It's been over a year since I wrote my last letter to my bio-dad and even though I try very hard to act like it doesn't bother me, it does. My parents called it quits when I was 2 years old and not long after, they had both moved on. My stepdad made up for it in every way; he told me I was beautiful in my prom dress and got teary when he walked me down the aisle.
II don't know if it affects me more because I am a parent or perhaps it's just a stage. The first time I really broke down, I was 11. My mom had managed to track down my dad, after not hearing from him since I was 6. I was angry. I wrote him a letter outlining the many things that he had missed out on during the last 10 years, how I didn't understand how he could go on, get married, have kids and never even think to SMS, call or just pop by.
My mom is a decent ex and can't be blamed. Still to this day, she scolds me if I put my dad down; she reassures me and tells me of the man she married and somewhere, somehow, that man must be lost. She encourages me to speak to him and make the effort. Still today, I know that she is the one who shares pictures of my child with him.
I have written many letters, some that I regret for being so harsh. I wish that he knew how those words reflected my hurt; I felt abandoned and alone. I look at my husband who can't handle leaving us while he goes to work. How he takes the time to teach my son new things, cuddle him and reassure him throughout the day. My uncle once called us to say that my father was leaving the country the next day. Can you imagine meaning so little to your parent and not being told that he is leaving?
I've only ever seen my dad twice. Once, when I was 6. His wife was pregnant so my mom helped me pick out an outfit for the baby and came with us to lunch. My dad bought me a dress-up set which I loved. But that night, the emotions were overwhelming and I cried into my mom's open arms. When I was 13, my parents agreed to send me overseas to see him. My mom and step-dad made sure that I wouldn't need anything. They bought me an entire new wardrobe and enough toiletries to last six months. My grandparents handed me over to a stranger at the airport -- a man who only had a supervised lunch under his belt of parenting experiences with his oldest daughter.
I don't think that anyone considered the emotions that I had to go through or just how big the trip was. I wish that I could have enjoyed it and made the best of the opportunity, but the emotional turmoil was just too much and I flew back two weeks earlier than planned.
Recently, I asked my husband if he thought I would see my dad again and as the words escaped my lips, I regretted it -- I already knew the answer. He replied with a firm "No." Deep down, I expected it. But hearing it from someone else hit me hard. My dad won't ever get to meet the two men who light up my life: my husband and son. He won't know what makes me happy, my dreams and wishes. He won't know anything more than my name and how many birthdays he has missed.
It's not okay for you to turn your back on your children or to think that by not having any involvement in their life, you are doing them a favor. They don't want you there? Fight harder. You've done wrong? Don't let it define you, work at it and prove yourself. But don't ever give up. There is nothing worse than feeling like your parent just gave up on you and forgot about you. Children need their parents -- all of them. I thank my lucky stars for my step-dad and I am exceptionally grateful for my mom. But just because I have amazing parents, it still doesn't fill the gap that my father left.
Your role as a parent doesn't end with signing on the dotted line. You owe it to your children to be there, to fight for them, to not expect them to put in the effort to be your child, but for you to put in the time, patience and effort into being their parent.
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