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 in the bed with me. And, while here lately I have been working to get her acclimated to sleeping in her own room, last night I decided not to run her away.
So, she crawled in 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 in any way as her Mommy but because I felt her genuine pain. I held her and hugged her tight and assured her that I completely understood how she felt and I knew that this was hard for her. As she continued to cry I rubbed her back and assured her that us not being together did not mean that either of us loved her any less, and, we would work to make sure we were both actively involved in her life.
Eventually she stopped sobbing and told me that 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 that 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, I vowed, years ago, when dealing with my first, very real heartbreak, anger and resentment would not consume me. Through the years my commitment to letting go of anger has been repeatedly tested. The death of our marriage was my most recent test. Initially, all I could focus on was the negative “ish” that went down between us. This focus threatened my ability to keep the promise that I had made to myself so long ago and I almost fell into the hole of bitterness and despair.
Fortunately, I can say 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 truly 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 barber shop with you, hunting, and going to the local football games matter. Those days of you cooking her favorite meal, going to 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 just to be sure 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!