Dear Dad, Dear Dad’s Wife, and Dear Mom

Dear Dad:

You cheated on my mom, and you threatened to kill her, and you arrogantly believed you could keep ALL the family assets and leave her with nothing, and you’ve stubbornly lied about it for the last six years.

A lie repeated over the period of years does not magically become the truth. Yelling the lie similarly does not make it true. I know you are used to thinking that louder is better, but it’s really not when it comes to lying.

You’d have been better-served with a bit of faux penitence and theatrical nuance, but… I know that’s not your style.

I’m nearly thirty now and I know people don’t have a new live-in lover two weeks after the ex moves out unless there was some serious hanky-panky going on beforehand.

So please stop insulting my intelligence. It makes me question yours.

“Well, that’s all water under the bridge,” you say? True. We can be friends, but you can never be The Patriarch again. That traditional family, that Father Knows Best thing, is for people who stand by their vows, not for people who act unforgiveably and then lie about it. Your opinions about how I should live MY life now hold as much weight as my hillbilly neighbor lady’s. I may still like you but I’ll never trust you again. You can forget about spending any unsupervised time with my children.

And your wife is not their grandma. Get that through your head.

Dear Dad’s Wife:

I used to be really mad at you, but now I just feel sorry for you. You tried to harvest someone else’s field, thinking you could reap a big happy June Cleaver kind of gig. I STILL can’t believe you gigglingly introduced yourself as “our new mommy.” How naive, how unbelievably thoughtless, were YOU?

Well, that didn’t work out, did it? That kind of proud family is for people who, again, act with integrity and you cannot now magically have that. Your family-building years passed you right by.

Your own daughter is strung out on pills– if you and she are so messed up, why WOULD I want any part of a “daughter” relation with you? Also, your husband may in fact be my children’s grandfather but you are not their grandmother. Come up with some other term. ….Like your name.

I do appreciate the fact that at my last chance meeting with you, you respectfully acknowleged that I hardly even know you and thus cannot be expected to love or trust you. That’s an insight you should have had about seven years ago, but better late than never!

Dear Mom:

Thanks for being cool about me trying to work things out with Dad. My feelings about him remain complex, as do yours, to some extent. It’s not as easy as cutting him out, vs accepting him just as he presents himself.

I know he completely upended your life, and I know it must have stung a bit, when I said I’d called him or seen him, but the entire time you always said, “you only have one Dad and you should have the best relationship with him possible.” You didn’t complain about him a quarter as much as you probably could’ve.

The stupid “stepfamily” books say you should have said the same thing about Dad’s Wife, but… given the circumstances I understand that was asking way, way too much.

Don’t worry; I’m not going anywhere. 🙂 I know who did the right thing when the chips were down.

~ by Stepfamily Letter Project on March 17, 2011.

3 Responses to “Dear Dad, Dear Dad’s Wife, and Dear Mom”

  1. This is one-third horrible, one-third sad, and one-third awesome…that goes in order. =) My heart goes out to you, and the funny thing is, you could be one of my kids writing from ten years in the future.

  2. I send hugs. I could have written this too. It was so hard for my mom so understand my need to give my dad a chance after everything he did to her but she supported me AND she again was there for me when it fell like a crashing bolder. And she never once said I told you so even though she could have.

  3. “True. We can be friends, but you can never be The Patriarch again. That traditional family, that Father Knows Best thing, is for people who stand by their vows, not for peopl2e who act unforgiveably and then lie about it.”

    Thanks for that one. It is beautifully formulated and expresses exactely what I have on my heart.

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