Last week my ex-husband emerged, like the Loch Ness
Monster, from the murky depths he calls home, to bring a little horror and
revulsion into our lives. Not for him the thought of thinking fondly of his daughter at Easter - or indeed at any other time of year. But then, I guess nobody ever suggested that the Loch Ness monster was all heart...
What caused the ex-husband to rise momentarily from the deep was this: filthy lucre. Albeit a small amount of same.
My father left my daughter a sum of money in his will that would help pay for her university education. Given her tender age the money was invested for her in trust, in my then husband’s name. Now, that she is of an age to have that trust put into her own name she made contact to request the transfer. His reply was that all monies in his name are his. Tough luck. End of story.
Now the money is one thing. The message that he is a father who can willingly deny and cheat his own daughter of what he knows is rightfully hers is another. Nor, as a respected, well-paid professional, does he have any excuse for this behaviour.
My daughter felt devastated by her father’s response. I felt saddened and ashamed beyond all measure that this is the best father I could give her.
For two days we were profoundly miserable. And then we bounced back. Yes, he’s in the running for the Beastly Dad of the Year Award 2006; still he had a part in making a wonderful child.
As for my daughter, in the past her father’s horrid sorties from the Stygian depths have resulted in weeks and months of chronic eczema, and self-doubt. Not this time.
What she takes from this experience is a belief that her father does not love her; certainly not in any way that she considers valuable. She can accept that that is all about who he is - without blaming or punishing herself. Maybe he can’t love her, but she knows that other people can, and do, and that she is lovable.
Once she and I felt utterly devoid of resources. But no more. We struggled, we learned and we came through. In retrospect, I could wish that we had known then that all we had to do was what we could with what we had from where we were. It would have made those early steps far easier along the journey we still travel joyfully.
We both hope those words: “Do what you can, with what you have, from where you are” will be a gift to you.