Happy Belated Birthday To You

dad and daughter

Our little one came home after a wonderful weekend with you, excited and overjoyed to see me.

She played, we talked, and I fell asleep as she hung out with Mommy Del, Larry, and Sierra. Eventually, she got tired and came and climbed into the bed with me. And while lately, I have been working on getting her acclimated to sleeping in her room, I decided not to run her away last night.

fatherhood quote

So, she crawled into the bed and turned her back to me. After a few minutes, I heard her softly crying.

I immediately wanted to ask her what was wrong, but I have learned that pushing her makes her shut down. So, I waited. Eventually, she turned to me because she knew I was awake and ready to listen and said, “Mommy, I miss Daddy,” and began to cry profusely! My heart broke – not because I felt slighted as her Mommy but because I felt her genuine pain. I held her, hugged her tight, and assured her that I completely understood how she felt and knew this was hard for her. As she continued to cry, I rubbed her back. I assured her that not being together did not mean that either of us loved her any less, and we would work to ensure we were both actively involved in her life.

Eventually, she stopped sobbing and told me she had a picture of you that she would like to show me. I felt this was her test to see if my words of comfort were sincere.

When I told her I would love to see her picture, she jumped out of bed, ran and grabbed it out of her bag, and showed it to me with a big smile on her face. I suggested she place it on the table next to my bed so that she could feel like you were close. After doing so, she settled down and finally dozed off to sleep.

I have watched what holding on to anger can do to people. So, years ago, I vowed that when dealing with my first genuine heartbreak, anger and resentment would not consume me.

My commitment to letting go of anger has been repeatedly tested through the years. The death of our marriage was my most recent test. Initially, I could only focus on the negative “ish” that went down between us. This focus threatened my ability to keep the promise I had made to myself so long ago, and I almost fell into the hole of bitterness and despair.

Fortunately, with a lot of hard work, honest talks with myself, and deep soul searching over the past several months, I am still keeping that promise to myself.

I write this piece with no anxiety, anger, or resentment. And against the advice of people that genuinely have my best interest at heart, I write this piece as a Mommy, not a lawyer.


Today I send you my heartfelt “Thank You for Being a Great Daddy” Birthday salute! There are far too many children that never get to experience the love of a father.

Fortunately, our daughter is not one of them. Throughout her life, your actions have consistently shown that you love her. Those days of playing in the snow, sitting in the barbershop with you, hunting, and going to the local football games matter. Those days of you cooking her favorite meal, attending Saturday school, and helping to build the school playground matter. Those days of you taking her to Ruby Tuesday’s for a little daddy/daughter time matter. Those days of you flying from Italy to ensure you did not miss her cheer competition matter. They matter just as much as any experience I have provided as her Mommy.

By embracing these moments, I am confident as our lives head in separate directions,  we will be able to navigate as a non-traditional family and continue to be committed to ensuring that our daughter knows that she has at least two people in this world that love her no matter what.  And that is all that matters!

Much Love,


Published by Tonza D. Ruffin

Perfectly Imperfect but VERY PROUD WOMAN, MOM, LAWYER, and AUTHOR, but most importantly...LIFE LOVER! I laugh loud, I work hard, I play hard, I am adventurous, I am curious, I am driven, I have moments of deep insecurity, I am loving, I am vulnerable, I am explosive (not one of my finer qualities), I dance around my house alone, I am an awful perfectionist which makes my insecurity worse, I sing out loud in my car without any concern for whose watching, I have trust issues, I do not live through my children, I no longer try to force my children into the mold that I created so that I could feel validated as a mother, I am a risk-taker, I am guarded in my personal life, I am kind, I am grateful. I am so excited about the rest of my life!

13 thoughts on “Happy Belated Birthday To You

  1. I applauded you for telling your story in a honest way. By doing this, I believe that you are helping other women to heal.

  2. Certainly spoken from a caring, loving parent who obviously puts her children and family first. In this day and time, you hear so many cases of single parents who talk negative of the other parent to their children and proceed trying to make themselves appear the better parent or trying to showing they love them more. I commend you for not being one of those parents and allowing your children to draw their own conclusions without prejudice.

  3. Tonza,
    This is beautiful… In all that you do, continue to not hold on to anger. Just remember that forgiveness is not for the other person, it’s for you!

    Love ya!

  4. Awesome piece… What I’ve found to be most appealing about life is when ur able to see growth & maturity within urself. I salute U for ur growth & maturity blossoming & helping U become the woman that God created U to be. Most ppl don’t recognize the power in operating in HUMILITY, so they miss & hinder their BLESSINGS. Keep being great in every area of ur life & whatsoever U do, do it HEARTILY as unto God and He will give U the PEACE which SURPASSES ALL UNDERSTANDING.

Share Your Thoughts

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.