Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Absent Parents

It is my last week of college before I graduate this Saturday. After graduating, my route is going slightly more differently than that of a typical person's. I'm getting on the plane on Sunday morning to San Francisco where I will begin the next chapter of my life. There will be no parties, no family events to celebrate this moment of my life.

It is because my parents will not be attending my graduation.

I really hate to write this on here because I feel like I've talked the death out of it too much already, but it must be said. I can't even begin to say just how hurt I am by them. Them, as a pair, both my Dad and Mom.

True, I am aware that there are some financial problems at home. The trouble with saying this is that while I know about it, financial issues have plagued my family since I was born. It's a fairly easy excuse to fall back on for them. Plus, they don't necessarily use the best judgment in purchases either. Case in point, a hundred dollars to fly out to see me graduate or to spend on Yankee Candles.

That's right. The Yankee Candles won over their only daughter.

I hate candles by the way. Never liked them to begin with.

They've spent this week and last week criticizing me for my decision to attend this school, for being in any school in general instead of the military where they both went, and for my choice to move to SF when I graduate instead of going home.

Another fun moment is that they believe I'm driving a wedge in our relationship. That I want to get further away from them and don't care about how it affects us.

And the best one? They're not happy that I tell people that my parents won't be at my graduation. What do they expect me to say to my friends and bosses at work? Do they want me to lie for them? Everyone asks and I can't say something else!

Naturally, the responses from my friends and former bosses has been very sympathetic. Most of them are amazed that I'm not more upset. Nobody is happy with the decision that my parents made and of course, now that Dad and Mom know this, they're even more livid at me because now they look like bad people. They hate that there is an audience to my life and that they can't spin the story so I look like selfish, spoiled, bitch daughter that they love to paint me as.

Fine. I didn't even want to write it, but here goes:

I've never been more hurt by two people in my entire life than their decision to not attend my graduation or be a part of my post-grad life. My entire life, they've always told me "blood is thicker than water" which is certainly not the case. They don't practice what they preach. And the idea that their referring to my friendships as being "water-based" makes me want to throw up. These are the same two people who told me not to make any friends when I was at my JC because I'd leave them and not to have any long-term relationships with boys because eventually, they'd end.

Proximity shouldn't be the issue at hand either because my Dad didn't even attend my high school graduation and that was a fifteen minute drive from our house....It's just the classic Taylor case of if it doesn't cater to what they like exclusively, they see no need to show up for it.

And considering that they had four kids, that's a pretty shitty philosophy to have.

Yesterday I had a thought about my Dad and his lack of involvement in my life as well as my brothers' lives. The thought was about how he used to take me to the bookstore as a little girl which I loved. What I thought was father-daughter time back then I suddenly realize wasn't. Think about it. I sat upstairs in the children's department reading while my Dad was downstairs. Most of the time, when I was done I had to go and find him myself and even then, he looked irritated that I had bothered him. Then I would go back upstairs alone, fervently wishing that whatever book I'd read next would take me away from my reality. Which it always did.

So strange. My brother Earl and I once discussed our childhoods with each other and he said, "Most of the time I just repress most of it."

Maybe I've been doing the same thing unconsciously. Or maybe I've been seeing the past in a better light than what it was.

The damage has been done. My roommate and her boyfriend will be taking the empty seats instead of my parents. I almost burst into tears when they told me they'd go. So amazing.

So now I know what I want. I don't want to talk to my parents for a long time. I want space between us, miles and oceans, but more than geography, I need time. Time to erase my pain, time to run from the memories. Days to stretch onto months and years.

And then maybe, just maybe, they'll understand just how hurt I feel. Maybe they'll realize just how wrong they were and how this moment in life is one they'll regret not being at.

Love to you all,


Anonymous said...

Oh, that's so sad. I can't believe they would do that to you. You go, girl, staying strong. I know that your graduation and new life in San Fran will be a complete success, with or without the involvement of your parents.

alex said...

fuck them. parents suck. I'm so sorry.

Indigo said...

(Hugs) Heather sweetie, can I adopt you? If you were my daughter I would beg, borrow, whatever I needed to get to your graduation. My daughters first (and only) year in college we were estranged. Not because I didn't try. Finally I told her no matter what happened or how she felt about me, I loved her and I would always be her mother - nothing would change that.

Come to find out she wanted out of college and was afraid to tell me. Sure I had a moment of disappointment. I still supported her and I'm proud of her. She has it 10 times harder now taking classes and working full time, married to a soldier at soon to be 22. But she's doing it her way and that is something I don't think parents often understand.

I learned I had to let her have her wings, she had to fail or succeed at her own pace.

You dear friend have worked so very hard to get where you are. Let me just say I'M PROUD of you. I hope when you go to San Francisco we can even correspond in snail mail. Smile and stand strong against the wind kid, you're made of better stuff than what your parents give you credit for.

Thinking of you! (Hugs)Indigo

Anonymous said...

i'm sorry.
it was really nice of your roommate to go.
i'm sorry about your parents.

Claire Kiefer said...

here's the good news: San Francisco is amazing! I moved here after college as well, and it's an incredible place to live. No better place to forge your own path.

Carolina said...


The Bay is awesome, and SF is the cherry on top! I love going up there on the train. I've only been following your blog for a little while, so obviously I don't know you well. But the fact that you are graduating to me is awesome. I'm half way through my degree, and reading about your experience is helping me stay motivated.

Hang in there! You're coming to a great place blaze your new trail :)

Lauren said...

I'm sorry, that sucks...but keep your head up high. Enjoy graduation.


Anonymous said...

It's always the big events in our lives that seem to confirm what we have suspected all along. I'm so sorry you are hurting this way. It sounds like you have some amazing friends to lean on. Good luck with your move - it sounds like it will be an exciting time in your life - one that you can share with the people who CHOOSE to be in it. - G

English Rose ♥ said...

Aww Heather this post broke my heart!! At least you have amazing friends who are the family you choose, You'll be better than okay, i just know it. Congratulations on your graduation darling.

Merci beaucoup for your lovely comment =]

Stay safe and chic ma chérie,
English Rose x

natalie said...

I'm so so sorry that your parents are doing this to you :/ Graduation is such a big part of life, it's a shame for them that they are going to have the privilege of witnessing yours. It's their loss, really! That's awesome that you have the support of your friends and roommate and everyone though. *hugs* :) <3

Dancing Branflake said...

I'm so sorry. I guess the only thing you can do now is hope to be the best parent you can be. Sometimes, our actions is all we can do. Even though this post doesn't lend itself it it, Happy Graduation. You certainly deserve it. Now, go write that amazing piece and show everyone what it's like to be amazing.

Martina Voigt-Schmid said...

Oh Heather, families can be awful! I've been hurt many times by my dads neglect and misunderstanding. Yet somehow, maybe they're afraid of what you do:you dare to rise above their level. You refuse to let them be rolemodels for you (lucky you ;)) And they're hearts and minds are not big enough to understand. Maybe they will, one day. But reach out for your star-family! I call my best friends my star friends - and stardust is better then blood, believe me! Celebrate your graduation, i wish you a wonderful day, you are such a special person!

Romantic Heroine said...

I'm sorry that your parents won't come to your granduation even it's a big event for themself, which you would like to share with your beloved ones.

Sadako said...

Echoing what the others have said about your parents. But congratulations to you on graduating--very nice.

drollgirl said...

i am sad your parents won't be there, but i am relieved you have someone that will! that is rad to have such supportive friends.

i don't have any great answers on the kid/parent dynamic. my dad was LIVID when he found out i wasn't going to attend my college graduation. he tried to force me to go, and i said FORGET IT. i paid for my own schooling, i did the work, and i am a weirdo in that graduation meant nothing to me. i just wanted to get on with my life. my dad insisted this was a huge mistake, but about 15 years later i have no regrets! i am not big on ceremony.

so this goes to show....we all have different values and perspectives and priorities in life. that doesn't help much, but it is a trip trying to see eye to eye with many folks, particularly family.

Fashion Teen said...

I'm soooo sorry!
That is so irresponsible of them, amazing how stupid some people can be.

Krissy ♥ said...

Congratulations on your graduation, firstly! That's amazing and you must be so proud of yourself. :D

I'm very sorry to hear your parents, for whatever reason they're telling themselves, can't find it in their hearts to come support you on such an important day in your life. I'm glad to hear that your room mate & her boyfriend will be there to cheer you on though. :)

Jennifer Fabulous said...

First, congratulations on graduating. That's awesome. I don't even know you that well and I'm proud of you. :)

You seem like a very strong person because you have been through so much and yet you are still capable of being rational. I think I would have gone insane by now if I were you.

I'm horrified that your parents treat you this way. They should be incredibly proud of you because not only did you stand up for yourself, but you're succeeding. They seem very narrow-minded and cruel. I don't blame you for wanting distance from them for a long time. I think it would be better for you as a person to do so.

And think of it this way, some day maybe you will have kids of your own and obviously things will be VERY different. You will be everything your parents were not. You clearly grew into a great person despite all this crap. I think that's pretty cool.

Enjoy your graduation and forget about them this summer. You deserve to be really happy right now!!

Andrew Green said...

Terribly sorry to hear about their selfishness....
Just be proud you made it to graduation. Congrats on that!

Phoenix said...

Sometimes, parents suck. I'm so sorry, Heather. How sad.

Blood is thicker than water...but nothing says you can't make your friends your real, tried and true family. Gather those that love you the most and honor and cherish you and call them your sisters, your brothers, your mothers and your fathers. It's what I've done and I've never lacked for love with my wonderful group of people that I hold so tightly in my heart.

Aury said...

Oh darling.

I am really sad to say this but was like forcing myself to look back on my past. A past when my relationship with my parents stunk so bad because of the awfully neglected and abused childhood they put me through. I went away to college this year- for my sophomore year- to a different school and for the first time for as long as I could remember I felt free. I could really look back and see what a bad effect all the years of hate (it really was that bad) and hurt had done to me. During my first holiday back ( I let them know for the last time how they'd made me feel and had the most important talk of my life.) Since then, things have been better but I am an adult now (just turned 19) and my family is moving further away (my dad just got posted) and am extremely independent. Through all this I have learnt 1. Your true family are the people that love you, you love and that are there for them when you need them (despite distance, or any other struggles). It has nothing to do with blood. 2.
It may be bad now and it was really bad for a long time for me, but when I decided to 'forgive' them it was more about me letting go of all the hurt and leaving the past behind. I think you are already on your way to recovery by acknowledging it and making steps to feel the hole they've left and I have faith in your ability to succeed in your new life.

Sorry for the long comment but this just really touched me. Congratulations on your graduation and Good luck in your new life!

Jaime @ La vie...J'aime said...

I am sorry that youre parents have hurt you so badly...that's just terrible :( Congrats on graduation- wish you all the best!

Anonymous said...

You are so strong. And it's so inspiring to see.

I'm in high school, but if my parents didn't attend my graduation, I would be CRUSHED.

Claire said...

This is one of the most moving posts I've read in a long time. I'm so sorry that you feel so let down by your folks. It's clearly something that's been going on a long time, but good for you girl to stay so strong and keep in mind what makes you happy. I don't understand why they would not want you to continue your education? You're on the path that suits you best, and you should be proud of them, even more so if your family disagree. I hope you have a fantastic graduation day and your friends spoil you rotten. Blood is not always thicker than water, in my case friends are completely on the same level. It doesn't matter who you have a connection with, as long as you have those connections! Keep smiling ♥

Claire @ Jazzpad

Anonymous said...

Hang in there, it sounds like you're doing exactly what you need to do, and that's often the hardest part to get to. San Fran is the best city and I've loved every minute I've lived here. It's a great place to start over, I know you'll love it.

Krystal said...

It was very courageous of you to write this! I can relate somewhat as my mother has always been a little absent and childish, etc. We hardly talk now but I have a hard time changing it because she is the adult and she should make the effort. We are their CHILDREN. Here's to hoping that we make amazing parents =)

Bathwater said...

Blood is not thicker than water. The older you get the more I think you will continue to realize this. If your parents think this way, they probably don't have very close friends.