Its a funny day for me, Fathers Day. My Mum had 3 children by 3 different men by the time I was 9 and not one of them made any difference in my life. By the time she married my 2nd Step-dad when I was 10, I suppose I wasn’t really sure how long he was likely to stay in my life, so we didn’t really bond as Father and daughter. With 3 more children born in the next 2 years, I was still my Mum’s right hand, as he worked away a fair bit. He was also an only child and only 14 years older than me, so it was all very strange. He didn’t really understand the dynamics of a big family, and I think he resented that my sisters and brothers loved me as much as him – even though our relationships were completely different. He was their Dad, I was their big Sister. To us kids, it didn’t matter that we had different Dads and it still doesn’t.
The relationship between him and my Mum was volatile, plates with dinner would fly through the air, and smash against the wall, and I would sit on the stairs huddled with several other small children waiting for the yelling to stop. I came home from school one day to find my Mum on the floor, with him with a knife at her throat, and I screamed at him and kicked him to get him away. Another time my Mum locked him in the bedroom and smashed the windscreen of his car with a hammer. I’m not apportioning blame, as I think my Mum was very frustrated that she had all these children and, much as she loved us, she didn’t feel fulfilled. I just do not think they were a good fit.
In time they got divorced…and back together again. And the only way I could make my displeasure known was to boycott the 2nd Wedding. After that they decided to decamp to Wales with the 3 youngest. They bought a house with an acre of land, with grand dreams. They had a goat, a couple of pigs and a tiny orchard but they weren’t very happy. They were on the verge of splitting up again when he was in a motorbike accident on the way home from work.
I found it quite strange that, all of a sudden, he was the love of her life. The grief obviously gave her rose-coloured glasses about their relationship. And that’s fine.
As a grownup I can appreciate that he tried hard to provide for all of us, and that my Mum was not easy to live with either.
Their relationship made me realise what I did want in a partner. I had no real idea what a Father should be. I know you can’t guarantee what is going to happen, but I wanted someone who I could grow with, talk to, laugh with and be my partner. I wanted one man to be the Dad to our children.
I guess I managed to pick pretty well. We have been married 29 years, we still mostly like each other, and our kids adore him.
Happy Fathers Day, Hubby.