Happy Fathers Day.

I’m having a bit of a wobbly, excuse me.

Growing up I felt like my dad wasn’t around much, probably because he wasn’t.  He was a contractor and went where the money was.  Which meant that my brother Brandon was the man of the house at the age of 9 or something.  He was the only meat eater really, so whenever he got sick of the scrambled eggs on toast we practically lived on, he would braai a piece of boerie on a candle.  Because he was too small to know how to start an actual braai, and between my mother and I we were pretty useless with anything related to something a man should do.

So Brandon learnt how to do it all.  He shocked himself a few times learning to rewire plugs, made sure all the light bulbs were in reach by letting them hang down on a wire from the ceiling and I remember he even created his own DV board once, with a piece of chipwood, a few light bulbs and a light switch.  It was rad.  But it was also sad.

Of course, in those days my family didn’t have much money.  And although there was always love, there were far too many tears too.  Of course, a lifestyle like this couldn’t lead to a very successful marriage, so when my parents announced their imminent divorce, I can’t say I was really surprised.  After a few months of not seeing my dad, when I did I cried too much to even enjoy it.  His home was cold, he had no furniture, he was permanently depressed and basically it just sucked.  Until he met the woman of his dreams who brought love and light into his life, I really avoided seeing my father as much as I could.

Two or three years later, after not seeing my dad for most of that time, my mother had remarried and Kev had stepped in for much of my fathers role.  It was tough at first, he had a whole new way of discipling us kids and that was something I was not used to.  The first time he told my brothers to pick a stick* I nearly died of shock.  But we got into the whole “new dad” thing eventually.  Or at least, Brandon and I did, Darryn hated Kev from the start and it only got worse as he got older, and the saddest thing is that it was completely mutual.

When Kiera came along Kev and I really bonded for the first time ever.  It went from hellos and goodbyes to proper conversations and advice and laughter and mutual respect.  Kev became my go-to guy for most things, choices, ideas, dreams, plans and thoughts.  I’d run it by him and because he was the most stable man in my life at the time, I hung on every word he said.  His advice was well thought out and usually always made sense.

When Kiera died, it was Kev who carried me to the car and took me home.  The first time I came home drunk, it was Kev who carried me up the stairs and calmed my shrieking mother down.  The first time I had a boyfriend, it was Kev who banned me from closing my bedroom door.  The first time I got grounded, it was Kev who helped me sneak back inside the house when he caught me climbing through the bedroom window at two in the morning.

It was a long and bumpy ride, but after a few years, Kev was as much a father to me as my father was.  Just for different reasons.  My dad and I have always had a weird friendly kind of relationship, and have never really been close despite that I know he loves me to death, and I him, but he’s never been much of a father in my life, more like an older cousin or uncle I get along really well with.  I’ve never asked his permission for anything, and in tough times unfortunately I’ve never needed to ask his advice.  Even though I know that if I had, he would do his best to be there for me, I just never felt comfortable doing it.  In that way, I’m glad that my youngest sister Ash came along, because although Dad was always tight with my brothers, he kind of missed out with me and my growing up, but got to do it properly with Ash.  It’s sad, but its true.

Kev got me, Dad got Ash.  Two dads with two daughters that didn’t come from their own loins.

But now it’s all changed.  For some reason, in Kev divorcing my mom, he chose to divorce us kids too.  I haven’t spoken to him since our holiday in December, and that was strained enough.  When I went down in March for Wok’s birthday I could barely look him in the eye.  For Kev’s birthday in April, I couldn’t even bring myself to call him.  A generic sms was sent out with a generic thank you response. There have been times when all I wanted to do was pick up the phone and say hi, but the thought of what is going on with my mom prevents me, and I know that he’s not the same man he was when I was 19.  He doesn’t know me.  I don’t know him.  We’ve lost touch and I didn’t even know how much this bothered me until this morning.

I woke up and in the excitement of Jon running around looking for something to wrap up his dad’s gift with I realized that it would be inappropriate to sms Kev a fathers day sms.  And although I phoned my dad to wish him and secretly hoped he would cheer me up and fill the gap, he didn’t.  I felt a sense of sadness that overwhelmed me so much that when Jon looked at me questioningly, I burst into big fat overwhelming tears.  It hit me like a ton of bricks.  I’ve lost the one  fatherly father I’ve ever really known.

And that’s just fucking terrible.

* This was his #1 choice of punishment.  The kids had to pick a stick for their hiding.  The choice was more torturous than the act.  Too thin and you’d get double the smacks, too thick and it would hurt too much, a lot of pressure for a twelve year old.

** I didn’t want to publish this.  I’m terrified my dad reads this and feels like he’s failed me.  This isn’t what this post is about.  It’s about a girl who still feels like a child sometimes and the fact that her 2nd father is leaving her too has just hit home.

12 comments

  1. Shona says:

    Wow S. Big sentiments. Not easy to deal with or process so much of that. Kudos to you for putting it all down. **This too shall pass**

  2. skirbs says:

    This post could actually have been written by me. The above life story is mine, minus the little brother. My father is great for drinking with and sharing stories. That’s about it really. My ex step father was a fantastic dad. My life coach and best friend. These days I have neither and I feel your pain. I have recently managed to bridge the gap and make contact with the ex step father, but i often feel like the relationship is too strained to maintain. There is no point really, as we don’t really know each other anymore. Sometimes i wonder if the fathers- ex or biological- feel like we do about relationships lost… Thinking of you, and if you’ll excuse the cliche, thank you for making me feel like i am not alone. I still wonder sometimes why nobody wants to be my dad.

  3. Mam says:

    I have no words my child except I am sorry and I love you, I will never ever leave you or your three bothers ever. You four are my life.

  4. Briget says:

    Dammit!!

    Men can be so bloody dense when it comes to feelings!

    Just hang in there Sheena, you may find Kev is having a tough time dealing with his emotions and Your Dad is uncertain of what role you want him to play.. but that is a complete shot in the dark . I am probably wrong but its a possibility..

    ((hugs))<– in the meantime I send tons of these even though I know it probably wont do much in making things better.

  5. Momcat says:

    I too am sorry that you are feeling so hurt about this breakup with Kev. As someone said above, men are dense about feelings and it could be that Kev feels that with him and your mom going through a divorce, you kids no longer consider him to be connected to the family, since he wasn’t your birth father. Maybe he doesn’t realise just how much him being there for you during your formative years has meant to you. Sometimes its hard but maybe you should just speak your feeling plainly to him. At least either way you will know how he feels and vice versa.

  6. Po says:

    Shit Sheebs that is too complicated and hectic for me to even understand. I hop you and your step dad can find a way to have a relationship.

  7. flarkus says:

    Good luck lady. I hope you can find a way around the awkwardness with your stepdad, cos it sounds like you need to have him around sometimes. Perhaps there will be an opportunity to talk things through sometime

  8. Angel says:

    Darling Sheen, from someone who has never lost her dad through death or divorce, I can’t imagine your heartache.

    Big hugs.

  9. Ash to the nizzle, cos im cool like that yo! says:

    your right sheen, ur dad would be soooo hurt if he had to read this…

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