I don’t know why I’m doin’ this, it probably makes sense to only me and could be considered something of a GTKY. It might be a little long and convoluted but I gotta put it down somewhere. Maybe its because recent events in my life dictate that it be this way or maybe its just because I’m a damn fool. A little history…
I re-located to my present place of residence about ten years ago from New York City. I left behind three kids, two girls and a boy and an ex-wife. At the time their ages were 13, 11, and 7. It wasn’t easy but a combination of the circumstances and my own selfishness led me to that decision. I’ve only seen them 3 or 4 times since then and maintained what can best be described as sporadic contact. For a while, I shirked some of my financial responsibilities (since remedied). I was not a good father.
In the space of time that followed, I’d re-married, had a child (she’s gonna be eight next month) and divorced. I am fortunate enough to share dual custody of her with my ex-wife and get to be a parent on a week on week off basis. I’m obviously older now, better (I hope) at parenting and look forward to her stays with me. She knows she’s got a couple of half sisters and a half brother and recently began asking questions about them. I was embarrassed at how little I knew.
She began writing letters to her half siblings via snail mail and enclosed some pictures of herself. The words were simple, the kind you would expect from an eight year old and revealed little about her except that she liked animals and other assorted tidbits. I was kinda leery about the response she would get. Would my other kids take their frustrations and justifiable anger with me out on her? After all, I spent more time with her and did more things with her than I ever did with them. I was the “daddy” to her that I should have been to them.
Well, a couple of weeks went by and I got an e-mail from my oldest daughter (now age 23). She had lost my address and wanted to reply to my daughter’s letter. I replied (via e-mail) with the info and also asked that she be kind enough not to say too many bad things about me. Here was her answer, verbatim.
“First of all that really offend
s me that you think that any of us would go out of our way to make you look bad to YOUR DAUGHTER. She is a little girl
and we would never do anything like that. It just shows how little you know us. Your relationship
with her is none of our business. Us writing is not about you , its about us getting to know her. And whether you know it or not we are not bratty little kids who will try to ruin your relationship with her. We're not like that. I'm sorry if I sound harsh but that comment offended me a lot.”
Well, talk about feelin’ like shit. She hit the nail dead on and I felt humbled beyond belief. There I was, worried about me again, with no consideration for the feelings of others. Anyway, after much apologizing and attempts at an explanation, an understanding seems to have been reached. Letters and e-mails are being exchanged on a regular basis. Last night an envelope arrived that contained recent pictures of the kids I hadn’t seen in over four years. My God, what had I missed! Two separate letters, one for each us, were also included. The words were hopeful that a reunion might occur and that a reconciliation of some sort might be possible. Needless to say, my tears flowed freely.
I’ve since found out that my oldest child is working, has her own place in Brooklyn and is going to school three or four nights a week trying for a degree in philosophy. She worked three or four blocks from the Twin Towers and actually saw the second plane hit. We now trade e-mail on a regular basis. My second oldest daughter, now age 20, is attending college full-time in pursuit of a teaching degree. My son, soon to be 18, has gone off to college, major undeclared. I wish them all the best and don’t know how to begin to express how sorry I am for the way things turned out. I hope the final chapter has not yet been written.
My life seems a little fuller these days and I don’t know who to thank first. The innocence of an eight year old astounds me and the forgiving nature of my older ( jeez, they’re not really children anymore) kids is a quality that I wish I had. Kudos go out to my ex-wife for instilling that in them. Hopefully, we can get to know more about each other in the very near future.
That being said, good thoughts go out to all family and friends, past, present, and future..
Thanks for listening….