My dad was always involved in all my school activities. He volunteered to help on field day, assisted in school assemblies, and often picked me up to go home for lunch. To all my friends he was the absolute coolest dad a girl could ask for. We had a nearby desert by my house and we often went lizard hunting. My friends and I would have a blast looking at all the wildlife and catching geckos to learn more about them. At times my dad would even bring me a happy meal from McDonald's to school for lunch. It sure made me popular at my lunch table.
I got used to seeing my dad everywhere. This was the norm for me. In third grade my dad became good friends with my teacher so he was more present than ever. I recall one day at recess I was eating my happy meal in the car with my dad as I looked at all my friends play. My parents were in a heated custody battle at the time. He kept talking about the evils of my mom and how I would have to choose a parent. I was in tears just wanting to run through the playground and into school. He didn't let me leave the car until the bell rang that recess was over. As I walk through the blacktop, tears streaming down my face, my father calls for me to go back to him. I'm frozen in fear as to what to do. My classmate's mom, a fellow parent volunteer was walking in at the same time and she put her arms around. I know she scolded my dad and questioned his parenting skills. She also mentioned how strange she saw it that he'd have me out for lunch instead of letting me socialize with friends. I really can't remember details. The strongest impression I have was how warm and safe I felt being held in her arms. I still recognize the smell of her perfume to this day. As we walked in she pushed me to tell her what was wrong and she very much wanted to take me to the principal's office so I could talk to somebody. I just recall sobbing and shaking my head no. I don't think I knew what if anything could have been wrong.
My father never had a running vehicle. He always bounced from car to car. We would walk to the grocery store at times and eventually settled on me riding my bike as he walked. As we returned from a random trip to a local gas station I lost control of my bike and crashed into a parked car at the front of our apartment complex. In his typical fashion my dad laughed as I cried and we walked the rest of the way home. He asked if I was hurt and I said yes but could only point between my legs. As soon as we got home I went to the bathroom and saw a huge bruise forming on the top of my pubic bone, black and blue. This scared me so much I told the only person I could...my father. He asked to see and told me to get a cold towel with salt. Salt takes away bruises he explained. I'm standing there, pants unzipped, run and do as I'm told. He's seated at the couch and takes the towel from me. He asked me to pull down my panties slightly. I do as I'm told. He holds the towel and holds it firmly over the bruise. I stand next to the couch and he stares at the television in a daze. After about 5-6 minutes he starts moving the towel in a circular motion. I feel uncomfortable but don't have anyone else to turn to. After another 2-3 minutes he shifts the towel slightly lower then removes the towel and throws it at me. "Do it yourself!" he scolds. He gives me a look of disgust. I'm unsure what I've done wrong but I'm grateful I get to escape to my room.
Our school asked for parents to volunteer during lunch periods also. At this point my father has stopped taking me out of school for lunch but volunteers on all his days off. I found the most embarrassing thing as a kid was to have to kiss your parents in front of your friends. I was taught from very little to kiss on the lips. It was never anything awkward or strange in my family. As I walk to go throw away my trash I run into my dad and he makes me kiss him. Its a loud lunchroom and all the kids are racing for the doors to go to recess at the time. I reach up to kiss him and our lips touch, his mouth is wide open and opens mine. I recall his hot breath entering my mouth. Our lips pressed against each other for just a little too long. I pull back and look around in embarrassment. I'm hoping no one saw but at the same time I'm praying someone did. From this point forward I turned cheek anytime any family member ever tried to kiss me. Still to this day I find kisses awkward and unwelcome.