This is my first visit to the Band. I looked for this site because, at 54, I am still struggling to understand why my father won’t acknowledge my professional successes. I sent him an email last week asking about his holiday plans and mentioning that I am having a book published (we live about 5 hours apart, driving). I’ve been working on this goal actively for nearly a decade, and dreaming about it since I was in grade school.
I’ve nearly raised two children (they’re teenagers), I have a good marriage, and I’ve supported my family financially through my husband’s 5 layoffs. Don’t I deserve a pat on the head (realize this is an infantalizing image) for also pursuing my own dream all these years, while still doing all that was “expected” of me? My mother died many years ago of cancer. In fact, she was 54, the age I am now.
I signed this book contract six months ago but never mentioned it directly to my Dad, even though we shared a rental house for a week in the interim at a family vacation. Last week, in an email, he praised my daughter for academic persistence in high school, and I felt as though I should point out that she was taking a page from her Mom (me). I’ve written 4 book proposals, each 50-60 pages of work, and finally I made a sale! But, this revelation was met with total silence from my Dad and step-mother. I’m pathetic to still care and need and want this acknowledgement. I shouldn’t even ever have tried!! I should just admit that I’m invisible and stay that way. Why do I keep trying for normal?
I have a lovely mother in-law who takes pride in my accomplishments, all around: wifely, motherly, writerly. My husband does, too, as do many friends. I should be grateful. I AM grateful. I still want to make my father normal! Oy. Hopeless. I am grateful that I woke up from this crazy relationship in time to raise my kids without a narcissistic or victim-mongering mother. But there are bits that won’t go away.