Hopes of a Father

October 29, 2008
By Andrea Moore, Metairie, LA

“Don’t get your hopes up, he may not show up.”, quoting my mom about fifty or more times about my dad not showing up to pick my brother, sister, and me up for the weekend. My mom and dad got a divorce when I was only four years old. My older sister was only eight and my brother was only four months old. Although I don’t remember much of the divorce, I remember waiting for my dad to pick us up for the weekend after that.
I’ve always wanted to have a good relationship with my dad like I do with my mom, but there has never been an opportunity for me to do so. When my parents got a divorce my dad got married right away and moved to another city, but still only ten minutes away. I remember waiting at my house on a Friday afternoon for my dad to pick my brother, sister, and me up. My mom said her infamous quote, and it was true, he didn’t show up. We just sat there and waited thinking he would eventually show, but we were wrong. I can’t even remember how many times this happened. I’m sure we didn’t really say anything about the situation when we were younger, because we didn’t really know what was going on.
A couple years after the divorce there were many more no-shows. My dad, his new wife, his step-son, and my half sister moved to another city, but this time it was about thirty minutes away. Thirty minutes away, even more excuses for my dad to throw at us. But as usual we still waited on those Friday nights hoping he would show, and of course he didn’t. As we got older we started to realize what was going on. It really made me think about how my dad felt about me. I always thought about was it me, my brother and sister, or was it something else that he just couldn’t get us? It was only a thirty minute drive to pick us up and spend time with us. All this just didn’t make sense to me.
About a month after that thirty minute move, what do you know, my dad and his new family moved to Chicago, fourteen hours away. All that ran through my mind was I was never going to see him again. However, I was mistaken, but only a couple times. One of those times was when I was about seven. My brother, sister, and I flew to Chicago to visit with my dad, for more than two days. I thought this was going to be the best thing ever. It wasn’t the best thing, but it sure was nice to spend time with my dad. Spending time with my dad was probably good for us during the first several years of the divorce. I honestly thought my dad had a really cool house, which was one of the reasons I enjoyed that vacation. After another move to Dallas, we got to visit that house. It was a hot summer week, but it was a week I’ll never forget. My dad made his homemade chicken, gravy, and rice. His cooking is out of this world, but of course I was more excited to just see my dad.
All things changed when my brother and I went to stay with him for a month after Hurricane Katrina. That was the longest amount of time I spent with him since I was four. My brother and I stayed in my step-brothers room in the basement. Don’t get me wrong, there were two huge rooms down there, but having a box as a dresser just wasn’t working for us. We also slept on air mattresses and a couch, we switched every day. I went to school for two weeks, and it was the worst thing ever, besides not seeing my dad. It was great to visit with him though. My brother, dad, and I all went outside on breezy days and just laughed at old memories we had together. Saying good-bye when he brought us back home wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. It was the last time I knew I’d see him for quite some time.
Moving from state to state was nothing new with my dad. After the next three moves, I really gave up all hope with my dad. Our weekly phone calls became monthly phone calls. Nothing was new when we didn’t hear from him for a few months. As months went on, the years went on, still no shows when he came to town. My dad coming to my own city and not even paying us a visit just blew my mind. How could a dad do such a thing to his own children? I am now seventeen years old, and I can honestly say I don’t get my hopes up anymore. It has been a long thirteen years with out my dad. However, not seeing him but once a year definitely has a big role in how I feel about the situation. I get a phone call on my birthday and maybe Christmas, and those calls aren’t too long, because we have nothing to talk about. It really is sad that we have nothing to talk about, but it is the truth. I will never forget what my dad has done to me. I won’t get my hopes up on him visiting with us, but I truly want to get my hopes up that one day I can have a great relationship with the man I call my dad.

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