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So Much For No Child Left Behind, Part 2

, , , , , , | Related | September 1, 2020

I am the author of So Much For No Child Left Behind. I thought I would let the readers know that despite everything, I turned out okay and don’t hold grudges.

My dad and step-mom separated when I was fourteen and were legally divorced a year later. Right after they separated, his mother died rather traumatically. My mom decided that without my step-mom around, my dad may become unpredictable, and she suspended my visits with him.

About six months later, I started visiting him after school on Fridays and he dropped me off at home by the time my mom left for her third-shift job at nine. Things were going well, and he was acting like a dad, though I figured it was a phase.

Everything is fine for a while. He has a string of girlfriends that are okay, but most don’t really want to date a man who has his issues. I start staying all weekend with him and teach him basic domestic tasks he was never taught. Then, his new girlfriend shows up.

She seems nice, but she has three grown children and five grandchildren. They immediately begin spending their weekends with him, and before I know what’s happened, the oldest and her boyfriend have moved in with my dad and take over the tiny bedroom that belongs to me.

I get fed up and stop going over because her family is taking over the household and suddenly I’m not allowed to listen to heavy metal because it’s “got too many messages her grandchildren can’t hear.” Mind you, I always wear headphones anyway. Eventually, he moves with her two hours away without telling me. I don’t hear from him except once at Christmas wanting to know what I want. I forget about it and move on.

Years later, I am married and in college, and I have a brand-new baby. I’m starting college belatedly due to lots of issues regarding money and general family things, but I’m rocking it.

My world falls apart. I get a call from my dad’s sister saying she just found out that my dad is in the local hospital, possibly dying. The reality ends up being far worse. He has cirrhosis of the liver and there may be neurological issues. I find out that, because of improper medical and dental care, an abscess has formed on his brain, and if he lives, he will be nearly helpless.

Because we have not seen one another or spoken to one another in years, a patient advocate has to mediate. He agrees to let me handle everything and signs forms, and they have to test him to make certain he is capable of making the decision.

I spend time with him as often as I can, but at each visit, he is worse and worse. He knows me but he sometimes talks about me like I am someone else he is speaking to about me. Once, he begins to cry and beg for forgiveness. I can’t not forgive him, but I am still hurting from a lifetime of rejection and broken promises.

One day, he simply lapses into a coma and doesn’t wake up. I arrange as much as I can and deal with it. If you want to know where the girlfriend was, she’s the one who ditched him at the hospital and contacted friends who set out to find me through various people.  

Before he died, I asked him if he remembered leaving me behind to go to Mexico. He told me he does and that it was really stupid for him to leave me since it ended up making our relationship worse.  

I looked at him and said, “You remember how you told Grandma you knew it was a ‘hassle’ to keep me? Well, apparently, your girlfriend thought it was a hassle to keep you, so she dropped you off here.”

He looked at me with his mouth open and said, “SHE DID!”

Petty of me? Sure. Correct? Absolutely. Did I do the right thing in showing up and making the calls? Yes. Do I regret it? Nope. Do I take my kids on all of my vacations? Yep.

So Much For No Child Left Behind

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