The hot summer sun was warm on her cheeks as the tractor roared beneath her. The sweet taste of tea was still on the tip of her tongue. Just a young farm girl helping her Daddy cut hay. All she wanted was to make him happy. All she wanted was to be the best daughter she could be. She would follow him around the farm doing chores caring a bucket of grain that weighed almost as much as her. She was a tomboy, a daddy’s girl. Whether it was hunting, cutting wood, or putting up hay, no matter how tough it was she would do it if it meant to look at him and see him grin with approval.
I was that little girl. I lived on a 494 acre farm with my Dad, Mom, two brothers, and sister. Every summer I would ride next to my Dad on the tractor. Every summer until I was 8. My Mom and Dad’s divorce became final in September, a week before my 9th birthday. I no longer lived on the farm I loved with my Dad. We moved to Holton. Almost two hours from where he lived in Marysville.
I would see my Dad every other weekend. He would always ask me when I was going to come and live with him. I would just laugh and say “I don’t know”. I wanted to live with my Mom but I wanted to live with my Dad also. I was torn in two. Every other weekend faded into about once a month. Sometimes not even that. The phone calls eventually quit. I didn’t talk or see my Dad for almost a year and a half.
One night he called my Mom to talk about some legal stuff. Then he asked to talk to me. He said he would like to come down and take me out for dinner or something for my birthday. I was so happy. I was going to see my Dad and things could be like they used to be.
He came down that weekend. When we went out for supper it was so quiet. Nobody hardly said anything. After an hour or two he took me home. When I got out of the car he got out too. He walked over and gave me a hug and said he loved me. I didn’t know that was the last time I would ever talk to him. I would call him but no one would answer and when I left a message no one would call back. I sent him letters but still no reply. It finally hit me. My Dad, my own Dad, didn’t want me anymore. I found out he got married from my brother who had been up there and talked to his friend. I had no clue about the wedding. I guess I wasn’t invited.
My mom and I moved from house to house in and around Holton. No matter what house we lived in it never truly and completely felt like home. My home in Marysville.
My sister thought about calling my dad to have him come to my 8th grade graduation. She thought she would surprise me by having him show up. She made that phone call and when he answered he said he wanted nothing to do with me or my family. It’s been 4 years since I have spoke to my father.
I believe the things that hurt us the most are the things that make us stronger. I have grown and I have learned a lot since I was 8. I still think of my Dad from time to time. I wonder what he’s doing and if he ever thinks about me. But like I said, the things that hurt us the most are the things that make us stronger. I look at this experience as just one of life’s lessons.
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