When you become a parent, you open yourself up to the best and worst kind of heartbreak. Even if they are "perfect" children -- they all grow up and lead their own lives someday. Their pain is still your pain, and when they get older and have kids of their own, they sometimes understand you a lot better. And as for kids ... once they are in their 30s, getting a verbal spanking from dad probably isn't in the cards. But for one family, it was. It was more like a verbal spanking with a belt with spikes ... on fire.
Sixty-seven-year-old Nick Crews is a retired submarine captain who didn't mince words when he wrote an email to his three children. In it, he said: "It is obvious that none of you has the faintest notion of the bitter disappointment each of you has in your own way dished out to us." Ouch. It gets worse.
"We are seeing the miserable death throes of the fourth of your collective marriages at the same time we see the advent of a fifth," Crews continued. He sure is eloquent with his barbs (he's British) and he's clearly unhappy that his children have gotten divorced. But you know who really loves divorce? No one. Even for the people who really want to get divorced, the whole situation isn't a happy one. He goes on:
We are constantly regaled with chapter and verse of the happy, successful lives of the families of our friends and relatives and being asked of news of our own children and grandchildren. I wonder if you realise how we feel – we have nothing to say which reflects any credit on you or us.
Okay, Dad should stop worrying about what other people think and instead focus on some of the good that has to be going on in your kids' lives. Emily, 40, is Crew's oldest daughter. She's a mom of three -- the youngest is just 18 months old -- and married to a doctor. Her first marriage ended in divorced, but she's with Doc now and also works as a translator in France. Crew also has a 35-year-old son Fred who is divorced with one child. Fred has a job, is doing fine, but says his dad berated him all through his life, which doesn't do a lot for a person's confidence. Crew's 38-year-old daughter who is a mom of two didn't wish to be named. Both younger kids aren't on speaking terms with dad since the email was sent. But Emily still is even though she is upset. She said that her dad is right, they all have had failed marriages, but none of them are lazy or have asked him for money or have any drug problems or anything that he should feel that strong type of disappointment over. Check out this part of Daddy Dearest's letter"
The predictable result has been a decade of deep unhappiness over the fates of our grandchildren. If it wasn’t for them, Mum and I would not be too concerned, as each of you consciously, and with eyes wide open, crashes from one cock-up to the next. It makes us weak that so many of these events are copulation-driven, and then helplessly to see these lovely little people being woefully let down by you, their parents.
Copulation-driven. Wow. The fancy way of saying they are all whores. Come on, Dad. HARSH. I understand tough love, but this is renegade-style. Crews, though, is sticking with what he said. This is his response to the Daily Mail:
I really couldn’t have written it any better. I wouldn’t change a thing. I love all my children. If I didn’t I wouldn’t have written it, but if a father can’t tell his kids the truth, then who can? They have to learn to live in the beds they made for themselves. I’m a product of my age, upbringing and a profession which is uncompromising.
He ended the letter saying he was "bitterly, bitterly disappointment" and didn't want to hear from any of them again until they had a better plan for the future for their own kids. He also said they shouldn't burden their mother with any of their "miserable woes."
This whole thing just hurts my heart. Clearly Dad, no matter how much I want to hate on him, is hurting. He is worried for his kids and grandkids and this is how he expresses himself. But life is too short to send scathing emails like this to those you are supposed to love the most. An email isn't a good way to bring up something this hurtful because tone cannot be read and maybe talking it out would have led to a better resolution. Now there are hurt feelings and very hurtful words written.
I think Dad needs to focus more on the good in his family. The fact that he has a family and beautiful grandkids from all his children is a blessing. But family arguments like this often do not end well if no one is willing to break the silence and attempt to forgive, forget, and work toward happier times. I hope someone realizes that before it's too late.
What do you think of Dad's email? Too harsh or deserved?
Image via rahego/Flickr