In My Father’s House
By Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee
A photo from the past when I went to visit my father in hopes of connecting … bonding with him when I was in my late twenties. Sadly … I couldn’t make it happen. I think my step-mother saw me as a threat. I didn’t understand things as I do now. I found out how treacherous she was many years later … I’ve forgiven her and my father some years ago. They did what they thought best for them. They are both gone now … I wonder if both thought about what they did to me before they died. I feel no anger toward them … I just wonder.
You talk to your mother all the time. You trust, ask, tell her your private thoughts, ideas you wouldn’t trust even your best friend with. Why? You trust her … she’s your mother. You can be ‘you’ with her … she knows exactly who her child is. You know who she is … mama.
Your mother will talk to you just as she talked to you as a child. She will worry for you and hope you’ll make wise decisions. She’s always there for you no matter what. Why? Because you are her child … mothers are like that. You are her baby no matter how old.
I don’t know about fathers but, mine would ignore me when I lived with him. He was afraid to speak to me … because of making my step-mother angry at him. When he spoke ‘to me’ … it was different … he made it sound gruff, angry.
When I spoke to him I spoke with respect … just as if he was a stranger. I may have been his oldest child … but, my stepmother made it impossible for him to love me. His anger was to hide any paternal feelings toward me.
No one would know we were father-daughter excepting … I favored him … a lot. Listening to us … one would think I was a polite, well-mannered girl speaking to an older man. They would think the man didn’t like me no matter how nicely I spoke to him. His smile at me never quite reached his eyes.
My sisters spoke to him in a very familiar way. They spoke to him like the daddy he was to them. They had grown up with him … I didn’t have an opportunity to. He would tease, laugh, cut-up with them. I loved to hear them … I longed to know what it felt like for a father to love me. You know … a daddy.
Whenever I met my father in the doorway … I felt fear. I dreaded what would come next. He would give me an angry glare … and I hoped he would walk on through the doorway before me … he would stand … wait for me to go through. He would nod his head for me to. It was always awkward … and it made me feel nervous all the time. He would jump out of the way for me to go by. Oh, the pain I felt in my young Heart.
I always jumped to do any chore with a smile … when I did it to my best ability … I would go the extra mile. I would do just a little more than asked to do while thinking ‘that will make them love me more, they’ll be glad I’m here’. No matter what I did … my dad would sit back … make sarcastic comments to me. He would say I did things so someone would notice me. He was right … I did them to be loved. It didn’t work … nothing worked.
I went to school … came home … went to the bedroom and sat on the bed … studied. I would stare at the words in my book … my stomach would be tied in knots at what comments to come my way that evening.
I couldn’t eat … no one seemed to notice. I didn’t until I ran away one day … and saw how little I was … and even pretty! I never saw myself while living at my father’s house. I remember how boys would whistle … never knowing it was me … I always looked around to see who they whistled at. No one would be there … I still didn’t realize. The day I ran away … my eyes begin to open … I began to see me. I was just a being at my father’s house.
The day my daddy slapped me in the face was the day I planned to run away. That was the first, last time he slapped me. That slap did something to me … it devastated me … it destroyed any love I had for my father. It also, destroyed any feelings I had toward my step-mother, sisters.
I was slapped because one of my sisters lied on me. My youngest sister was always getting into mischief … I would get myself in trouble … say I did something to keep her from being grounded. Why? I was the big sister, I truly loved her. Sadly, she and my other sister never formed a bond with me. I would get into trouble for them because I hoped they would see my love for them … hoped they’d love me in return. It never happened.
The lie my youngest sister told on me brought about the whole, ugly incident. My step-mother screamed at me in the bathroom where I was … my father stepped in to see what was wrong. She told him I was the one who had used his razor, left it in his bathroom unwashed.
She triggered something inside him that made him very angry … he took his strong hand, slapped me so hard I almost fainted. It may have been anger from the time I was born until that day when I was fourteen … I felt all his rage. Did he try to slap me back into the past … before I was born? It truly felt that way … I can still feel the shock to this day … the pain, grief of knowing my father hated me. He only told me he loved me … one time. I’ll write about that one day.
My step-mother took advantage of his anger to begin slapping me in my face until my nose bled blood all over everything in the bathroom. It seemed it went on forever. All over a lie … all over something I didn’t know about until I was accused of it.
That was the day I began to plot how to run away from them. That was the day I began to hate my father, his wife, his other two daughters. To this day … I don’t hate them. I forgave many years ago. I look back … I wonder if anyone ever felt bad for mistreating a young girl so badly.
I lived in a beautiful home … spotless. I dressed in the nicest clothes all ironed, starched. Everyone smiled … was happy … family sounds all around. Laughter, squeals from the children. Fun, teasing talk to them from the parents. I lived in the best family … only I wasn’t a part of them excepting being my father’s child.
Note from this Author:
These are some of the thoughts I had today … when thinking about how when we talk to the same person … the person you talk to isn’t the one I talk to.
When I spoke to my father … it was to a stranger. When my sisters spoke to my father … it was to their daddy who loved them.
When you speak to someone … always know you speak to them as you know them … another person comes up will speak to them as they know them … you will never speak to the same person the other is talking to. Think about it.
Photo/true story owned, written by Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee.