Happy birthday, Dad?

Today is my dad’s birthday.

It seems like such a simple day wouldn’t bring me so much anguish and frustration, but after all this time…it still does. I wish I didn’t care, but I still do. The question is, what do I do about it?

I posted on his facebook page (that he never logs onto and probably forgot about). Does that absolve me from my duties as a child? To be fair, I can’t remember the last time my dad wished me a happy birthday. I don’t think he even knows when my birthday is. I’m just one more child…the last of his seven daughters, the offspring of wife number five or so, the one child who never even lived with him.

Still, he’s my dad.

He’s getting up there in years, and I know he doesn’t have many birthdays left. I’ll miss him when he’s gone. Hell, I’ve missed him for the past 39 years. We’ve tried to reconcile on multiple accounts but…it’s always so damn awkward. He wants to talk about politics and religion and I just want him to care enough to try to get to know me.

Me. The daughter he’s never known. This sucks so hard.

So here I am, struggling somewhere between the desire to be a better person and exhaustion from trying and caring about that relationship for so long. It’s crazy-difficult to forge a relationship and even a basic conversation with a stranger. So difficult, in fact, that I’d rather write a blog post than pick up the phone and call him.

I don’t know what to do, so I’m just gonna leave this cute little picture of a Happy Birthday wish here and hope it’s enough.  Happy birthday, Dad. Maybe next year we’ll talk.



Published by

Amanda Washington

Amanda Washington loves animals, books, dark chocolate, and red wine. She's always up for a good adventure (real or fictional), and when she's not building imaginary worlds, she's dipping her toes into reality in southwest Washington with her husband and their boys.

5 thoughts on “Happy birthday, Dad?”

  1. Amanda-I’m so sorry about how you’re feeling. I too am the daughter of a man that I thought could have given two shakes about me. I was the child he begrudgingly agreed to let his much younger, second wife have. He already had a daughter and a son and didn’t need another child and all through my life I felt like I was an inconvenience to him. Especially after my parents divorced. I was an every other weekend obligation that he ignored. I tried all my life to be what he wanted and it never worked. When I was 21 he got very mad at me and left me a message on my answering machine telling me how he wished I had never been born, I was a waste of space on the planet and that every breath I took was something I took from someone more deserving. Needless to say we didn’t speak for 20 years. He missed my wedding, the birth of my child and so many other important life events. One day I woke up and told my husband that I needed to let the anger and hurt go. He was getting older and not in good health. I needed to make amends for my own sanity. I wanted to set a good example for my son. I wanted him to meet the other side of his family. So I reached out first with a card. Just a simple I Miss You card. My dad called. We had a lot of short, stilted conversations. Then he met my husband and my son and I saw how happy it made him. I realized then that I had to let all my anger go. I had to remember the fun moments, though they were few, there were a couple. I had to make an effort to include him in my life until it became habit. It wasn’t easy. It still isn’t. But I wanted to at least know I tried. We aren’t best of friends, I don’t call to chat, in fact we only talk maybe once a month, but he can follow my life on Facebook and he can call me or I can call him if we need to. It will never be a touchy, feely or even an outwardly loving relationship. I had to let the little girl who craves a father’s love and approval go. I’m now an adult who, at 43, has a realistic relationship with the man who helped give me life, even if he didn’t contribute much to raising me. My son now knows the rest of his family and he saw my struggle to let my father back into my life and has learned some valuable life lessons on how to deal with his mostly absent father and has come to appreciate what his step-dad brings to his life. I hope you find some peace and a place where you can come to terms with the fact that your dad will never be what you want or need no matter how much you wish for it to be true. I hope you can look at your life and know that what you have is so much more than what he has and that you can reach out once or twice a year and genuinely wish him happiness and go back to your life which gives you what you need. Good Luck. (and I love your books!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing your story, Jennifer. For the most part, I have let go of the little girl who craves her father’s love and approval, but every once in a while, she peeks her needy head out again. It sounds like I’m kinda in the same place you are. I’ve tried to reconcile, but it’s just weird. He sends me occasional emails about politics (that I don’t agree with) and his religion (it’s interesting, but…) and every once in a while I’ll call him and ask a technical question (he was in the Air Force), but yeah. Sometimes it’s a little rougher than other times.

      I’m glad you love my books. Thanks again!


  2. As someone who lost her father (that I feel like I never even began to know) at 21, I will say this. I don’t pretend to know exactly how you feel, I knew my dad loved me, but he never KNEW me…not my interests, my likes/dislikes, nothing. Never knew me as a wife, a mother, or even just as an adult. I’m learning to know him, better late than never. It’s all second-hand though, as awkward as our relationship was, I will never get a second chance to know him. If it’s important to you that he knows you, than meet him on his terms…my dad and I didn’t agree on things, but I listened to his same lessons and stories over and over, and I’d give anything to hear them just once more. He’ll learn how caring you are by your listening, and just maybe you’ll let go of some of the anger and resentment…for you, not him. Love you dear friend, long distance hugs from ) Lakeview!

    Liked by 1 person

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