It was time. Jessica couldn’t put it off any longer. Her father had called and left her a message three days ago. Unfortunately, he wanted to come again to visit. It was the same old story, he calls, invites himself up at a time that is convenient for him, and wrecks havoc on her whole family with his toxic residue. Somehow he always managed to make a three day stay feel like two weeks.
She stared at the phone. She had been playing this game with him for 20 years and she just couldn’t do it any longer. She picked up the phone and began dialing. Immediately, her heart started thumping more rapidly and her belly churned with nervous tension. How was she going to do this?
Dear God, please give me the right words. Help me be strong, help me protect my family. Amen.
The phone was ringing now. Maybe she could leave him a message.
“Hi, it’s Jessica.” She couldn’t bring herself to call him Dad, she hadn’t for years.
“Hi, Honey,” he said as if they had a typical parent-child relationship.
“I got your message and I wanted to talk to you about it.”
“This is hard for me to say, but in the past when you have come to visit, it has been uncomfortable for me and my family. Since Mom and I left when I was so young and you and I didn’t spend much time together when I was growing up, I feel like we don’t have a very close relationship.”
“I know. And I’m sorry for that.” He knew all the right things to say, but Jessica remembered from past encounters that what he said and how he acted were two entirely different situations.
Flashbacks of her father visiting and being impolite to her husband raced through her brain. Robert worked at forging a relationship with her father, but he only had so much patience when confronted with her father’s superiority complex and angry outbursts.
“It is difficult for us to be around you when you get frustrated.”
“Honey, I have been trying to work on my anger. I have a difficult time feeling and expressing love because my parents weren’t able to express love to me,” he stated rather matter-of-factly.
“And, I know that you don’t enjoy children, so being around the kids I think will be problematic.” Jessica was candy coating it a little. She remembered how he would so easily get angry at her when she was a child. She was an inconvenience, an annoyance. She saw it play out again with her son the last time he visited. Even though he was only three, Jamie easily determined that he didn’t like this grandfather and steered clear of him. In no time at all her father could have her family walking on eggshells. Even so, she didn’t want to be cruel about it; she just wanted to end these visits that weren’t working for anyone.
“Being around children is hard for me, but I can’t work on it if I am not able to see my grandchildren.” He said somewhat defensively. “Do you want me not to come?”
“I think that would be best.”
“All right then,” he said.
“Maybe we could continue to talk over the phone or email.”
“I’m willing to do whatever you think will help our relationship.”
“Okay, thanks.” Jessica wanted to get off the phone quickly before he said he loved her. She always dreaded that part. She had said it many times over the years because it was ‘the right thing to do’, but she never really felt it. How could she? She only spent two weeks each summer with this man when she was growing up and even then he hadn’t been around much. How can you develop a relationship if you don’t spend time with someone and the time you do spent is trying not to make them angry?
“Sure, I look forward to hearing from you then.”
“Bye”. She hung up the phone. Suddenly, she felt lighter. That weight she had been carrying for the last three days had lifted. She had done the right thing to protect her family. Why had it taken so long? Her mother always told her to let him come and just get through it. Not anymore! She had finally set a healthy boundary. It might not be as potent as she wanted yet, but it was a good start.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
If you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would go to heaven? You can be right now. CLICK HERE
JOIN US at FaithWriters for Free. Grow as a Writer and Spread the Gospel.