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Old 04-24-2013, 07:46 AM
 
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I suppose I shouldn't expect different behavior, but somehow I did.

This is once again shining a light on an issue that is sensitive to me.

When I was a baby my Dad took a consulting job that took him away from home all week and then joined the Teritorial Army and was away playing army games most weekends. This after he had moved my Mother to a new town where they didn't know anyone and she had no car so was trapped Ina great house in a great suburb, but with no interaction with anyone other than a baby (me).

I think he thought he was doing the best thing for us by working more and harder and putting us in a desirable neighborhood. If you knew my Mother you would know that this was hell for her - she is such a social person. She begged him to get a job closer to home even if it paid less, but he wouldn't. They ended up divorced when I was around 6.

I guess that it was easier for me to assume that he was absent with me because he was misguided but trying to meet our needs financially if not emotionally. I did see him at weekends pretty regularly and he did finance a lot of things for me, but it was never the relationship I hoped for.

He doesn't have the same excuses with my daughter so I hoped he would be able to enjoy the relationship without having any of the pressure.

Now I am having feelings of suspicion that the job choice and absence were not misguided attempts to do the best thing, but rather an excuse to stay away. Mainly from me as I think his relationship with my Mother had been fairly decent (if a little thoughtless) prior to that. It's a realization that frankly sucks.

I know he loves me and enjoys seeing me and speaking to me. He just doesn't need it to be very often.
I think I just have to work through it a little again and once again readjust my expectations.
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Old 04-24-2013, 08:26 AM
 
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Not all parents are good parents. It's sad, but true. Likewise, not all grandparents are good grandparents or fit the grandparent mold. I suggest you accept your father for what he is, and enjoy the time you do spend with him, and do talk to him and not worry about whether he should/could be doing more. Just take things at face value rather than comparing them to others or to an ideal.
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Old 04-24-2013, 08:30 AM
 
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Obviously, since you grew up with him and describe him as both unaware and uninvolved in your own childhood you are expecting him to change. The best thing you might do is explain how important it would be for him to come and share in this experience a bit more often. Also, I would imagine it is expensive to travel. Maybe there is a way you could entice him with either a free plane ticket...or at least signup to get those airline deals so that you can forward the specials as a hint.
My husband has his first grandbaby. We are making sure that he gets to fly out ever 3 months. I didn't have that luxury when my grand kids (in calif) were infants...So, I push this. He just got back from his second trip...loved it!!
You Dad may be more typical than you know. It is very nice to see the younger generations and the involvement of the Dads...My era Dads were more like yours.
I hope that you can get through this and just try to make your Dad understand your feelings...and also give consideration to some of what he may be dealing with while supporting his wife whose going through these issues with her mother. Sometimes we have to spend our money to help our parents...it might be that sort of time for your dad and being retired he has less discretionary income for plane tickets.
Good luck on this. And Congrats on your new baby!!
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Old 04-24-2013, 08:41 AM
 
11,685 posts, read 13,095,304 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hobokenkitchen View Post
....I guess I feel a bit hurt - he missed most of my childhood and now he's missing his grand daughter's as well.

So am I being unreasonable? It's not his kid, we are the ones who live in a different country, I'm an adult and shouldn't worry about such things, etc.

Or do I have a point?

For the record he is a highly educated person but is completely impossible to talk to. He can only see things from his own point of view. Explaining doesn't seem to help...
In my opinion, the above observations you have made answer your question...plus, I had to laugh over his birthday present. Hes sentimental about your birthday for the thrill of shining a light on his own life.

Your father is into himself and does things his way. Other than the sight of his face and some boring gifts, just what do you think he is going to give your child as a grandparent? Be grateful that your mother is different, and that you have caring in-laws.
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Old 04-24-2013, 09:27 AM
 
Location: Dallas area, Texas
2,237 posts, read 2,761,593 times
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Let me say, that I am not a doctor, but, have you considered that your father may have an undiagnosed case of Asperger's Syndrome? From what I have heard, lots of older people, particularly men, aren't diagnosed with this high functioning form of autism until they start having relationship problems.

My son has asperger's and a couple of your comments caught my eye:
"...he's not that good at imagining what other people might like."
"For the record he is a highly educated person but is completely impossible to talk to. He can only see things from his own point of view. Explaining doesn't seem to help."

If he has this dis-ability, it may be easier to understand him and his in-ability to connect with you and your daughter.

Just posing the possibility.
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Old 04-24-2013, 09:29 AM
 
Location: Colorado
4,308 posts, read 11,473,061 times
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Here's the thing: You can't change the past - it's over and done with. And you can't change your father - all you can do is try to accept what he is. You already admitted talking with him won't make any difference and altho it's hurtful and sad, you may just have to live with the situation as is. He's made the choice to be like this and beating your head against that brick wall will only cause you pain. So much nicer when it stops .
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Old 04-24-2013, 01:38 PM
 
Location: Western Washington
8,004 posts, read 9,671,359 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DitsyD View Post
Let me say, that I am not a doctor, but, have you considered that your father may have an undiagnosed case of Asperger's Syndrome? From what I have heard, lots of older people, particularly men, aren't diagnosed with this high functioning form of autism until they start having relationship problems.

My son has asperger's and a couple of your comments caught my eye:
"...he's not that good at imagining what other people might like."
"For the record he is a highly educated person but is completely impossible to talk to. He can only see things from his own point of view. Explaining doesn't seem to help."

If he has this dis-ability, it may be easier to understand him and his in-ability to connect with you and your daughter.

Just posing the possibility.
Have you considered this option, Hoboken? Your father has had these issues your entire life. Although it is disappointing for you, perhaps it's best that he doesn't visit often. You said that your mother is a VERY sociable person, so it's not a surprise that she has made the journey to see you multiple times. Your father is antisocial? Holy cow....imagine how tough it must be for him to be stuck in an airport and then on a long flight. Hahaha....sorry, just imagining it myself.

I think you should simply accept things as they are. Families have survived for generations, without ever really knowing their grandparents/grandchildren. Yours will surely survive not knowing your father any better than you did. Be content with what you have.....and don't waste your life longing for what you don't have. Be blessed and happy!

To the best of my knowledge, I met my grandmother (NY) once. She was a mean beyotch who terrified me. LOL My NY grandfather was not much better and I only saw him 3 times. He was a grouchy, mean old man (or perhaps it was his gruff NY mannerism). I didn't know my TX/OK/CA grandparents much better. The grandfather was okay, but the grandmother was pretty antisocial. Sometimes, grandkids are better off NOT being around their grandparents, ya know what I mean? At least if he's not around, he can't be someone your child is uncomfortable around, right?
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Old 04-24-2013, 02:18 PM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan
24,728 posts, read 59,646,697 times
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How many times have you taken his grandchild to visit him?

Have you made it clear you feel he was a poor father? He is likely embarrassed or remosreful or ashamed to visit. I know several dads who were too busy for their kids who now feel this way "There is no reason she woudl want me around"

Force him to realize what he is missing. Go take him out with his grandchildren. try that a dozen times. If he fails to respond with interest in his grandchildren then maybe you can write it off as you simply ddrew a bad luck card in the father department.

Maybe he has fear of flying but will not admit it. Or maybe he is just old fashioned and to him taking a flying trip is a BIIIG deal. Not something you do more than once every few years.
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Old 04-24-2013, 06:53 PM
 
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He isn't anti social at all - he's very involved with his church and the choir and socializes with them a fair bit I think. He's also charming and sought out at family parties, etc. People want to talk to him.

He is definitely very self focussed. I actually laughed over his birthday gift too. It really was a bit typical of him.
From now on I'm just going to give him a framed photo of myself for every birthday or Christmas.

He definitely doesn't mind flying - he's travelled all over the world on business and for pleasure until his wife decided she wasn't comfortable flying anywhere.

I have not really made him feel guilty about his lack of presence in my childhood. I'm sure he has some, but I doubt it affects him at all. We get on well when we are together. His visit was thoroughly enjoyable. He was a good guest and we enjoyed seeing him. He seemed very interested and excited about the baby.

It would almost be easier if we didn't get on - if he were cold and distant - disinterested in the baby. Then it would be easier to say good riddance. But he's not. He's great. But it's like 'out of sight, out of mind'. I just don't get it. He seems delighted to hear from me, but calls maybe three or four times a year.

I have stopped emailing him unless he has responded to my last email. I used to keep trying and get upset if I got nothing back, so I just decided to stop repeating the pattern. If I haven't heard from him in a few months I might send a follow up email, but otherwise I don't keep being the one to always get in touch.

I do feel that we are both missing out not seeing more of him, but the person missing the most is him.

I have been tempted to send him pictures of his granddaughter saying - 'this is what you're missing', but really what's the point?

As I said we have not flown with the baby yet. Hopefully soon. For the record he is very comfortable financially - no money worries at all.
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Old 04-24-2013, 07:18 PM
 
Location: The New England part of Ohio
17,589 posts, read 21,777,388 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hobokenkitchen View Post
Here's a quick rundown.

I am a little disappointed in my Father, but I'm unsure if I have reason to be disappointed, or if I have unrealistsic and unfair expectations.

I am from the UK and have lived in the US for over 10 years after marrying my American husband. I am in my mid 30s if this makes a difference. In July of 2012 my husband and I had a baby girl.

Both my husband's and my parents are divorced, so as you can imagine we have quite a lot of guests - my Mother visited once while I was pregnant and has been over 3 times since the baby was born, my Mother in law has come up 4 times and we have been there once, and my Father in law has been up twice to see her. Both in laws live about a 6 hour drive away.

My Father on the other hand has only been here once just before Christmas.

My birthday was last week and for my birthday my Father sent me a book on the history of the company he worked for before he retired which is quite typical of him - he's not that good at imagining what other people might like. I am actually reasonably interested in reading bits of it which I think may mention him, but it's hardly the most thoughtful gift.

I asked him if he was planning another visit over here and he said no as his (awful) wife's Mother is having trouble acclimating to her apartment after a week in hospital and they feel they need to be there in case of an emergency. No matter that they live hours away from his wife's Mother and she has another daughter who lives 5 minutes away.

Listen, I get it - we just lost my Grand Mother a couple of weeks ago, I know how difficult it is with elderly people and how tough it can be to get away when they are having issues, but my Mother managed it 4 times in the past year and a half.

I guess I feel a bit hurt - he missed most of my childhood and now he's missing his grand daughter's as well.

So am I being unreasonable? It's not his kid, we are the ones who live in a different country, I'm an adult and shouldn't worry about such things, etc.

Or do I have a point?

For the record he is a highly educated person but is completely impossible to talk to. He can only see things from his own point of view. Explaining doesn't seem to help.

Any thoughts? How much interest in your kids do you expect from your parents?

No, you are not being unreasonable. It is normal for a grandparent to want to be as involved as possible with their grandchildren.

I have a similar situation. My father has a horrible and selfish wife. They are a huge family, and there is always some family event or emergency that seems to supersede and event in my children's life.

I'm not gonna lie, it hurts.

When my eldest graduated from High School last year, they were invited but the step-mother's mother was not feeling well. She is 94, so she is frequently not feeling well.
I was hurt but not shocked.

I'd be happy that there are other grandparents. I hate to say this, but it's doubtful that your dad will ever change. I think your father is being sucked into the family of his wife.
It's a terrible thing, but some women - and it does tend to be women - just can not share their husbands.

Again, be grateful that there are other grandparents to love and visit your children.
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