My husband has a complicated relationship with his father. It's not my story to tell but it's a situation where I am in awe that he sees him. It takes a great deal of effort to see his father, to deal with his social issues, to hold his temper, to cope with the complicated feelings that it always brings up. J is usually angry when the visits are over--they never go well. He will have a headache, he will be sad, and he will feel relief that, for now, it is over with.
I can tell you that I would have given up probably ten years ago.
I think that he continues with the relationship out of guilt, naturally, but also because he wishes things were different. And J believes in the best in people. I know that his father will not change, and I am sure J knows it too, but there is always that hope.
I am proud of him for being the kind of person who keeps trying, even though as recently as this morning I was pretty much yelling "TELL HIM NO FOR THE LOVE OF GOD TELL HIM NO," but I am even more proud of the kind of father he is for our daughter. And more than a little smug because I knew he would be.
The two of them are crazy for each other. It is like watching two teenagers falling in love and hanging on to each other's every word--without the humping. They have inside jokes and their little rituals. They hold hands and giggle and it is a little sickening. I can't imagine a circumstance that would make their relationship change into what he has with his dad. I am pretty sure it would involve a lobotomy and possibly some sort of imprisonment. Our daughter will grow up knowing her father loves her every single day of her life.
I feel so lucky to have him as my husband, to build our family together. And though I find his complicated relationship with his father frustrating I know that it is just part of the package. He wants to keep that relationship because he knows what it means to love your child.