Generally speaking, most of us would feel this underlying need to forgive a parent in their exceeding absence.
We’d accept their minimal, sporadic attempts at communicating with us– their child. And those around us expect us–the child– to overlook our insecurities. Overlook our hurt. Overlook our anger. Even overlook our longing.
We’d allow these strangers into our spaces with open arms.
Needless to say, we’re still battling the neglect. We’re still hurting and still processing the confusing abandonment.
Maybe out of a hint of guilt?
You know–we’d try to overlook the years without them and then compensate with frequent outreach. We’d feel this obligatory need to save-face and start a relationship, on their terms.
In part one of Redirected Reconciliations, I foreshadowed my relationship with two men. One being my absentee, biological dad, and the other being the fill-in (for lack of a better term). As confusing and sticky as my parental structure is, I wanted to share a portion of it with you.
This summer my biological dad reached out to me. This was the first time I’d heard from him since I was 18. At first, numbness took over me. I didn’t know what to feel. I’m always trying to turn the other cheek and often put others before me “because it’s the right thing to do”. So I played the brief game of “catch up”, but it didn’t feel right.
I checked in with myself and told myself I didn’t have to rush to his calls, or rush to him wanting to be in my life, now.
I felt bad, you know, because he’s blood. I needed to give myself enough time to process everything. When people just pop in and out of your life, especially family, you’re then placed into these multidimensional roles: sister, daughter, aunt, granddaughter… all to people whom you don’t really know.
And I think it’s appropriate to do a little self validating in situations like this. Don’t do something your heart’s not completely in just because you don’t want to let anyone down or because others try to defend their absence.
Don’t feel obligated to do anything on someone else’s time.