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tales of something simple - a letter: to the man who didn’t want to be my father

i believe

Rivers know this: there is no hurry. We shall get there some day.

all types of chaos

a letter: to the man who didn’t want to be my father

Some people write letters they do not intend to send.  They may use it as a form of therapy or healing.  This letter: I sent it.

“Our lives are short.  We spend much time crossing off items on a to-do list, an endless array of activities that never quite seem to be accomplished entirely.  We prioritize the things that are most important to us, making sure that those things are taken care of first.  Often, we spend so much of that time on menial day-to-day things that will be forgotten shortly.  In addition, sometimes we forget what’s important to ourselves, our lives, to the people we care about, and their lives.  In the process you lose something valuable.  You lose an extra bed-time story with your children.  You miss the opportunity to play catch in the yard for an extra ten minutes.  You miss out on dinner with your family because you have to work late.

But if you took the time, if you looked at the grand scheme of things you see things for what they are.  If we all examined our own lives we would understand that the have-to’s shouldn’t exceed the want-to’s.  Often, there are too few moments in our days where we can catch a breath, and catch up on what matters.

I am not an item on a to-do list.  I do not expect to be a priority of yours.  I am not, and refuse to ever be considered as your obligation.  I am no one’s obligation.  With that being said, you do need to understand the other side of this situation.  While your family may not be aware of my existence, your wife may not care for a relationship to take place between you and I, and you may whole-heartedly wish to wash your hands of me, I do not appreciate it.  I do not appreciate being written off as an illegitimate child, to whom part of your pay check is directed every month.  I grew up without a father figure for much of my life, and I do not blame you, or my mother.  I told you many years ago that I don’t expect you to take it back, or feel sorry for it.  But you had better take responsibility for it.

I cannot control what you do, or how you feel.  I’m not asking you to be my father figure, or to even like me.  I find it shameful that you choose to keep who I am and my life a secret from everyone you know.  I refuse to be your secret.  For nearly nineteen years I have been neatly stored away in a child support check.  I am no longer a little girl.  I grew up and you missed it.  I hope that for the rest of your son’s lives, you are there for their every moment.  Their field trips, their awards, their conferences, their first girlfriends, their report cards, their varsity letters, their first days of school, their first time driving a car, their first middle school dances, their first jobs, their proms, their senior pictures, their college applications, their graduations from high school and from college, their weddings, and their children.  I hope for you to be there for all of that, because you will remember those times, those memories, for the rest of your life.  You missed all of my moments.  All of my joys and all of my growing pains.  Instead, I had a mother who did her very best to be the greatest mom and support system that she was capable of.  She has spent her life filling in, for you.

Growing up I did not resent you, but as of today, I do.  Sixteen years ago you had the chance of meeting me, and without knowing me, you chose that having a child was not what you wanted in your life at the time.  But last January, you met me again.  Except this time I was not an innocent two year-old toddler.  I was a vulnerable and curious seventeen year-old young girl, who wanted to put the name to the face.  I don’t feel that I made a mistake in doing that.  But you see, I take it personally.  I take it personally that after getting to know who I was, who I had grown up to be, you still took the easy out.  I take it personally that I am a deeply hidden secret of yours.  If you were to argue that, I would probably call you a liar.  I feel sorry for you.

I asked you to come to my graduation for a very simple reason.  I asked you to come because you missed my first steps, my first words, my first days of school, and my softball games.  But you didn’t have to miss my graduation.  That after all of these years, you could see me walk down the isle wearing my royal blue cap and gown, and be proud that despite your lack of involvement or presence, I turned out well.  That finally, once and for all, you could be at peace with choices you made long ago.  And your presence at my graduation from high school would have meant something to me.  It would have meant you took responsibility.  You cared enough, to show up, just one time.  I didn’t realize, that it was asking so much.

Your response caused a major hurt within me, that you will never be able to make up for.  Your lack of emotion toward me, your lack of conviction in having any kind of relationship with me, makes me sad.  I hope that you are able to live the rest of your life at ease with the decisions you have made in your life, including choosing not to be involved in mine.  You can run away from facing the truth, and owning up to your secrets and lies to your parents and family.  But I must warn you, out of sight does not mean out of mind.  I am living proof of your genes, your DNA, and your family tree.  And although June 17th may be a celebration of your loss of parental rights, I am still, and always will be, a part of you.  And that, you cannot run away from.

Hug your children tonight, and don’t ever let them go.”

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