I always struggle with what to ask my dad and his wife to get me - they don't really know me all that well, and I just struggle. But, when I was thinking about it this year, I decided that actually, I didn't want a present, but I'd like a day with my dad and my brother. Just the three of us, going out, doing something.
I know 4 people who have lost brother's, sister's, mum's and dad's this year - they're not lucky enough to get to spend a day with them again, and I'm lucky enough to have all of my family and I should stop taking them for granted.
I spoke to my brother about it to see what he thought. "I'm up for it," he said, "but he won't do it. Not without her."
Her. Yeah. So that's my dad's wife. They've been married 4 years, together for maybe 15. The two of us have never got on. She's an evil, manipulative little dwarf, and I have no time for her. To be honest, she didn't endear herself to me when she called me a user and a bitch because I called my dad for a lift one night. I was 17.
But the day out isn't about her, or Mr B, or them feeling left out. This is about me, my brother and my dad having a day out - to enjoy each other, to have fun and, actually, to get to know each other a bit.
My mum and dad divorced when I was 6. My brother doesn't remember him ever being at home. We've always seen him and spent time with him at the weekends, but to be honest, he's never been one of those weekend dads that made an effort. Usually, a weekend consisted of me and my brother watching TV on a Saturday morning while he slept; a trip to town; shopping at Tesco; a really late night and "Sunday dinner" at KFC before taking us home. He never went above and beyond - never picked us up from school, or took us out in the week... He had us for 2 days a week, and that was it.
As we got older, we spent less time with him. I got a Saturday job (like most teenagers) and the money and independence that gave me became more important.
Still, no effort from him. I'd suggest that we could go for dinner together - he couldn't be bothered. To the snooker club? Nah, not this week.
So, I can totally see why my brother didn't think he'd be up for it.
I decided that my best course of attack was to her Her onside first. By appealing to her "better nature", I might be able to convince him.
So I spoke to her. Surprisingly, she thought it was a good idea, and could see where I was coming from. She told me that every Christmas she wondered if that was the last card that she'd get from her dad until 1 year, it was.
Just Dad to convince, then.
I told him what I thought, asked what he thought and yeah, he thought it was a good idea. That was on Sunday two weeks ago.
On the Monday, he called me to say that he'd been thinking about it, and he didn't want to do it. He, as a husband, couldn't leave his wife at home for a day, and he didn't think it was right for me to do that to MY husband either.
What the .... WHAT!?!
I pointed out that my husband wouldn't dare tell me that I couldn't spend a day with my brother and my dad, and if he did, I'd tell him where to go. I'm MARRIED, not a a siamese twin. I also pointed out that, when I'd spoken to Her, she'd totally understood where I was coming from and thought it was a good idea. That shut him up. He was using Her as an excuse, and didn't realise that I'd spoken to her, in advance.
I told him to think about it - again - and let me know. But that I'd be really disappointed if he didn't do it because there are plenty of people that would like to spend a day with a parent that they don't have any more.
I didn't hear anything for 2 weeks. I didn't think I was that bothered by it, until he eventually called me on Monday. I was expecting a blazing row that would signal the end of our father / daughter relationship - that's how passionately I felt about this day out.
His next excuse was that he wasn't prepared to do it and have Her not have a Christmas present from us. Because - obviously - at 56, she can't possibly NOT have a Christmas present one year *eyeroll*.
I pointed out that at NO POINT did I suggest that She and Mr B didn't get Christmas presents. Just that the three of us wouldn't - we'd use the money towards the day out.
After a bit of huffing a puffing, he's agreed to it.
MAMMOTH post - so sorry!