I refer to my step dad as my dad and only acknowledge the fact that he isnt my real dad when people get to know me well enough that they notice my last name doesnt match anyone in my family. I was never officially adopted by my step dad and I didnt take Maors last name because for a few years we hid our marriage. Its just turned in to one of those things that you keep forgetting to get around to until someone says "but wait.." and you go "Oh yeah... I really need to get that paperwork in."
There are 2 people in my family that constantly bring up my dad. My grandma, who acts like my dad was Jesus reborn and my mom couldnt keep the marriage together, and my aunt who thinks blood means something.
For all of my life I have entertained their conversations about my dad to let them live in their fantasies of who he was. I dont spend a lot of time with my grandma and cherish her wisdom and memories....even if I dont agree with them...and this is the first time I have spent more than 2 weeks at a time with my aunt. So the once a year "have you talked to your dad? You know you should send him a card or something..." has turned in to a monthly conversation where I am slowly trying to work in my distaste for my dad in hopes that they will pick up on it.
Earlier today my dad was worked into the conversation again and my aunt and I snapped on each other.
We were talking about what we need in Israel to get Leas Israeli citizenship while we are there when my aunt chimed in like she knew it all that Lea couldnt get citizenship in another country until she was 18 and could do it on her own cause thats how my half sister through my dad did it.
I said, "Who told you that she had to wait till she was 18? All she had to do was walk in to an office with my dad and sign some paperwork."
She said, "Well he would have done that if thats how it worked."
I said, "No he wouldnt! Remember when I went to Florida with my sister for 2 weeks with Dotty and the whole purpose of it was so we could both see our dad? She flew all the way in from Germany for 2 weeks just to see her dad for the first time in YEARS never mind me and he DIDNT SHOW UP ONCE! If he cant come to dinner hes not going to show up at a court house."
Maor jumped in and I cant remember what he said to try and calm the conversation but my aunt snapped "No! Her dad is mentally ill and she forgets that it is an illness!!"
I had to walk away.
I dont forget my dad is mentally ill. I have been reminded of it a lot through life. He reminded me on the days when he actually picked me up on his visitation days. His chaperon reminded me when he was acting off. His mother reminded me when she tried to make up for his absence but honestly she wasnt too stable herself. I saw a lot of psychologists through life because my mother was so worried that I was going to inherit his madness. They reminded me constantly by asking question after question about things that I just wanted to forget. When I became old enough to figure out what they wanted to hear, a sad case of a child who inherited their tortured fathers disease because that would make a fantastic book entry or magazine article I gave them what they wanted and started to rip apart the new family my mom gave me.
Yes, my real father is bipolar and possibly other things. Does that make the way he treated me and ignored me ok? No. It never will. It will never excuse the times I saw him doing coke. It will never excuse the times he didnt show up for visitation. It wont excuse his not paying child support so my mom had to struggle. It wont excuse never EVER trying to talk to me even though I sent countless cards until I finally figured out I didnt fit in his world.
My sister may be the better person. She does try to talk to him. She calls him every few weeks and wants him to know his Grandkids. She believes blood is blood. She believes he really loved her mom and my mom got in the way. Im ok with that. She grew up with her mom in Germany and didnt have to sit through one of his episodes. She didnt puke after a visitation with him from anxiety. She didnt go on national news as the sad child of a mother speaking up for harsher child support laws.
I dont know how to explain to someone that blood is a liquid. Emotions are my solid. My sister is my sister because we can go YEARS without talking then pick back up without missing a beat. My husband is Leas father because hes there for her, he kisses her boo boos, he sings songs, he plays princess pony's, he is aba (daddy in hebrew). Even if he wasnt really her father he would be her father. My step dad is my dad because he has been there for me when I was a good kid, when I was a shitty teenager, when I was an idiot new adult, and hes a fantastic Grandpa.
I want my step dad to be my dad.
I dont ever want Lea knowing another grandpa exists, especially after my sister told me that she wont tell him shes Muslim because hes a white supremacist (funny thing, as soon as said that a few nazi comments I remember dad saying suddenly made sense) and he may have committed murder. Hes just not a great role model.
So I paced the house today fed up with talking about him thinking of how to end the conversations so he can just be dead to me.
Maor made a stupidly simple suggestion to just tell people from now on "[Name] is my dad. I dont have another one." End of story.
I need to stop arguing and end the conversations all together. I only have one dad.