Alma Pater

Dads are strange things, aren’t they? I’ve been in the fortunate, or unfortunate depending on how you look at it, situation of having two for most of my life.

My mum and dad (biological) separated when I was roughly 4 and both remarried. I was brought up by my mum and stepdad (who I called Dad), while seeing my dad and stepmum on alternate weekends for most of my childhood.

I came to look on my stepdad as my real dad (because he was there most of the time) and he was very good to me, taking me on as his own. Meanwhile, the relationship with my real dad became strained and more and more distant. I came to look upon him in a more avuncular way, rather than paternal and I think, especially as I grew up, our similarities managed to drive us further apart, rather than closer together.

My stepdad died, sadly, almost two years ago, after a long period of ill-health, so the only father figure in my life now, is my dad. I have also, in recent years, left my first wife and settled down with my current partner, with who I have Schmoo.

That has been the biggest factor in rekindling my relationship with my Dad. We never stopped talking, but we could go months without proper contact and he frustrated me no end.

Now C’s opinion of him and my stepmum is far higher than my ex-wife’s ever was. I live closer to them than ever before and, having talked things through with my counsellor, I realised that I needed to make an effort to, at least, see if I could improve things.

Well, things had been better for a while, and then I told him about my recent bout of depression and the floodgates have opened. We’ve been in touch more in the last few weeks than we have (almost) in the last 6 months.

Yes, he still annoys me and, yes, I know we still have a long way to go, but things are definitely on the mend.

Anyway, the point of all this is because it taps in so closely to my relationships with Schmoo and B. I know that at times, my daughters will become intensely frustrated and pissed off with me. Equally, I hope I make it clear to them that they can come to me, whatever the problem or request.

Familial relationships are never easy, I know, probably because blood means that characteristics are shared and these cause friction, rather than harmony most of the time. But I know I want things to be easier for my kids with me than they have been for me with my mum and dad.

Here’s hoping…

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