It’s no secret that my dad and I have had what could be described as a tempestuous relationship. Him and my mum split up when I was just two because he had cheated on her. My teens were spent travelling to London, where he lived, on the weekends to spend time with him and my sister, who at the time was only around 5 years old.
It was at a time when I was very depressed and I often spent my time at his house crying and wanting to be back with my mum. My dad took it very personally and his misunderstanding of my mental illness just pushed me further away from him. He would often tell me to ‘snap out of it’ and to ‘just stop it’. I couldn’t do this, and so I ended up not going to my dad’s at the weekend.
I was always jealous of my dad’s relationship with both my brother and my sister. They all loved football and supported Arsenal. I was a girly girl and hated football. They would all enjoy the same things and I would be the outsider, never a part of the family.
When I got a little older I barely saw my dad at all, and in fact it was only when I had the children that my dad became a part of my life again. Despite the fact that my dad hated that I had got pregnant during my university degree, mainly as he was convinced it would stop me from graduating, having grandchildren definitely mellowed my dad. He confesses himself that he doesn’t do well in the child phase of growing up, but the kids do enjoy seeing him, and he’s getting better at spending quality time with the children.
My mum and dad got back together a couple of years ago, after 22 years apart. I was happy for them but recently this fell apart again when it turned out my dad was back with somebody else.
One of the main things that has worried me about my dad for a long time is that I will end up turning out to be like him. Now, being a little more mature and world weary, I understand that turning out like him wouldn’t be the end of the world. Although my dad likes a drink so much that he made himself ill, and my drinking sometimes gets a little out of control, I can spend an enjoyable evening drinking Prosecco and bitching with my sister because of it.
Although my dad has cheated, and in the past I have as well, I have learned from this and know now that you don’t cheat if you are truly happy in your relationship. With Ed I know I won’t cheat because I truly love him and can be myself with him.
Yes my dad can be considered a bad influence, and yes I do find it difficult to not have a close relationship with him. But ultimately, he is still my dad. He helped bring me into this world and he tries his best, in his own, slightly immature way, to be there for us. In the end, he has taught me some important life lessons which have helped me to be the person I am today. And for that I am grateful.