My mother wanted me to denounce my father, but I never could. He probably deserved her anger; after all, he drank, traveled globally, and was opportunistic with women outside his family. But none of that mattered to me, and it still doesn't. I absolutely loved who he was, and I missed him. He left on a plane when I was only a seven year old girl; yet, he was still my boss, the voice in my head, the questions I raised. He was Godlike in my opinion, and unattainable.
She rallied against him on one day, and then sang his praises on the next. She wanted me to hate him…she wanted me to write him a hateful letter; I look back on those days with guilt and shame. And like most employees with an absentee boss, I made horrendous mistakes while meandering through my early life. I could not, and never will, blame my glorious father. My mother relentlessly punished me for my loyalty.
Dad tried to keep us all in some kind of family setting. He started a business he didn't want, purchased yet another house, and suffered through my mother's angry, and justified, tantrums. After twenty-seven years of tense negotiations, they dissolved their affiliation, and my mother quickly moved on. My stepfather was very good to me, and I respected him. After a few years, my mother moved on again, and I respected my new stepfather; his two children came to live with us. We fought over clothes, chili dogs, and pets, but we loved each other. Something happened between them, and it was all over.
My mother continued her tirades against Dad. I refused to utter one negative word against my father. Once in a while, I would receive a beautiful package, or a nicely written detailed letter. Twice, my dad telephoned from overseas—I was thrilled. I hung on to my beliefs, and I never criticized my father's choices. They were his, and he had reasons beyond my wisdom for what he was doing. My heart was blissfully pure, as long as I refused to tote her baggage.
I feel sorry for children who attack their fathers, and I understand that some men are not worth giving the time of day. However, I have watched perfectly fine, and attainable, fathers suffer their ex wife's wrath via their children. The manipulations, verbal and physical, are difficult for unprepared family members to resist. There is no respect, or any boundaries, just an all out unmitigated hatred, and the fatherly role is diminished to nothing in the midst of mental warfare.
Because my own father was so far away, and there was no internet, or even very reliable international mail, and I could not just pick up the phone and call him up, our separation was complete. I couldn't send him my report card, or ask him for help with my homework. I didn't have his friends, or any access to his relatives. There wasn't any stepmother for me to blame, or cast aspersions upon. And now when I look back into the angry, dark, abyss of my mother's heart, I am thankful she was unable to taint my beliefs.
All of this life experience makes it incredibly hard for me to understand why a child would throw a perfectly good father away, or not fight for him. I am also puzzled by the self righteous hatred steaming off of women who hold the false belief that some war against a child's father will benefit the family in some practical manner, or that it will convince others her mistakes are justified.
Towards the end of my mother's life, she would spend hours at the table looking at photographs and discuss her regrets. She wanted our father to come back stateside, but he had already passed away by then. I will never allow history to repeat itself. My own child understands he is not allowed to question the decisions me and his dad make. He believes in the perfection found only in Jesus Christ; our child will always forgive us in order to find peace in his own heart. He accepts our way of life, friends, and family values.
Any parent that alienates a child from its other parent is simply extracting from that child's self esteem. Wayward mothers who expect their children to tote their angry baggage packed with regret, and jealously, are selfish. Not only that, fathers who are forced to restart their lives should receive everyone's respect, space, and right to privacy.