Paternal

Mugger: “I DO love my daughter, I love her very much, I love her so much that it’s easier just being stoned. It’s not like I can overcome every tragic flaw I have. It’s just not possible, you know?”
Joey: “So she comes to you in 15 years and asks you why you couldn’t get over yourself for her and what do you say?”
Mugger: “Grow up. Get on with your life. Don’t blame me.”

Mugger: “Hey, Do you think she’ll ever forgive me?
Joey: “Your daughter? …My 10th birthday. My father takes me to the park. And if you knew Mike Potter you’d know that was a pretty big deal, I mean, he never really had time for stuff like that. But he took me and we played for hours. Jungle gym, swings, everything. And I was so happy. And he was so popular with the people there and everyone seemed to know him. I was so proud to be his daughter. He was like the mayor or something. It wasn’t until years later that I realized he was dealing drugs to them. My point is, my dad did a lot of crappy stuff…He let me and my sister down time and time again. So many times and in so many ways it became funny. But you know what? That day in the park, it still goes down in the books as my favorite day ever.”

[S5, E15. Downtown Crossing. Dawson’s Creek]

I have been meaning to write about my dad since I’ve been back from MA, but then I always try to just push the hurt away. My dad used to be my everything. I was the epitome of “daddy’s little girl” and no matter what anyone told me about him, he was perfect in my eyes. I used to be able to talk to him about everything, and he would help me through any problems that I was having, he told me that he would do anything for me.

I was having a lot of problems with my mom around the time I was a freshman in high school, so one night with tears in my eyes, I called him and asked if I could move in with him. The next day he talked to my mom and in what seemed like no time at all, he made it happen. Things weren’t as happily-ever-after as they had once been, but I was a typical teenager. Of course I wasn’t going to tell my dad about my boyfriends and no way was I going to tell him that I had a sex life.

When I was about 17. My family talked about moving to Massachusetts. But my grandma didn’t want to go, and neither did I. Basically, only my Dad and my Papa really did want to leave. My sisters wanted to start junior high and high school with their friends, and my grandma’s entire support system was here. So was mine, since my dad and I had grown away from our daddy’s girl days. If she was staying, then so was I! And while my dad and I weren’t close, we weren’t exactly distant. My grandma always kept him in check when it came to my feelings. But then, right after Christmas, my grandma died.

After that it seemed like the men in the family were in an even bigger rush to leave California behind, to leave the pain behind. But I decided that I was going to follow my dreams, in California, and follow up what my grandma wanted. I stood up to my dad and I told him that I wasn’t leaving. As soon as I told him, it was like a light switch. He was no longer my father. He no longer cared about anything that had to do with me. He pushed me out of his thoughts and out of the family. I no longer was invited to do even the simplest things like have dinner with my dad and my sisters.
And I grew to hate him because of that. My mom had moved out of state shortly after I moved away from her, and that family was all I really had. He was detaching from me because I was strong enough to make the right decision for my life. I couldn’t stand to even look at the man that he became after she died. It was pathetic. He was so self-involved, trying to console his pain any way that he could except for the way that was going to help. He turned away from his family. And he is still struggling with that, as he is now excommunicating my younger sister in the same way.

Six months after she died, they drove across the country to their new home in Leicester, Massachusetts. I’ve been back there twice, once each year at Christmas. But when he left we never resolved anything, I didn’t even cry. He just left. And every time that I go back we fight. We don’t try to work it out, because I tried so much to reconcile during those six months. But I hadn’t done anything wrong, and he was only bringing my self-esteem down. So I let go. We only talk for business, such as my car or the house or taxes, because he still demands to claim me on his taxes. Other than that, we speak maybe once a month.

But every time that I see the episode where Joey tries to understand why her dad is the way that he is, I break down. Because I have a Joey day, where I thought my dad was the greatest dad in the whole world, and I still like to remember him like that. And because I don’t want to hate him, I just want to know why he can’t love me. And because if he asked me to forgive him and genuinely showed his love, I would forgive him. Without a doubt.