Just a note...alot of this is about my father. Things I've never written before...things I've rarely shared before. It's not pretty.
Well, today is Father's Day. Just like Mother's Day, Steve and I had so many expectations for this day. Expectations that have not been lived up to. I still remember the first time I told Steve I was pregnant. We both cried...I was scared to tell him...we hadn't exactly planned it. We were both so excited. Then the miscarriage happened. Devastation on both our parts. Then, 7 months later, I walk out of the bathroom to tell him again. We weren't trying, but weren't weren't trying. We had so much fun imagining what life was going to be like. When we found out it was a boy, Steve couldn't even wait til the ultrasound was finished before he started texting people. Kiernan was going to be his mini me. I know Steve was/is somewhat nervous about being a dad. I know there are reservations there, about doing what's right, what's fun, and raising a good human being. I definitely have those same reservations. I remember on the way to the hospital with Kiernan, he thought I was over reacting. He wouldn't tell me that til later. I tend to freak out sometimes. But deep down, I knew something wasn't right. I remember him holding me tight when we found out. I remember how protective he became of anyone who spoke to me or had anything to do with me.
For me, Steve becoming a dad had a different feeling for me. It was a chance of redemption for something I never had. To be able to give my child a father who cares, a father who is going to be fair but fun, a father that is going to give a rip one way or another....that's something I could give my child by Steve being their father.
I grew up with a father, not a dad. I don't remember him being at piano recitals or softball games. I don't remember him being present. I do remember my mom having to shush us because he worked swing shift and we better not wake him up because he'd be angry. That never hit home to me til later. The older I got, I remember being scared of my dad in a different way than my mom. Mom meant business, and you did what she said, or you knew that you'd get in trouble. With him, it was different. I can't put it into words, but it was something akin to fear. Of what, I was never exactly sure. Until one day. I was away for the weekend with a friend. When we got back to her house, her step dad told me Mom had called and I needed to go home. Now. At home, my mom and granny met me on the front porch. I remember my mom was black and blue. I was told to be as quiet as possible and grab what I needed for a few days. This was the first of many times. My dad went into rehab. Mom made us go visit and go to counseling there to learn about alcoholism and talk about our feelings. Rebekah was in college by now, so most of the time it was just me. Counseling did no good for me. Not there. In my opinion, it was very "oh the poor alcoholic...we should feel sorry for them in their disease". BS. While it may develop into a "disease" of sorts...no one ever made him pick up a drink. No one held a gun to his head until he continued with the Wild Turkey. Living in a small town, every one knew what was going on. I was so embarrassed. I remember when I left for college, I thought, wow...no one is going to know me as Rick Ryser's daughter.
Things escalated when my mom filed for divorce. So many things happened. The church we went to, which was one of the bigger churches in our town, told my mom that divorce wasn't an option...she should take her vows seriously. I left that church. It's one thing to take your vows seriously. She didn't take them for random beatings. Sometime during this time, I told my mom and my sister that he didn't just hit mom. I never wanted to tell...he always promised it would get worse if she knew. I think because he knew that would be the end and she'd leave for good. We did. I remember backing out of the garage, clutching a box of Frosted Mini Wheats (random memory huh) with him beating on the car windows saying he'd win. We went to my grandparent's house. We had a rental house next door that we could move into, we just had to get the tenants out, and do some major cleaning first. Through out this time, things got bad. Really bad. We had a protection order against my dad. I can't begin to count the times my high school went under lock down because my dad showed up at school. Everyone knew it was because of me. I felt so ashamed and embarrassed. I remember going back to our house to get clothes and stuff..and he was hiding inside. I called 911, and he ripped the phone out of the wall. I remember the cops not being able to come inside, because at the time, the law was he had to hit someone first. Well, that finally happened. In the blink of an eye he had thrown me into a wall with nails, and bit my grandmother's face. The cops came barreling through the door and tackled him, handcuffing him. His only response was "You broke my glasses".
My junior and senior year of high school, I wasn't allowed to go anywhere alone. I was the only kid allowed to carry a cell phone around. I remember being at Sonic one night and a friend's dad came to get me, telling him there had been shooting at my house and I needed to come with him. It was my granny shooting at my dad, because he'd shown up at our house. Again. I remember answering machine messages saying "Do you know where the girls are? If not, go check the back yard." We were fine, but mom lived in constant fear. She knew the way for him to hurt her the most was through us. I remember her van being stolen. He stole it and left it in a parking lot to see how long it took her to find out. I remember waking up one night hearing something at the window. It was him holding up the phone line he'd just cut. We then had off duty policemen and family spending the night in the bushes so that mom and I might get some sleep. I remember as soon as everyone was inside the church for my sister's wedding, the doors were locked and people patrolled the parking lot making sure he didn't show up. Most of all, I remember having to go to DHR and having someone take pictures of bruises. That someone was a friend's mom. A teacher turned it in, as they are required by law...and it was fine...just one more of those things. I remember sitting in court...still remember the red dress with white polka dots on it I wore...and having my dad turn around and call my mom a bitch and much much worse. When brought to the judge's attention...he literally said "I didn't hear it". Good ol' boy system? One of the state troopers I knew was also there...also told the judge he heard it...and the judge repeated it. I started to say something, and the trooper just told me to not stoop to my dad's level.
I haven't spoken to my dad since I was about 16, and that was in court. I got a couple of phone calls from him in college, but I'm not interested in a relationship with him. My children will never know him. I have had people tell me I will go to hell for this. Bite me. You go through it, it being that I didn't even write about 3/4 of what happened. It's followed me forever, and I guess it always will. It's not something I think about often, but when I do, I'm angry. He doesn't deserve that energy, so I try to remember that. I feel like when I lost my dad, I lost that side of the family too. I don't know if it was just too much trouble to keep up with us (long distance), or if they didn't believe it was true. I dont' know. All I know, is that was the last time I ever heard from most of his side of the family. I keep in touch with my aunt and her daughter, and another cousin.but that is it...and that's ok. I had a guy in college who's mother didn't want him to date me.....not because I wasn't a good girl, or pretty, or smart. But because I had an abusive dad. I could turn out like him ya know. I had my preacher's wife announce to the entire church when I wasn't there one time that parent's didn't need to let their kids be my friend because I had a drink on my senior trip. I was going to be an alcoholic just like my father. She didn't bother to admit that her daughter was also drinking on that trip, as was most of the people there.
Let me tell ya LOUD AND CLEAR...I am nothing like my father. Nothing. My husband will be a hell of a father...not only that...he'll be a hell of a daddy. Anyone can be a father. I had one of those. Only certain men ever get to be a daddy. I did not have one of those, but I have one of those for my future children. Now I'm not bitter about no one is a good dad. I have seen many examples of that...both of my brother in laws are GREAT daddy's!
I love my husband more than anything...and want to give him the opportunity to raise a child more than anything. Hopefully we will get our chance one day.