I should be used to it by now, but I'm not. Perhaps being rejected by my own father is something I wont ever really overcome. I almost wish he would truly ignore me rather than send a token Santa card signed "Dad and Pam." No other words. No wishes for happiness, much less "I'm proud of you" or "I love you." When that boxed card shows up it casts a pall over my whole day. It's not even a hand-picked card from a WalMart display. It comes in a box of 20 cards and 21 envelopes. The box probably cost $5. Less if it was purchased after the holidays last year. Frankly, I'm pretty sure he doesn't even sign it.
It's not that I want gifts--not for me or for my kids. He hasn't remembered my birthday in years. I'm okay with that (as much as I can be) because he doesn't even try. But once a year, at Christmas, this ridiculous card comes and unsettles me.
I try---I call on Father's Day (when I can find a number), his birthday, and Thanksgiving. The last call I made lasted all of two or three minutes. He hung up--better things to do. So, tonight, I'm wrapping his gift for Christmas and preparing to mail it. I'm having a hard time feeling joy in it.
All I feel is hurt. Profoundly hurt.
I did everything I was supposed to do. I went to college, got married, had kids (in that order.) I got good grades. I work hard. I volunteer. I help. I teach. I support my children's dreams. I stayed in church. Logically, I know that I didn't do anything to deserve his rejection. But there it is. He has rejected me--and my family.
And every Christmas a winking Santa card reminds me of how "unspecial" I am to him.