I’m still a little rattled about not being called on Father’s Day by my daughter.
For those not in the know, the Rugrat lives in Ontario and I only get to see her a couple of times each year (normally once in the summer and once in the winter). She just turned 10 in January and has been having a pretty rough time this year making friends at a new school and (seemingly) going through an early puberty.
So after waiting until Monday night to see if she would call, I sent an email to her mom on Tuesday morning. I told her how hurt I was and basically put it all out there.
I’m hurt…I’m missing her like crazy…I’m constantly regretting ever agreeing to let her move…I’m sad…I’m confused. I explained why I felt the way I felt and that I wasn’t sure where Rugrat’s head was, so that made me question myself as a father.
Here is the (lengthy) response:
Todd, I totally understand what you are saying.
Let me just tell you that you are not alone. Rugrat did not say Happy Father’s Day to (CBG edit: her stepfather…to be known going forward as Steps) or give him anything, either. She decided not to stay home for the majority of the day. We did not even see her for the most part. I let her go to her friends for a sleep over on Sat. and told her that she was to be home early in the morning because it was Father’s Day and we all wanted to do something together. She did not come home until a little after lunch……Steps told me to just let her do what she wants because he was hurt as well and did not want to make her stay home because that would make him feel that the only reason she was with us was because we made her.
I call it her ” You just don’t care” stage. Just to confirm with you that I did bring it to her attention that she should have called you. I know that it probably hurts 10 times more than Steps because you are so far away. The only thing that I can say to both of you is this is one of those “nasty” stages in growing up that we all need to try to deal with and hope it passes as quick as possible. I feel really bad that all these things are getting to you the way that they are.
I hope you know that Rugrat is not mad at you for anything at all, she is not upset with you, or anything along those lines. If it helps….she did not say Happy Mother’s Day to me either, nor did I get anything. However, Steps did make her stay home for awhile so we could all go out, and I did feel bad because I did feel like she was there, not because she wanted to but because she was made to.
Not to try to turn this around and make this all about me but I hope that you and Steps both realize that I am stuck in the middle of this circle. Because I feel bad and guilty for you…..and then for Steps….and then I feel bad for myself. I try so hard to make things better and to try to make everyone happy, so no one has to feel the way you are feeling right now. I totally understand why you two come to me first though, that is perfectly understandable, I am glad that you do. This “stage” is so hard because it makes me realize that I cannot be her friend, I have to be her mom.
Again Todd, I am so sorry for the way you are feeling. If you would like me to talk to her about this and the way you are feeling I will do that for you. Just know that Rugrat loves you very much. Right now, in her eyes, her friends need to come first.
I hope that you are not upset with me as I need you as well on my side, for all these nasty “stages” that she is going to be going through.
I gotta be honest…I’m not sure how to digest this. Her and I get along well and have always been really good at keeping each other informed on how Rugrat’s doing and what she’s going through. So if this is her interpretation of events, then I believe her.
But should I push things? Should I stress her job as Rugrat’s mom to “force” her to call me or to arrange a phone schedule? I mean, the last thing I want to do is have Rugrat resent me or roll her eyes thinking…“Jeez…my DAD is on the phone AGAIN.”
The whole thing just breaks my heart, though. I’m CERTAIN that in Rugrat’s eyes, she’s just enjoying the summer and everything’s fine. But it hurts…ESPECIALLY knowing (sit down for this one) that she won’t be coming to visit this summer.
Due to financial restrictions (it’s her mom’s turn to pay for the trip), Rugrat won’t be able to come visit for a couple of weeks like she normally does. Yes, it really sucks. REALLY sucks. I’ve had a few weeks to digest the news so I’m not as hurt or angry as I was initially, but Father’s Day just increased those feelings again.
She’ll be spending Christmas with me…which is awesome. I just saw her in March for two weeks…which was fantastic. I need to emphasize the positive aspects and try to not stress the negatives.
She’s 10. I just don’t know what to do right now. Do I push the issue? Do I let her enjoy her summer now that she’s finally found friends after an entire school year of feeling isolated and on the outside looking in?
When I was her age my parents made me go to church every Sunday. It got to the point that I didn’t want to go to church anymore (and I still don’t go to this day). I don’t want to force her to call me. I want her to WANT to talk to me.
So do I just put on a brave face and let her come to me when she’s ready?