation with any of them I don’t have contact.
So I guess the purpose of this blog, people taking family for granted. People who have close knit families an don’t realise just how good they have it. Whether you are young or old family takes work, just as much as friendship does, you aren’t born with a bond that will never be broken it takes effort on both sides so love the family you do have because not everyone is so lucky.