There are many times that I thank my lucky stars (God actually) that I was fortunate enough to not get anyone pregnant. Don’t get me wrong, I am not disparaging parenthood nor being a father, it’s just that I really wouldn’t want a child to go through what I do. But to all of you father’s out there so blessed, I hope it was a day to remember.
I do know who my father is but he was not with us, it was just me and Mom. It was difficult to watch some of the hardships my mother had to endure being a single parent. I think she did a pretty good job considering. My mother grew up in an Indian Boarding School and had a very rough childhood herself although to hear her tell it, she can’t extole the virtues enough. I like her positive and indomnible attitude even in the worst of situations. Since she had to play both roles of Mother and Father, we celebrate the day together.
Even though I never had children of my own, I have had stepchildren and know what it is to be called “Daddy”. As a matter of fact, I stayed in my first marriage much longer than I should have due to not wanting to leave my stepdaughter. The family (inlaws) were of a generation that saw things differently than I did and consequently did not approve of me. I can say this much though, I did the best that I could both as a husband and a stepdad, but I was just too young and inexperienced. Believe me, I really tried but the pressures from both a lack of finances and the inlaws disapproval finally ended the union. What helped me make up my mind was that my stepdaughter didn’t seem to concerned about me leaving, which hurt a little.
Her stepgrandfather was great a looking after her as he was often required to do because of my wife’s disability, she had Narcolepsy. There were many a times when I had my hands full just taking care of her (my wife) and my stepdaughter would go over to “Grannies” for a while. I think this resulted in her detaching from me but as far as I was concerned, if her mother went down the result would be worse. I felt this was the greatest contribution that I could make.
Alas, at about five years of age the marriage began to finally unravel. My wife was expecting a big disability settlement from the military and didn’t want me around when it was finalized. I had never asked for any of it, nor did I want any of it. My wife had promised me a brand new truck but I would have been happy with a used one. The prosepect of being able to finally work for myself was what excited me, not any money. I had been working with her other stepdad on his truck and really fell in love with it, I just wanted independance. Anyway, I was highly insulted at the insinuation that I was a “goldigger” and hurt about my stepdaughter’s indifference too. So, I left.
I then got back in school and met another woman there. I regret to say that I didn’t wait to get divorced before starting the relationship however, we were amicably seperated. I discussed at length with my then therapist whether or not I had done the right thing in regards to my daughter. The doc told me that she was so young that my departure probably wouldn’t have that much of an effect and besides, she had extended family anyway. That proved not to be quit so accurate.
Much much later I learned that almost immeadiatly upon me leaving, my ex-wife moved in another man. In fast succession, my wife lost custody of my stepdaughter, recieved and squandered her settlement and then moved away. In short, after we broke up she fell apart, just as I had been trying to prevent.
I have found my stepdaughter on facebook and reached out to her however, she does not wish to acknowledge me. I do not blame her as it is perfectly within her right to remain estranged. I like to think that the inlaws poisoned her against me, as they had been all throughout the marriage. I do not fault my stepdaughter as from what I can gather, she went through hell after me. She does seem to be doing fine now though, and I would rather not disturb her if she is happy. I just wanted to give her the choice of whether or not she wished to reconnect, she will always be that little girl to me.