Sunday, January 09, 2005

Trying to prove I am not my Father 

My family has been friends with the Smith's* since I was 18 months old. They were on the outside looking into the circus that was my childhood.

Yesterday, I called Mrs. Smith to have a conversation I've been wanting to have with both her and Mr. Smith for a while. I wanted to make sure they understood what's been going on with me lately so that can understand where I'm at right now. In addition, I also asked for a loan.

Already feeling REALLY horrible at having to ask for a loan in the first place, that horribleness increased to the nth degree when there was a long pause on the other side of the phone after the question left my lips.

Now, I'm guessing you might be thinking to yourself, "Well of course she had to pause, Joan! You just asked her for money, for Pete's sake!" Yes, I know that. However, I knew the real reason why she paused. She was having a flashback to my Father asking for money - time and time again.

My Father lost his industrial janitorial business when I was about 5. From that point until the day he died, he never had a "regular" job for more than a couple of months. Dad didn't want to be somebody else's employee. He wanted to be the boss. He was constantly on the look out for the "next big, quick money maker." Man, if I had a dime for every time he tried to get me to be a part of some pyramid marketing scheme that he found, I would be a rich woman right now!

Mother worked at whatever secretarial job she could to bring some regular money in until she found the "Newspaper business." Secretarial jobs or newspaper jobs do not pay squat. Therefore there were many months that Dad would have to pull a rabbit out of the hat so that we didn't get evicted from wherever we were living at the time. Let it suffice to say that we got evicted and/or we moved in the middle of the night frequently.

Because my Father always knew he was just a hair's breath away from the next big money making thing that would make us rich, he borrowed from friends - A LOT. It got to where people avoided answering their front doors when they saw Dad's truck in their driveway. It was really embarrassing for both Mom and I. I was just a kid, but I still understood what was going on.

Fast forward to yesterday, when Mrs. Smith heard my Father's daughter asking for a loan. She finally replied that she would see what they could do to loan me some money - one time. I told her that I totally understood, and I did. She wanted to make sure that I would not continue coming back to them for loans.

Now, Mrs. Smith and I had been having a pretty intense conversation before we even talked about money. I was confirming to her some of the things that she suspected I had gone through as a kid, but didn't know for sure until now. I was explaining to her that these are some of the things that I have been dealing with this year. Not once during that part of the conversation did my eyes get wet or my voice crack.

However, now I felt like I had to reassure Mrs. Smith that despite the fact that I was my Father's daughter, I was not my Father. As I tried to do this, the tears began to fall and talking was not very easy. I stumbled over my words as I tried to get my point across. I believe in the end that she understood. She confirmed that the flashback to my Dad did cross her mind and that was why she made sure to emphasize this would be a one time loan. As I tried to gain my composure to end the call, she advised that they would help me out and a check would be in the mail shortly.

I hung up the phone and began to sob. I had never felt so humiliated in my life. Now, please understand that The Smith's are wonderful people and never in a million years would they intend to make me feel bad. If I were in Mrs. Smith's shoes, I would have had a flashback to the situations they had with my Dad, too. It just felt so awful to be in the position of having to ask for money in the first place and then having to try to prove that I am not my Father.

Let it never be said that your actions do not have far reaching consequences. My Father has been dead for 2 1/2 years and I'm still paying for mistakes he made when I was a child. One thing I have learned from this experience is that I will NEVER be in the situation I am again - NEVER.

Thank you, Mr. and Mrs. Smith for your generosity. I truly appreciate it and I truly love you both. Rest assured that I will prove to you that I am not my Father when I pay you back and then never let myself get into this situation again.

Dad - one of the scars that you left me with got seriously re-injured yesterday and it hurt like hell. However, I will heal again, and I forgive you.

* Name changed to protect their privacy.


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