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a fathers day dilemma
Old 06-15-2008, 10:19 AM   #1
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a fathers day dilemma

ok, this is a good one. a few months back, after about a year and a half search, i found my biological father. the guy who abandoned me. he's going to be 80 this year. i haven't seen him in about 15 years. he's very happy that i found him.

he was abandoned by his father. my brother managed to break that cycle with his kids. my dad is not a bad guy, just not very capable in family affairs.

we haven't even spoken yet, just the first letter back and forth and now emails. i haven't decided to see him. i want a relationship but i do not want to set myself up for more disappointment. he's never not once initiated contact with me. i sent him my phone number but he did not even call me on my birthday. he didn't know when my birthday was. this guy has never picked up the phone to call me. my father.

so its father's day. i hadn't thought this out in my pursuit of him. i couldn't find a card to send. it was upsetting looking through the cards. the i love you cards, greatest dad cards, thank you cards, all non-applicable. why don't they make generic, non-emotional father's day cards. you know like a thanx for fertilizing mom card.

i don't know what to do. my brother says it is not inappropriate to not send a father's day card. i feel like i should send something. i looked for an emailable card but they are all to sappy. jibjab has one about dad turning into an ax murdering boogy man. but i thought that a bit over the top.

i want to tell him how i feel about all this but why ruin his father's day.

what to do? happy father's day.
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Old 06-15-2008, 10:34 AM   #2
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Maybe just an email message saying Happy Father's Day .
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Old 06-15-2008, 11:06 AM   #3
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Or maybe just an e-mail or card saying "thinking of you today"---sending it on Father's Day without delving into the paternity thing...
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Old 06-15-2008, 11:08 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by lazygood4nothinbum View Post
why don't they make generic, non-emotional father's day cards. you know like a thanx for fertilizing mom card.
I was thinking yesterday that I'd love to see a card that said 'Thanks for making that orgasm count, Dad'.
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Old 06-15-2008, 11:10 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by lazygood4nothinbum View Post
why don't they make generic, non-emotional father's day cards.
Hallmark (and others I suspect) have lots of cards that are blank inside so you can send any message you want. The fact that it's personal/handwritten would seem a plus to me, but there's nothing wrong with a simple Happy Father's Day as suggested above. Tough situation, best of luck...
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Old 06-15-2008, 11:22 AM   #6
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I think you are looking for something and want something.

I have a nephew who was raised by his stepfather since the age of about 3. He does not want to meet his biological father as he "only contributed sperm". I think the stepfather appreciated that.

I think a father is the male person in your life who, loves you, raised and guided you from a young age.

There are also fathers who are just sperm doaners.

What is a father to you?

Have you openly expressed to yourself what you are expecting/wanting from this relationship?

" i want to tell him how i feel about all this but why ruin his father's day."
He might not be the person to express these feeling to at this time.

There is another Father's day in a year from now. You might have a better idea of what you want then.
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Old 06-15-2008, 12:01 PM   #7
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There is another Father's day in a year from now...
Or then again, maybe not--LG4NB's dad will soon be already 80 after all.

LG4NB, since you say that your dad was very happy upon your finding him, I second the other posters' suggestions of sending a simple "Thinking Of You", "Happy Father's Day" email or note. I don't see any harm in letting him know you are thinking of him on this day.

From your posts, I gather that you are in touch with your feelings and thoughts, so Dex's advice about formulating more of what you want from your relationship seems it wouldn't be hard for you to do.

Waiting a little for more interaction with him, including seeing how he responds to your note, will let you know when you and he might be ready to tackle deeper emotional communication.

I hope you don't have to wait too long, i.e., that your relationship will have some level of comfort soon so that you can open up to each other.
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Old 06-15-2008, 12:29 PM   #8
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The beautiful thing I see in your story is that apparently your mom didn't poison your mind about him, "my dad is not a bad guy." Wow! No wonder you speak so highly of her.

One thing that pops to mind is that you may be extremely extroverted and he totally opposite. ? I like the e-mail idea (thinking of you or even Happy Father's Day--He knows it is Father's Day today!), it may be less intimidating to him than a card. Dex is onto something, maybe your dad isn't (or never will be) ready to hear your feelings. Many men never initiate contact leaving the social calendar up to their wives.

He's a stranger, would you want to know him if you didn't know he is a "first-line" relative? Say, if you met him on a train, would you stay and talk or look for an opportunity to move to the next car?

And Happy Father's Day to you, Lazy.
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Old 06-15-2008, 02:09 PM   #9
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I don't think there is one correct answer maybe even within yourself. For a number of years I was involved with Big Brothers, met my 'little brother' when he was 9 and remember his 10th birthday party. We were together a lot of years, I had legal custody of him for a while in high school when he some problems. I was the best man at his wedding. He died a few years ago in a car crash, I have his ashes.
He only met his biological father once and it didn't resolve anything for him. I think he had too many expectations and the fellow obviously had no interest. It is an interesting journey to look into your origin but do do so without attachment or expectations is almost impossible. The word father maybe needs two words like we have the word 'house'(1) and the word 'home'(2) and mostly what we want is a home (unless this is a real estate investment issue). I think you want a father (2) and what you may find is a father (1). I hope whatever you find resolves whatever issues may be in your heart.
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Old 06-15-2008, 04:09 PM   #10
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It sounds to me that although he is happy you found him, your biological father is not comfortable with the father role. If there was a "son's day" would he be sending you a "son's day" card, do you think?

Sometimes if I'm on the fence about doing something "nice" for someone I consider if that person would do the same for me and it helps me decide if it's appropriate.
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Old 06-15-2008, 05:03 PM   #11
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yakers, sorry for the loss of your little brother. i know that relationship can be close because my best friend (who i buried a few years ago) was a big brother. they remained friends for many years until little brother did my bud's eulogy. my friend was instrumental in helping this young man come into his own and he was more proud of that than even his very successful hollywood career.

mom never said a bad word to me about dad and encouraged my keeping in contact even though dad frequently disappointed me by never initiating contact. i'd visit when ever i was up north, sent cards, letters, phone calls. nothing in return. then about 15 years ago i was up north so of course visited dad. he told me he'd been in florida looking for a retirement home. broke my heart. in florida even and didn't call.

so for a few years i didn't care to call him. i'd been dealing with a lot then, buried my partner, buried my ol'man (stepfather) and was starting to deal with mom's alzheimer's. my plate was full. but years later when mom died, i tried to find dad. but the bastid had moved with no fowarding address or phone.

he was thrilled when i finally found him. but he said he thought that i was supposed to call him all these years ago. he thought i said i would call with information which i was researching about our family. more likely it was more like someone saying "call me" or whatever. even if i was supposed to call, i could have been dead. maybe he could have check up on me?

his 3rd wife tried getting him to call but he never would. so when i told him what i was going through, how he made me feel, he felt terrible about that. yet still he hardly lifts a finger and so i am being very measured in how much i give to this relationship. i do not want to be hurt again.

so i just checked out the hallmark ecards. nothing appropriate there either. maybe just a quick happy father's day note as suggested:

happy father's day. thanks for fertilizing mom. i owe you one.
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Old 06-15-2008, 05:05 PM   #12
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I'm not sure I would send him a happy father's day wish. But maybe use the date to send him a note expressing some of your feelings and questions. If you want to see him, say so and suggest a date. He may not be around many more years.
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Old 06-15-2008, 05:21 PM   #13
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do i seem like the kind of guy who holds back on expressing his feelings? though i don't want to turn his world upside down, i mean, he is almost 80. and he likely had just buried a lot of this which i am now bringing back to the forefront. so i do feel some responsibility here. we discussed taking this slowly. even just emails for a while. maybe i'll go up for his 80th birthday. didn't discuss that in particular but he's invited me to stay in his home. think i'd get a place nearby instead. he's been in this new marriage for about 20 years so i would assume they will be giving him a party.

or i considered spending the summer in jersey but with the house not sold i'm not crazy about spending that kind of money yet. if timing & my finances have it that we ever see each other again then that is what will happen. if not, then not. it is a family of long-lifers. lots live into their 80s & 90s. still, it is hard to find a sense of urgency for someone who always found it hard to show they care about me. and i imagine it will be even more difficult to mourn someone who, in life, could simply walk away.
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Old 06-15-2008, 06:40 PM   #14
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I really don't know what I would do in your situation. Sorry you had to go through life knowing your Dad abandoned you. Best of luck with whatever you decide.
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Old 06-15-2008, 06:58 PM   #15
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I have a friend who never met her father - but has contacted others on that side of the family - the guy had died by the time she did. It isn't a terribly close relationship, but she enjoys having great-half-nieces... or whatever the kiddies are ...

I would suggest starting to know the man who is half your DNA, but as "old interesting guy" first, not "daddiiiieee" <-- pardon the girlish shriek

You may never get that which you want, but you'll never know if you don't give it a try.

good luck!
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Old 06-15-2008, 07:04 PM   #16
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Hey Lazy,

Replying for my DH here, who has a similar situation. With his dad, he doesn't ask a lot. DH calls him on his birthday and also today on father's day - he says, almost like a jab - reminding him he has a son that he shouldn't be forgetting. DH says he thinks his father is actually a really nice guy and just has a lot of guilt about the situation and wants to put his head in the sand. So he makes sure he calls him every once in a while to pull his head out. They always have a pleasant conversation when he calls, and it is always friendly. DH says "That's good enough for me".

He says he had years when he didn't talk to him and then when he did talk to him, he was afraid he'd reject him. Well, he didn't. So, DH says "he doesn't necessarily reach out to me, but he doesn't reject me". And he's made peace with that right now...he still feels there is time to build a relationship (his father is 64). DH jokes and says "To know me is to love me." I am amazed at his acceptance of the situation, but I have not walked in his shoes.

There may be more a sense of urgency in your case since your father is almost 80. However, in my opinion, if you can make peace with how things are now, with not knowing how it will evolve, well, then that is probably the healthiest approach emotionally. It is what it is.

P.S. The first (and only time thus far) that I've met DH's father was last year. And we have been together for 17 years.
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Old 06-15-2008, 09:51 PM   #17
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Sorry I am late for the Father's Day advice!

But, any move you make toward communication or a relationship with him - do it for yourself, not necessarily for him. If it would make you feel connected and good as a person, then do it. Don't do it out of obligation, because he hasn't done anything to deserve that. Then, if a better relationship evolves you can assess your feelings about "Father's Day" etc. then.
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Old 06-15-2008, 10:24 PM   #18
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This doesn't seem like it would apply to Lazy's situation, but I would like to mention something for general consideration.

Parents in general, and fathers in particular may feel somewhat rejected or unwelcome in their grown children’s lives. My kids are always available to me by phone, and we get together occasionally, and definitely we went out together last night for FD- but overall considering how close they live, I would very much enjoy more hang-out time with them. I don't think we have any issues, it's just that they live affluent and very busy lives with families of their own, and things to do more appealing than to go out with Dad. I do tend to IM with them most every day, which helps. I sometimes envy working class families where there is a need to do work projects together, share cars, etc.

The politics can be somewhat like a couple, where the man or woman may want or need more time with the other, but the object of this desire while not against it doesn't need it as much. I am sure a number of us know the feeling in this situation.

In American society age is not a good thing, from anyone's point of view. So once one’s children are well established in life, they are the power centers, and the parent may at times feel a little like a supplicant-even with a lot of love and overall good relationships. It can be even trickier when there has been a divorce in the parents’ marriage, so to some extent the kids might feel that if they do something with one, they have to do something with the other. So the time requirement is doubled, not to mention that one parent might be kind of a PITA.

Ha
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Old 06-15-2008, 10:37 PM   #19
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.... The word father maybe needs two words like we have the word 'house'(1) and the word 'home'(2) and mostly what we want is a home (unless this is a real estate investment issue). I think you want a father (2) and what you may find is a father (1). I hope whatever you find resolves whatever issues may be in your heart.

There are two words for this: (1) father (i.e., DNA donor), and (2) Dad (the guy who is proud of you as a son or daughter, teaches you, loves you unconditionally, raises you, etc). As yakers says, you have found #1, the DNA donor. You can have a #1, or a #2, or he might be both. In my case, the guy is both. But not only that, he is one of my best friends. I called him today for Father's day, and I can tell it brightened his day as much as it brightened mine.

Good luck to you in figuring out what to do. Perhaps in the time he has left he could become more of a #2, and perhaps even a friend, but I know that will take an awful lot of soul-searching and work on your part.

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Old 06-16-2008, 08:08 AM   #20
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There are two words for this: (1) father (i.e., DNA donor), and (2) Dad (the guy who is proud of you as a son or daughter, teaches you, loves you unconditionally, raises you, etc). As yakers says, you have found #1, the DNA donor. You can have a #1, or a #2, or he might be both. In my case, the guy is both.
Wow. That's a pretty difficult set of requirements to be a Dad. I would imagine that several others reading the board felt their father didn't fit your description for a Dad, even if they grew up living with him.
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