Dad, now that I am a parent, I look at you in a new light. I see first-hand the struggles that you faced and ran from. I see how much work it takes to maintain a marriage and that you could not find the strength to do it yourself. I see how hard it was to express your love and that you eventually gave up. I see how hard it is to blend a family and that you chose her, over us. I know now how hard it is to juggle a child’s schedule and that you just gave up trying. I know parenting is full of awkward moments and that you weren’t mature enough to do it for our sake.
Dad, somehow I thought that becoming a parent would help me understand you.
I was wrong. You faced a challenge and you decided it was too hard and just ran in the other direction. You never got far, just to the next town over, but to us you could have been a thousand miles away. Mentally and emotionally you left that night, and never came back.
The amount things you missed out on are staggering. I don’t want to waste any more of my time listing out the hundreds of things you missed. You know why? Because Mom was there. Every. Single. Time. No matter how hard she worked that day or how little sleep she got or what she had to sacrifice to give us the things we needed, she was there. Once we adjusted to our new reality, things were OK because we had Mom. If not for her, we would have been lost and alone; does that thought frighten you?
As a child it terrified me to know that Mom was all we had. For a long time I suffered from a deep paranoia that something bad would happen to my Mom. I didn’t have a clue at the time why but as an adult now I completely understand. I was terrified to lose the one parent left.
I learned very young that no good parent does what you did.
I learned that a parent who is truly selfless puts their child first and would chew their right arm off rather than walk out on their child’s life. I learned that constantly and freely expressing my love for my child is not optional. The day you abandoned us, you were wrong. I finally truly know and believe that it was not my fault although it took years and years of therapy to come to that conclusion. It is a freeing feeling to let go of the guilt inside me and put it on you.
Dad, I let you back into our lives, now that I’m the parent. It’s ironic that now you want ‘quality time’ with us when for so long you couldn’t even pick up the phone. While I am not sure if I have forgiven or if I ever really can, I’m letting you get to know your grandchild, because Mom taught me to do the right thing.