Dad was still running the tile business (the real bread-and-butter work), but increasingly lost his motivation for construction work. As a result, I believe some of his business practices suffered. I didn’t always approve of his business or personal ventures. He borrowed money from people, including my husband and me, then seemed to squander the funds. He’d continuously transfer money from one bank account to the next, and borrowed money against the house. I wasn’t thrilled about some of his friends and colleagues.
Talk about push-pull, my mother and father were VERY different. My mother was introverted, loved to stay at home and read, and spent time with a few special friends. Dad was extroverted, loved to travel and make friends with everyone.
At one point in his early 50s, Dad moved out of the house, leaving my mother behind. I became my mother’s confidant and emotional caretaker. Even though I was at college and working many hours a week to support myself, I called her every day.
I’ll never know what happened behind the scenes between my parents, and I do not want to know.
This is hard for me to tell, as I don’t want to degrade either of their characters or memories. There were mitigating factors, but I had a hard time forgiving my dad. My heart became hard, and I lost a lot of trust in my father.
Here is a poem he wrote during that season of his life.
His behavior also left me confused – was he not supposed to be a Christian? Aren’t parents supposed to model upstanding behavior? How could he do this to my mom! How could he do it to me, and my younger sister, who still lived at home. I was at the cusp of adulthood, but that didn’t matter – I was still Daddy’s little girl inside.
The Bible tells us God is the judge of others – not us. However, I imagined myself an excellent judge; it was way too easy to occupy that judgement seat myself.
Eight months later Dad unceremoniously moved back in without an explanation.
My Poor Decisions
After that, I reacted badly – I made certain poor decisions in my life. For example, I moved in with my future husband, knowing my parents would not approve, knowing this was not God’s best plan for my life.
I went out to lunch with my dad and told him we were living together. Inside I felt a bit jubilant, I wished to “punish” my father, as he had punished me by leaving my mom, and I became her caretaker, at least emotionally.
I didn’t connect the dots that one wrong doesn’t make another wrong right.
(As a side note, my husband John and I have been married over 37 years – you could say we beat the odds on many fronts. Ultimately my parents adored John, and he was always there to help out with them and support me during the tough caretaking years.)
I will share more of my heart and retrospection in the next blog. For now I will say that my dad and me were NOT dancing in harmony at this point.