Monday, May 18, 2009

Fathers and daughters

My daughter has a lot of issues with her father mainly to do with his actions which led to the break-up of our marriage when she was quite young as well as what she went through during the times that we got back together and then broke up again. Very unsettling for the children. I provided as stable a lifestyle as I could for the kids but obviously there was some fallout. So Robynne doesn't really contact her father and mostly doesn't answer his sms's back.
This weekend however my ex had to travel in his vehicle to do a job in the fair Cape. He left home in Gauteng at about 11.30am and travelled through to Laingsburg in the Cape which is as far as he got after 14 hours of travelling. He slept at a service station until 5am and then continued through. I sms'd him Robynne's street address which he programmed into his GPS. This was still over 200kms from her townhouse so he only arrived on her doorstep at about 8am via the rather adventurous route as directed by said GPS. I had warned him that if he wanted breakfast he should take it with him as her larder is skimpy at best, food being rather low down on her priority list. He ended up taking her little car out to get a few groceries and I had a bit of a laugh at the thought of that as I have also driven her little car. He is rather tall and large and her car is rather small (Chevy Spark). You actually bump you passenger with your arm as you change gear. She loves her little car but we had a giggle as we imagined having to use a crowbar on him just to get him out of the car. After breakfast the two of them decided to go together to his worksite in Langebaan which is about another 100km further on from where Robynne lives. She ended up driving his bakkie and got compliments from her dad on her driving. They spent the day meeting his relatives who live in the area and doing a bit of sightseeing and then Robynne also drove back to her little townhouse where her dad spent the night. He got to see where she lives and works and they got on like a house on fire. He respects what she has done with her life and I think she enjoyed seeing her dad. Some of the animosity melted away.
He often goes on and on about Robynne and Dael and their attitudes to him. But this relationship has a lot to do with how he talks to them and treats them. Absence does make the heart grow fonder and as they grow older and get on with their lives, he has started to show them a lot more respect for their accomplishments. As he talks to them as adults, their feelings to him soften and they have a little more time for him.
As he travelled back to his worksite this morning, he phoned me and was happy at having spent this quality time with his eldest daughter. Although he often causes the rifts between himself and his children, he never understands why his actions have caused these results. I am happy that my daughter and her dad spent this time together. Robynne commented to my sister recently that for all her dad's faults he would never deny her access to his house and he would always go out of his way to help her out of trouble. Although she has been hurt by him she does love him.
There is no such thing as a lost relationship but compromise, compassion, understanding and respect go a long way to healing lost relationships and hurt feelings.


  1. ahh i never see my dad. doesnt bother me too much but my sister is hard hit by it.

  2. My dad died when I was 9 but I remember him well and miss him still. Its great that they are mending broken ties.

  3. The last lines are memorable. Thanks.

  4. That's nice that they got to spend that time together and actually enjoy it.

  5. Rhian - Your sister is definitely going to have a lot of issues about your dad and probably you too if your dad is so absent from your life. I hope he comes to his senses and mends fences sooner rather than later.

    FF - Sorry you lost your dad so young. My dad is 74 and I'm going to miss him a lot when he isnt around but Im grateful to have had him in my life.

    Lakeviewer - Sometimes the sentiments expressed are easier said than done but I think if we put ourselves in the other person's shoes it helps us to gain some clarity of a difficult situation.

    Cap'n - Yes it definitely is. I hope that my daughter and her dad come to terms with each other and develop a relationship as they both get older.

  6. What a great first step. Hopefully they can, as you so eloquently state, put together a compromise that can allow them to build a new relationship.


  7. I often say to daughters who have issues with their fathers to solve them while they can.  I understand some issues may be beyond repair and that is terribly sad but losing my own dad when he was 58, so suddenly, completely rocked my world.  And 8 years on, I still haven't accepted it.CJ xx

  8. I'm glad your daughter
    has taken a first step into her dad's life, and I know how important this must be for him too. I have had to wait almost twenty years before my daughter took that step, but I'm very grateful for the bond we have now. I would never have dared dreaming it would come true but it has!

  9. Just wanted to stop in and say thanks for visiting my blog and leaving me comments! I read yours as well. I will make it a point to leave some comments and not lurk quietly from now on! It's great to know that not all McNabb's are evil! Have a great day!
    Kaleena from McNabb Land

  10. I had a similar situation with my girls and their dad. As you say it did resolve itself when they grew up but until this happened I was very careful to remain impartial. Wading in with negative opinions never works. They have to sort it out for themselves.

  11. Octamom - I hope so too. They are very similar personality types though so they get on well or fight like crazy. I think living so far apart is the key though.

    CJ - Sorry that your dad passed so young. I will also feel great loss when my dad passes one day.

    Jientjie - Sorry you lost 20 years of closeness with your daughter but happy that you managed to renew your relationship.

    Kaleena - Thanks for visiting too. I appreciate all comments I receive from visitors. Hang tough in your situation.

    Retired - I also try to remain impartial and when either party is sounding off about the other, I just change the subject. Thanks for visiting.

  12. Having your Father in your life can be such a blessing...even if he is not the 'ideal' Dad. Mine was not so great, he tried, but failed most of the time. But the good thing is, it give me something to judge other men by...good and bad.

  13. After a lifetime of reaching out to my dad, I've finally put it to rest for now. I agree with everyone who says that it's important to heal these relationships while you can, but, when one person doesn't want to share the work, it becomes nearly impossible for the person who's making all the effort.
    I'm glad that their relationship is healing. That's the ideal. The amazing thing about painful parent child relationships is that the love is there deep down ready to be accessed.