I was on the phone with a relative today, and I told her my "screen door" story, and surprisingly, she had a friend with a similar screen door story. I couldn't believe how similar the stories were, so I decided to share them with you.
Doesn't everyone, who has ever seen a screen door, know that during the day, you can't see inside the house unless you cup your hand over your eyes and lean your head forward, and press against the screen? If it's light outside, it's generally darker inside, and you can't see inside. There is no argument here, so if you don't believe me, check it out. It doesn't have to be a door; it can be a window screen.
I need to give you a little background because you'll need to understand the situation. My father abandoned my family (Mother and four daughters) when I was just a few months old. I am the youngest. I saw him for the first time when I was seven years old—maybe one or two more times before I became an adult.
Like many children who a parent abandons, I yearned for my father to love me. When I became an adult, my sister and I reached out to our father and began to visit his home, which was about an hour away. So we were finally getting to know him. I have two half-brothers (well, three, but we don't find out about the third brother until way later in life), and I was getting to know them as well. Oh, I forgot to mention that my father had a new wife. She only spoke Spanish, and I only spoke English, so we couldn't talk to each other, but we acted politely.
Now we get to the screen door incident. My father invited us to attend a Police Dog show. The morning of the show, we ran a little late because my sister's kids were still little, and leaving was a little hectic. The plan was that we were going to swing by and pick up my father and two half-bothers. We got to my father's house, I jumped out of the van, ran up to the screen door, and yelled, "we're here" (this was before cell phones), and I ran back to the van because we were in a hurry.
The following weekend my father was supposed to come over to my sister's house. Like a small child eagerly waiting for her daddy, I sat by the window waiting for his car to pull up. It never did. When I got ahold of him by phone a few days later, I asked why he didn't come over. The answer was that when I ran up to the screen door on the weekend of the dog show, my father's wife was standing just on the other side. She saw me plain as day, and I didn't see her. Because I didn't say "hello" to her when I was at the screen door, she became upset and angry, leading to a big fight with my father. After that, we were told that we were no longer welcome in her home. I did explain that I didn't see her blah blah blah, but it didn't matter. Nothing I could say was going to change her mind. My father didn't attempt to connect with us, just like before, and life went on. I didn't see him again until he was at the end of his life.
After telling my relative my screen door story, she said something similar happened to a friend of hers. A daughter and her husband traveled to visit, and stay, with her estranged father and his wife. When they arrived, the husband began to unload the car. He took a couple of pieces of luggage and set them in front of the screen door (oh no!!!) and then went back to the car to get more bags. The father's wife was on the other side of that screen door and was offended that he didn't say hello when he set down the bags. They began to argue, and the father came out and sided with his wife, and the daughter and son-in-law loaded their car back up, drove off, and never saw the father again.
Although my father's wife caused a lot of grief over something that didn't happen, I really don't blame her. What she did was horrible and inexcusable because her motive was to get us out of my father's life. She didn't want my father to foster a relationship with us because, frankly, that's not what she signed up for. I don't even think that she knew that my father had a whole other family before he married her. Therefore, the blame lies with my father because he chose not to have contact and put her before his kids from a previous marriage.
If you've been on either side of the screen door, try to see the view from the other side.