It was 1985 and I was married and had my baby daughter when my mom called. I grew up in a small farming community in Ohio where we all went to the same church, everyone knew everything about everyone and everyone knew my dad. He was a journeyman electrician, but he was also a chief of the town ambulance. It was a volunteer position, but he put 110 percent into that for our community.
In the past months, I had heard whispering around town about my dad. He was seen with the town slut. Sorry, there is no other word for her. She was good at breaking up marriages and she had done it to several families. My parents were married 21 years and I had watched my dad grab my mom’s rear as she bent over the stove. I had watched them sitting close to each other in the car (back before bucket seats) and kiss in front of us. All which I thought was disgusting. I never thought a person could come between the love I saw between my parents. I was wrong.
Here I was listening to my mom’s frantic voice on the phone telling me to come over, we needed to talk. I had seen my dad’s truck in the driveway of the town tramp. I was so upset and went home and broke down. My husband at the time consoled me and I told him I knew my dad wasn’t there to talk and I didn’t want him on my property. My husband, thinking he would make it all better, called my dad who came over and tried to explain to me why he was at her home. The two of them were going to paramedic school. He knew my mom would be upset and jealous so he kept it all a secret. He was there having her sign papers. I told my sister and we decided to not tell my mom. How soon would I realize that would be the biggest mistake of our lives. I put my dad on a pedestal, I always have. I learned to love football and Nascar and became competitive because of how he raised me. I was proud to be his daughter.
As I walked into my parent’s home where I grew up my mom, dad and my sister were all sitting at the dining room table. Everyone was crying, except my dad. My mom looked at him in such disgust and I could feel my stomach hit the floor. She said, “Tell her. Go ahead, tell your daughter what the hell you have done.”
He stood up and he came towards me. My dad never scared me, but now I was petrified. He looked at me standing in the kitchen and told me to sit down and I refused. He then told me he was having an affair, with her, the town whore. I blew up like a grenade. I spewed curse words of which in the past I would have never done. I waited for the slap on my face which never came. I was punished many times for lying and now here he was telling me he had lied. He hurt my mom and I was pissed.
My parents tried working it out and eventually a year later divorced. Needless to say that affair with the town tramp for my father didn’t work out. She moved in with him in a house in town and had a revolving door of men about which my dad eventually found out. What they say about affairs most times is very true – the relationship fails because it is based on lies and lust.
My dad started dating a girl I went to high school with. She was only a few years older than me, not to mention she was my friend. Talk about an awkward situation. I told my dad I didn’t like it and eventually my friendship with her became strained. He told me I hated everyone he dated which was not true. I hated that he was dating someone who could be his child.
In time, I learned to realize that the affair hurt my mom. He lied to mom, he destroyed the marriage they had. But I was the kid in all of this. I was hurt, yes, but he didn’t destroy me. I was still his daughter.
I slowly forgave him and I learned to not focus on his affair and more on celebrating that I still had loving parents. My dad went down depression lane and I took care of him taking him over food and such. Then he called me to meet for lunch when I was working in Toledo and I got there and he was with a woman. She was about his age and very nice. We talked and I found out she was related to people I knew in a town next to ours. Then my dad broke the news, they were dating. How did I feel? I was actually relieved. I liked her, at least I did then, then she married my father.
She never had children and was married before, numerous times. She tried to rule my dad and even tried to take over when he lent me his car and they were not even married at the time. She was overbearing and bossy. She owned a balloon shop and one Valentine’s Day she asked me to help.
We took a ride in the van to deliver balloons, it took all day so I had no choice but to talk. It was then, in conversation I grew to like my step mom. She told me about her past and how she had a miscarriage. She wanted children, but she couldn’t have any. She apologized for overstepping her role. Then we became close. I felt more comfortable talking to her than my dad. She was wonderful to his grandchildren also. She watched my kids sometimes and always invited us over on holidays. It was always her that signed the cards and got all the things for the kids and offered to help with parties. She would call and ask about events going on. She was a major part of our lives.
Then all hell broke lose. I moved to South Carolina in 2009 and a year later lost my job. I called my dad who sounded drunk and he lectured me on how stupid I was and my kids were fat and lazy just like me. I couldn’t get a word in. It was 2010 and that was the last time I talked to my father. There have been many times I have wanted to communicate with my step mom via Facebook. I know she is missing our kids. I also know family is everything to her. It is awkward when your oldest daughter is married to your step mom’s cousin’s son. I made peace with her that day in the van. I may never make peace with my father and his way of thinking. I do hope someday my step mom and I can talk again. I do miss her. I realized she has a good heart and she loves my dad. That’s what matters most.