He is half of me. I have his nose, his face shape, his eyes, his hair, the same creases in our cheeks when we smile. Pretty much the only thing I didn't get from him are my giant hips and sarcastic attitude (that, my friends, I got from my mama).
It's difficult for me to determine how to write this post - he is my dad, the man who helped create me, but that doesn't mean what it does to a lot of other people.
Unfortunately, there are very few really awesome memories I have with my dad. We had a very troubled and limited time together. My dad suffers from a very sever case of schizophrenia, with multiple personality disorder.
Due to his internal complications, it was and has been difficult, if not impossible, to have a "normal" relationship with him. It seems that since I could remember, he functioned more as the child, and I the adult. Always trying my hardest to bring him back to reality, convincing him that the delusions he believed were not reality.
Even to this day he questions my actions (and at times, even inaction), or my intentions. Even though I am his daughter, he still has the voices in the back of his mind to not trust me, and it's so frustrating and sad.
He never told his own father that I was even alive until I was in my teens - and I've always wondered why, with all the things done, he would also deprive me of a relationship with the man who I would later call my grandpa, the Polish man who cried when he saw me for the first time (he said I looked just like my grandmother). Not having a relationship with my grandfather probably hurts more than not having a relationship with my father, and I honestly blame him for that.
His condition added another level of dysfunction to our relationship that is far too complicated to explain, and is even harder to justify why I still have him in my life.
Despite his problems and flaws, he did all he could to be a father to me in ways unique to him - buying me Barbies all the time (taped in shirt boxes, never wrapped), sending me little pamphlets or magazines from wherever it was he was living, random knick-knacks he somehow got his hands onto.
The greatest memory I have of him is our trip together to NYC. My mom and I were in NJ visiting family, and my dad was very adamant about going into the city - something I was very reserved agreeing to. We drove to the bus station, rode the bus roughly 2-3 hours, and arrived in NYC early in the morning. We walked all the way down to Chinatown, back up to the Empire State building. We ate pizza (of course), talked, enjoyed the warm weather, took photos. We went to Times Square and made jokes about the people we saw.
Brian had me take a Spider Man action figure with me to take pictures of in random locations throughout the city, and my dad came up with the brilliant idea of having an NY-PD woman take a picture with it - super hilarious!
The trip was amazing, and awesome, and one that I wish I could relive over and over again. Most importantly, it felt like an average father-daughter trip. There was nothing weird. He would randomly make comments about how his medications make him fat, so he couldn't walk as quickly as I could. But other than that, I felt like I was a normal daughter there, enjoying the sunny day with her daddy.
Just thinking about that feeling makes me cry now as I write this. And my heart breaks.
No matter how earnest I am with my plea for him to stay on his medication and to continue with his therapy, his mind twists my concern into ridicule and judgement, or that I'm working with someone against him.
Even with our relationship reduced to the occasional email or random giant box delivered in the mail, he's still my daddy. He's still the man who would let me stay up with him to watch Saturday Night Live, and then fall asleep on his lap during Almost Live (Joel McHale in the 90's, say whaaaat?!)
He was the man, that when I had my first...well..."milestone" of puberty, I went running out to him when he came to pick me up yelling, "DADDY! DADDY!! I JUST GOT MY PERIOD!!!" As awkward as that was, he was seriously proud. His daughter was growing up!
He's the man who, every chance he gets, apologizes profusely for being who he is, for what our relationship has come to, and that he loves me with all his heart. His love, while at moments clouded by the lies his mind conjures up, is unconditional and so amazingly strong.
He is my daddy, and I am his little girl. And despite all the issues with our past, present, and I'm sure future, I do love him, and want nothing more for him than to be healthy and happy. For him to be in the present and stable mind to walk me down the aisle when I get married - and to experience the REALITY of it, not what his brain tricks him into thinking.
For all the lessons he taught me unintentionally, and for the moments when he was the greatest dad ever - I hope he has a great Father's Day out in New Jersey. I'm sad that I can't be there with him, for many reasons.
|Grandpa, me, and my dad. Right before we headed out on our NYC trip. Three generations of Polish gangstas! And seriously, could we look anymore like family???|