Dad – Finally Understanding Him

Kelly Clarkson’s performance on American Idol last week has gone viral.  She said in an interview with Ellen that she ran off the stage so embarrassed that she cried.  I can’t even listen to this song without getting emotional.  I’m so glad she wrote it, because it has personal meaning to me.  This song will always hold a very dear spot in my heart.

Kelly Clarkson “Piece by Piece” American Idol Performance

I did have the dad (and mom) in my life, letting me know they will always have my back no matter what.  I’ve made my share of mistakes, I’ve brought embarrassment and disgrace to them, but through it all we came out closer and stronger than before.  My dad was always that “strong” man in my life that seemed 8ft tall and untouchable and could accomplish anything.

My dad had a bio father who he is named after (except his middle name) and for that reason his bio dad abused him, but not the other siblings.  He went after him when he was a toddler for having a diarrhea accident.  My grandma jumped in to protect my dad and ended up in the hospital.  My bio grandfather was in the military (ironically served in the Korean War with my “real” grandpa but in difference branches) and would get my grandma pregnant and bail around her due date and then come back after a year or so and repeat it again.  After staying away for so long she asked the military for a divorce and they granted it.

My grandma later remarried a Marine who has been my “real” grandpa and I actually didn’t even know we weren’t biologically related until I was a teenager.  We didn’t use last names when we called them Grandma & Grandpa so it never really clicked until I asked who this “Arlie” character was that they were talking about. They all looked shocked that I didn’t know, but that was something my dad NEVER talked about.  After I found out, my mom would whisper stuff to me because his name was not to be spoken, until I was closer to graduating high school. I never thought twice about it because Grandpa has been my grandpa and the only real father figure my dad had in his life.

Grandpa was strict, but he was a drill sergeant in the Marine Corps, so that’s kinda to be expected.  He did set an example about how a man should treat a woman and provide for her.  Until grandpa married my grandma my dad never knew what it was like to have meat with his spaghetti.  Something so simple as that, and that was such a huge deal for them, that it’s such a strong memory.  I’m thankful for my grandpa coming into my dads life almost 40yrs ago.  My dad was already a teenager but it still made a difference.

My dad always had a hard time when it came to disciplining us, because of his past with abuse.  Now that I think about that, I bet that is why my mom was the one we were scared of LOL!  My dad has never wanted me to feel like I did anything that would cause him to walk out of my life even at my worst he ensured me that he loved me no matter what and he will always be here.  I never really realized it until I heard Piece by Piece that my dad did everything for us so we would never have to feel like he did.

Arlie later on had relationships with my uncles but never my dad.  I guess from what my mom said that he told my uncle he was too ashamed  to face my dad.  My uncle told him if he showed up at our doorstep he wouldn’t be turned away, he just wants him to show up and Arlie never did.  My mom later told me she would see him following us in a store to get a look at myself and my brother because we are his only grandkids.  Later on when I was close to being out of high school the county called to ask if we would take Arlie in for some reason.  They had to contact all family members before taking action and they all said no.

Arlie passed away in 2005 (Weird Fact: He passed away 1yr exactly to the day before my moms dad passed away… weird right?! both my biological grandfathers passed away on the same exact day just 1 yr apart… crazy!) His obituary mentioned his “long time partner” and all her kids and grandkids and my dad and uncles but no mention of my mom, aunts, myself or my brother or my uncle who passed away some years before.  Not that we really cared that we weren’t mentioned.  I only found out because I found the obituary.  I was out of town with friends of the family on a vacation when they attended the memorial service.

I’m so very thankful for both my parents.  They have been married for 33yrs and still act like high school sweet hearts.  They are the prime example of how to have a succesfful relationship.  If they had disagreements they handled it privately, we never knew about them, even to this day.  I need to take a lesson on that, I talk to my mom about basically EVERYTHING.  I don’t have any super close friends to talk with so my mom is my go to person.  I’m very grateful to have been able to grow up never feeling worthless or unwanted.


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