I talked about my Dad giving me the “Disowned” treatment in my blog post a couple of Fridays ago in Blog Post # 43: Disowned!!!
To recap, I had skipped school, he got mad and for a month wouldn’t speak to me and pretended I didn’t exist. I couldn’t take it anymore and ran away from home, but decided after a week it wasn’t such a good idea. So I tried to sneak back home late one night, and he woke up as I was coming in the front door, caught me, gave me a big hug (in his underwear!), and told me he was glad I was home. After that I was back in the family.
HOWEVER — he and I never spoke of that incident again. He never apologized or admitted he was wrong to me. I never apologized or admitted I was wrong to him.
So I was surprised and overwhelmed to find a comment to my “Disowned!!!” post from my niece Karla, giving me my Dad’s feelings and conclusion about disowning me. Reading her comment, I could hear Dad’s voice in my head, admitting he learned the hard way he made a mistake. And explaining how hard it is for Dads to admit that. Hard to believe I finally get his side of the story 51 years later, and 25 years after he died.
What an awesome gift my niece gave me with her story! Here is her comment:.
Thank you for sharing the story of this difficult time in your life. I have to be very honest… I laughed when I read about Grandpa standing there in his underwear because I too have had that same exact underwear hug late at night tip toeing through his house. The sight of him was shocking.
I was 14. I needed a safe place to decompress. Gege brought me to their house.
It was late at night, I had been crying and I went to the kitchen looking for something to eat but I didn’t know where anything was and I was making too much noise in the dark so I decided I should go back to bed. Grandpa heard me and came out of his room.
Grandpa stood in the door way between the kitchen and the big room with the booby lady picture over the fireplace. He called out my name just as I had cleared the front door and I slowly turned around froze and then I fell apart. He just opened his arms, walked over and hugged me. He walked me to the kitchen and fixed me ham in his underwear. In his underwear!!! Then he realized I was staring wide eyed at him in his underwear and went and put on his Robe.
Grandpa sat with me and told me the story about a daughter he caught coming through the front door after she ran away and I was too scared to ask who it was because my anxiety was through the roof.
I think Grandpa came full circle in that moment when he saw me at the front door and he remembered that moment with you. He used your story as an example of how Dads don’t get it right a lot of times and they end up learning the hard way from their mistakes even though they never admit it. He was very firm with his words “Dads don’t get to make mistakes. It’s not an option.”
I love your beautiful honesty and your brave approach to life. Thank you for continuing to inspire the journey of unconditional love by sharing and thank you for paving the way. 14 year old me, really, really needed that moment!!!
LESSON LEARNED: Don’t hesitate to admit when I’m wrong.
LESSON LEARNED: Actions still speak louder than words. Even without knowing exactly what my Dad was thinking until years later, at the time his hug told me all I needed to know.
LESSON LEARNED: Family history holds treasures, explanations, and the truth that sometimes only a distant perspective can give about an experience.
LESSON LEARNED: Share your stories. Only then could Karla and I both learn, even after all these years, that we each held but a piece of an even larger — and now more complete — story.
It took two to put the pieces together.
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