Good Fathers and Shitty Men

I pressed my face into the carpet. Tired of running up and down the stairs, and hopeful that the sump pump would miraculously start working. I was pretty sure the switch was broken. I wanted to call my father, but I was hesitant. I’m a strong independent female. I don’t need a man. But it wasn’t a man I was calling to help. It was a father. There was a difference. Fathers are supposed to help. They want to help. At least, the good ones did.
So I called.
He came over as soon as he could, along with a large load of stuff I had left in my parents basement. My mother tagged along. Hugging me as she came in the door and whispering in my ear “I know you’re probably not emotionally ready for the clutter we are about to bring into your home.” She was right. I wasn’t. I already had so much I would have to clean. It just added to the noise. She and I began to unload the truck all the same while dad took a look at my sump pump.
“Switch is on the blink it looks like.”
Good fathers use words like “blink” because they watch a lot of PBS Masterpiece Theater.
“I’ll go get you a new one.”
Good fathers also buy you new sump pump switches.
He left to pick up a new switch with my mom, as I took my time unloading boxes and trying to figure out what to keep and what to get rid of in each of them. By the time they got back, three boxes had been recycled with their contents still within, and five more were sitting in the guest room, waiting to be taken to the thrift shop. In the basement two boxes had been filled completely with trash. By the time I was finished, I had a feeling my recycling guys would have to make several trips to and from the truck to take care of all the paper I was recycling and held on to far too long.
Most of the paper work I tossed was a combination of former assignments from as far back as highschool. Some were drawings from college that meant nothing. Others were sketchbooks full of thumbnails of designs I would never make or was completely finished with and never wanted to look at again. Others, were love letters. Ones from past boyfriends that I had held onto. I tossed them all, but not without reading them first.
When my parents left that evening, my mind returned to my love letters. Three men from my past has left me their written words. As I read them I felt a sense of fear wash over me. It reminded me of a recent feeling I had become aware of. I had confided in my mother about it only the day prior as I picked up my wedding dress. I had told her that I was terrified that my wedding day was going to be the only day that I ever felt loved.
As I analyzed this feeling I realized it was probably the reason I had not wanted to have a wedding that was a big deal in the first place. I had wanted a quite courthouse wedding with immediate family. I wanted to wear a simple cocktail dress in white. I wa to go out to dinner with the family afterward and then slip away to a bed and breakfast to start a quiet and low key honeymoon. Romantic, but nothing that was a huge deal, because to me weddings are not a huge deal….because I was afraid of them.
My fear of weddings is not to be confused with a fear of marriage. I love my fiancĂ©. I want to be his wife. What I’m afraid of is the wedding day being the only day he shows me affection and makes me feel valuable and loved. My mother told me she had a similar feeling about being pretty. She felt like her wedding day was the only day she felt pretty. I don’t care about pretty, I care about being loved. What if he stops after that day? What if he emotionally shuts down or thinks he doesn’t have to try anymore? What if he doesn’t really love me, but is just terrified of being alone?
What if my marriage is a huge lie?
I know it’s silly and even absurd. But still, I’m afraid of things turning for the worst. Like all those others, who wrote down how much they cared about me so long ago, and failed to prove it to me….or lied to me. The ones I ripped up and threw in the trash like I felt they did to me.


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