Five years old.
That’s how old I was the first time he left.
At four years old, my mom married a man, who soon after, adopted me. He took on the rights and responsibilities of being my dad and said he would take care of me. He made a promise to be committed to me and love me; always. Unfortunately, he did not keep his promise.
Not only did he leave my mom’s side during the divorce, he left mine as well. Over the years he met someone, they married and wound up having their own daughter. Through this he would come around for a few months and then he would disappear again. I was only a child, and I could not understand why he did not come around, why he wanted to cause me so much pain. For years I could barely look at myself in the mirror, I blamed myself for his absence. I must have done something horrible for my father to not want me, right ? For nearly twenty years he broke my heart. Over and over and over.
I fell into a self hate lifestyle, which quickly turned into hating men. The first man to ever break my heart was my father, so why would I trust another man. I was so mentally destroyed by him that I was afraid to have children. I felt that I would be like him and be unable to commit to a child or that I would be with a man that could not handle the commitment. I refused to raise a child in a home without a parent.
I met my husband and I had severe trust issues. He worked hard to prove to me that he was not going to leave me like my dad did. Eventually, he restored trust that had been long gone. He showed me that any children we may have had he would be there for always. When we found out we were pregnant I overwhelmed. I was excited but I was also scared. I remember questioning if my husband wanted children, if he was ready. He made me feel confident that we would be great parents, that our children would never know what it was like to grow up feeling unloved.
For years I blamed myself for my dad’s absence. For years I did not know how to love or respect myself, because he was never there to teach me. Finally, upon having a child of my own, I have learned these characteristics. I have embraced the love I should have for myself and I hold onto it daily. I love my husband more than ever and I love myself more than I ever thought possible.
I had never known love from a father, but the love I have for my son is astounding. Every day I fall in love with this beautiful little boy. I will no longer allow my father’s failures to define who I am, and I refuse to allow it to take away from my family.
If I were to ever speak to him again, I would tell him thank you. Thank you for being absent. The bond between my mother and I growing up shaped me into a wonderful person. The fear I had of men, and the lack of trust for them helped me to find an amazing husband. Thank you, because your absence taught me what type of parent I wanted to be. I wanted to be present. I wanted to experience every single thing I could; never missing a beat.
So, thank you absent father for being just a man to me. Because of this, I am more than just a mother.