Most little girls fantasize about becoming a mother. I was no exception. I would have lists of potential names for my future babies dancing in my head. When I conceived my daughter at 18 years old, I knew I was ready to be a mother…despite society telling me that I wasn’t due to my age. I was not, however, ready to be a father, too.
To my daughter,
Please forgive me for not being a good dad. Playing both roles is tough work, and I applaud those who are able to do so without a stumble. I know I am not alone in this single motherhood endeavor that I did not sign up for. According to the US Census Bureau, 1 out of 4 children are raised without a father. That’s 17.4 MILLION kids that do not have that significant male figure in their life.
Please forgive me when I bend over my computer desk and weep out in frustration. I did not plan to raise you alone.
Please forgive me when I complain about child support checks and how few and far between they arrive in my mailbox. The amount I receive (when I receive it) is not worth the heartache. Money does not equal love, and your father can’t even do that. I’m not struggling, and the dollar sign won’t purchase my respect or your love.
Please forgive me when I have to rally up my friends Santa Claus and Dora the Explorer to call you on your birthday. Covering up the fact that your father couldn’t bother to dial my number to speak to you is a necessary evil. When you’re old enough, I’ll explain the situation…or direct you to this blog post.
Please forgive me when I overdo Christmas and your birthday or take you to Disney World one too many times. I just want you to feel as loved as you should be. I guess I’m overcompensating. Don’t get my words twisted. I’m sure your father loves you in his own way. The way he chooses to express it does not benefit you. Writing articulate Facebook statuses with his sentiments of love IS NOT LOVE. As a blogger, I frequently read articles that provide tips. One of the tips that makes it’s way into every single article is this: KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE. I know your father isn’t active in your life, but it’s obvious that you were not his target audience. His mission was to persuade his friend’s list to think he has true intentions to be a true dad.
Please forgive me when I don’t value your father’s thoughts or opinions on our move to New York City this summer. If he can’t manage to see you when you’re 6 hours away, he has no room to complain about me moving an additional 20 away.
Please forgive me when I leave the door cracked on y’all’s relationship. I know it would be best to just close it, but it’s not my decision to make. So many fathers are denied the ability to see their kids because of bitter feelings. I have left the door open long enough. You are worth more than this. You are NOT some breakable on a shelf that you can pick up and put down whenever it’s convenient. You are a human being with feelings, emotions, thoughts, likes and dislikes.
Please forgive me when you don’t know who your father is and can’t point him out in photos. We’re lucky that I found someone suitable to step in and take responsibility for someone else’s irresponsibility. It’ll crush your father’s heart when you call another man “daddy”, but it’s nobody’s fault but his own. I am not preaching these words to be cruel. This is not an exaggeration of the current or past events. This is not badmouthing. This is real life. This is TRUTH.
I DID NOT STOP YOUR FATHER FROM SEEING YOU AT ANY TIME IN YOUR LIFE THUS FAR.
I DID NOT STOP YOUR FATHER FROM SEEING YOU WHEN HE LIVED 30 MINUTES AWAY.
I DID NOT STOP HIM FROM SEEING YOU WHEN HE LIVED 6 HOURS AWAY.
AND I WILL NOT STOP HIS FAMILY FROM SEEING YOU WHEN WE LIVE 26 HOURS AWAY.
Until he realizes the severity of his actions (or lack thereof) for the five years you’ve been alive, he is cut off. He doesn’t deserve you. He doesn’t deserve to walk in your life whenever he doesn’t have a show for his band going on. He doesn’t deserve to have you stay at his mother’s house, only for him to see you briefly here and there. He doesn’t deserve to be in the same room as you…or the same air as you for that matter.
I AM NOT GOING TO SPEND EVERY WAKING MOMENT RAISING YOU TO BE A FINE YOUNG LADY JUST FOR HIM TO SWOOP IN AND TAKE CREDIT.
HE WAS NOT THERE FOR YOUR FIRST WORDS.
HE WAS NOT THERE FOR YOUR FIRST STEPS.
HE WAS NOT THERE FOR YOUR FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL.
HE WON’T BE THERE WHEN YOU GRADUATE.
HE WON’T BE THE ONE TO TEACH YOU HOW TO RIDE A BIKE.
HE WON’T BE THE ONE TO TEACH YOU HOW TO SWIM.
HE WON’T BE THE ONE TO KISS YOUR BOOBOO WHEN YOU FALL.
HE WON’T BE THE ONE TO COMFORT YOU WHEN SOME STUPID BOY BREAKS YOUR HEART.
I dread, yet at the same time can’t wait, for you to be old enough to express your hurt and your pain to his face. Only then will he know how little (and I mean a microscopic amount) he did for you.
I know it will be quite some time before you’ll be able to read this, and I know I come across as an insane “baby momma” to those who don’t know the situation, but until/unless their child cries out to them wondering “why didn’t daddy call me for my birthday”, they shouldn’t judge or criticize.
I love you, Bella. Please forgive me.