Pawn shops and positivity

I never met my dad. Have I mentioned that? I can’t remember. He and my mom had a fling, as far as I can tell from her piecemeal stories. They worked together in a pawn shop. Yeah, awesome, I know. I have no idea how long it lasted, only that there was a night with steak and eggs, an emerald ring, and sex.

My dad had two children before me. He was a drinker. His son, age three, was the victim of tragedy. My dad, drunk, backed his car into him. My dad never forgave himself, never got over the loss.

Years later, still long before that fateful night with my mom, his daughter was thrown from a horse and killed. That closed the chapter on parenthood for my dad. Still long before my conception. So, you see, any hope that I had of a relationship with my dad was doomed before I was even an embryo.

Flash forward–I’m seven years old. Like all seven-year olds, I’m a writer. I write letters to friends, to neighbors, to my dad. I wish I had that letter; I would post it here. I asked. Please meet me. I want to meet you.

No answer. Not even a note in reply. How could my seven-year-old self recover from that? She didn’t. She shut out her dad. No dad at all is always better than one who ignores you, right?

Fate was on my side. My dad passed away a year later. The drinking caught up with him. Death sealed the deal. It was a relief, it really was. No longer did I have to tell myself the story that my dad didn’t love me enough to meet me. But it’s true.

I’ll end with this thought: You might think that my dad’s failings damaged me in some way. You’re wrong. My mom loved me enough for two parents. She taught me how to ascertain my worth from within myself. She taught me never to accept less than the best from others, and to block out negativity. And I do.

23 thoughts on “Pawn shops and positivity

  1. Beautiful and heart-rending, but I love that your mom knew how to love you enough and show you that your worth didn’t come from how much, or little, anyone loved you. Wow, did you just teach me a lesson!? My dad was semi-involved in my life, but I always knew that he didn’t love me. Unfortunately, I was also doomed to have an emotionally stunted mom, so I did grow up believing I was lacking. Thank you for your lovely essay. It has given me much to think about.

    1. Catherine, thanks so much for the thoughtful comments. I have lived with this story for so long that I didn’t really think of how it would affect others. It isn’t easy, but forgiveness is so important in overcoming the past.

  2. This is powerful Christi. I like how you jump right into the story in the introduction. The part about your seven year old self writing the letter was heartbreaking.

    1. Thanks, Karen. Again, I have to admit that I didn’t really give a lot of thought to how this story would affect my readers. Blogging has been sort of like art therapy for me, but I hope that the writing is helpful to others.

  3. It sounds like your mom taught you some really incredible things. That’s definitely worth two parents in my mind. I know that some people still subscribe to the theory that any dad is better than no dad but I do not buy into that for a second.

    1. I think it all depends on the situation and the age of the child. For me, never having my dad in my life made his loss easier to handle.

  4. Commenting on the emotion: this must have been terrible for you, and you were fortunate to have such a loving mom. Commenting on the writing: very well done. The story drew me in from the opening sentences. It’s one of those pieces that doesn’t really have an end, but find an ending we must.

  5. I wonder, is it possible that he never received your letter? Not that it matters, a letter should not have been necessary. Excellent post.

  6. It’s so good to see you’re not living his legacy of loss and grief. Kudos to you and your mom for making you the self-assured and happy person you are. Beautifully written.

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