I let you control my choices long after you quit trying.
I think it’s because you were always 6’5” and I was always 4 years old.
I was terrified of letting you down.
I really only wanted you to like me and not wish I’d never been born.
Because that’s how I felt my entire life.
And I loved you so much, when you told me to jump, I asked how high.
When you said “You don’t get points for trying,” I asked you what GPA proved I was trying.
When, before I left for graduate school at 22 and came into your office (while you were practicing your golf swing on the oriental rug) for advice, you told me (without looking up from your shot):
“You’re the most self-centered person I’ve ever met in my entire life, Jennifer. You begin every sentence with the word ‘I’”.
I didn’t tell you this at the time, but mother’s third husband made my life a living hell with his dogmatic religious statements.
And your second wife insisted Stephanie and I get “therapy” as little girls from those “I’m okay-you’re okay” weirdos we had to see in the late 70s.
Where they taught us to use “I” statements.
And the last thing I wanted was to sound dogmatic when I was asking for advice before I left “home.”
You shattered my heart into a million tiny shards by the way you did or did not acknowledge my presence at the breakfast table during my times in your house.
Multiied by our 30 shared experiences in 53 years.
All I wanted was for you to love me, to see me, to call me your “daughter,” to like me (not as much as your other kids, of course, but just a little).
The biggest hurt of all?
You had to die for me to experience an iota (one of your favorite words) of peace.
Today, Thanksgiving, it’s horrible and evil of me, but I’m most grateful that you’re dead.
And I’m terrified that the truth of this makes me thoroughly irredeemable.
What girl hates and loves her father so much?
You’re right, it was all my fault. I tried and tried and TRIED, but I always failed. If I’d been better, maybe I would’ve been worth talking with instead of at?
Probably not, though.
Do they at least serve turkey with all the trimmings in Hell?