By: Alyssa Cutt
Growing up Without a Dad
Life is hard enough growing up with ADHD, Bipolar, and a little bit of OCD. Oh, and on top of all of that mess, I grew up with an absent Father who decided that he did not want to take care of a baby. Well, he made that decision a little too late because there was no going back. My Mom was forced to be a single parent because my Father was not around. When I was younger, I never really noticed that I did not have a Father around. My Mom made the right decision not to explain it to me until I get older. I will never hold that against her because she knows what is best for me.
When did you start to notice that you did not have a Father around? I really started to notice something was off in elementary school. Every year they would have Father related things at school but my Grandpa would always be the one to go. I do not remember when I started asking questions, but my curiosity towards the subject kept growing. My Grandpa or as I like to him “Papa” was very quick to make sure I never missed out on any Father related things, because of my deadbeat Father who was not in my life. My Papa took over the role of being a Dad related figure towards me when it came to missing out on stuff, but because he is such an amazing Grandpa he never really had to play as big of a role as a Father figure.
My Mom on the other hand had such a hard time because she had me when she was 21 so she decided to drop out of school for a little bit, then she went back to school to become an X-ray technician. She had an extremely hard time trying to raise me especially since I had a severe case of ADHD and Bipolar. My Mom had no choice but to stay and live with her parents (my Grandparents) because she had no money and was trying to raise a baby. My Mom went through so many horrible daycare centers until she found the right one. To add to the pile of money problems my Mom had. My Father refused to pay child support so he had been arrested a couple of times for not paying it. He filed for bankruptcy numerous times to try to get out of paying child support.
When my Mom finally decided to tell me everything about my Father it all made sense why I grew up differently than a lot of my friends. It was easier to get through because I had my Mom and my Grandparents right there every step of the way. As I got older it got harder and harder to get through. Then at the end of my Freshman year of High School I got a letter in the mail from my Cousin on Father's side. In the letter she talked about how she wanted to get in touch with me for some kind of science project. Then the next day my Father texted my Mom asking if he can see me.
My Mom told him “I will talk to her, but she will be the one to make the decision.”
Which really irritated me because instead of my Father being the first one to reach out to me it was my Cousin on his side of the family. I had a lot of thinking to do on whether or not I wanted to meet him.
Finally, I came to a decision, after a lot of thinking. I told my Mom that I wanted to meet my Father but, I told her she has to come with me. She told me she was going to go with me no matter what. So, my Mom set up a day with my father for us to meet each other for the first time ever in 14 years. I was excited to meet my Dad because I thought “this is going to be a happy Father and Daughter reunion,” I thought “there is going be this instant connection.” Little did I know that what I had thought would happen was just a fairytale. My Mom told me it was not going to be anything like that but, in the back of my mind I had a glimpse of hope that it would.
The day was coming up faster than I could even comprehend. Then finally it was time to meet my Father for the first time. I remember getting ready then my Mom and I got into the car to meet him at Max & Erma's. As we got closer and closer to the restaurant my heart began to race like a stampede of elephants. I began to shake like there was an earthquake within me.
“I am really nervous” I said to my Mom.
she told me “It will be ok and if you want to, we can always leave.”
So, I sat there impatiently waiting for us to get there so I could get this over with. All of a sudden, I looked up and there it was Max & Erma's. Then we pulled into the parking lot.
My Mom said “Are you ready?”
“Not really but let's do this.” I said very nervously.
As we walked in, I scanned the restaurant for him but it is really hard to look for someone that you do not know, it is like meeting a stranger for the first time except I am related to him by blood. I do not even remember walking to the table, the only thing I remember was him holding flowers and saying to me
“Hi I am Bill, your Father.”
All I could do was smile very timidly and say “Hi.”
He said “Please take a seat” like he owned the place, or like I was here for a job interview.
But this felt even more awkward than a job interview, and the only thing I kept thinking is “this is nothing like I thought it would be.” He started off asking me questions about me and I kindly answered them, while thinking in the back of my mind “if you would have been in my life you would know this.” He asked me so many questions about myself.
Then things got awkward and intense.
I asked him “Why did you leave?”
He said “I left because I was stupid and immature.”
I thought “Well that is a lame answer.” Then he started crying and apologizing for everything he did and apologizing for leaving.
I just sat there not knowing what to say and the only thing I said is “No matter what you do you will never be able to make up the 14 years of my life that you were not in it.”
He said “I know.”
After everything was all said and done, he gave me his number and we went our separate ways.
A few months later, I went out to dinner with him by myself and I have not seen him since. He started sending me gifts but did not send one on my birthday, he stopped paying child support, he texted me every day like those 14 years of him not being there did not even happen. The whole thing just felt wrong he showed up to a few of my color guard performances with his wife and I just was taken back by everything. Then eventually I stopped answering his texts because I felt like everything was wrong. He was gone for so long and I just did not understand why he decided now was the time for him to try to be a part of my life.
Five years later on April 22nd, 2019 my Mom called me into her room to tell me something.
I said “What’s up,”
My Mom said “Your Dad just had a baby girl with his wife.”
My jaw dropped to the floor and I was so angry I just did not understand how he could have another kid when he could not even take care of me. After everything I have been through with my Dad, it made me realize that the reason everything felt so wrong when he was trying to be a part of my life was because, I already had everything I needed right there in front of me. My Grandparents, Mom, and Dogs were all the family I ever needed to feel complete. I decided not to talk to him anymore because I do not need him in my life, and I got all the answers I wanted that night. I learned that you never know how much you have till you take another look.
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