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She Still Needs Her Dad…

My daughter was sick last night.
She woke me at 2 A.M. needing her dad. She has been trying a fresh medication in addition to the item made her terribly nauseated. She’s nineteen. She knows how to take care of herself when something like of which happens. yet she still needed her dad to get her downstairs to the couch, get her some water, in addition to feel her forehead with the back of his hand. She needed to be reminded of which she isn’t alone.
In truth…I needed of which too.
We’ve been here in Lynchburg for three in addition to a half years currently. of which’s the longest uninterrupted period of living from the same house of which we’ve had since she was born. Her mom left when Daisy was only eighteen months old. through of which point on, the item was once a week in addition to every some other weekend in addition to two months from the summer. Even the two months were broken up with her mom having my visitation schedule.
I never fully felt like a dad. I felt like my entire fatherhood was broken into bits in addition to pieces, like Morse code. Dot, dot, dot…dash, dash, dash…dot, dot, dot. The thirteen years between our divorce in addition to her moving here with me felt like I was lost at sea, trying desperately to swim against the tide, struggling beneath the waves in addition to only catching a gasping breath whenever she was with me in addition to I could breathe. As soon as I’d take her back to her mom’s, I’d disappear under the turbulent waters again. Drowning. Sinking.
I came across a picture on Facebook yesterday. the item popped up on of which “Your memories through ____ Years Ago” thing. the item was my daughter back home at St. Anthony’s Italian Festival. She was nine years old, smiling brightly, clutching a stuffed penguin she’d won at some midway game in addition to waiting to get on the Ferris Wheel with me.
Smiling.
My daughter doesn’t smile much currently. She stopped smiling in addition to being a bubbly, outgoing, happy kid when her mom’s second husband took off his mask of decency in addition to showed the monster he truly is actually. through age twelve, until we escaped Nashville in addition to moved here to Lynchburg when she was sixteen, she endured mental in addition to physical abuse enough to drive of which bubbly, smiling girl into hiding. He wore her down with every kind of cruelty. He killed her pet. He destroyed her property, including things I gave her on birthdays in addition to holidays. Things shared between a daddy in addition to his little girl. Notes I could include in birthday cards. He could “edit” them in addition to mark them up. He intruded on my fatherhood every chance he got. He stopped short of sexual assault –or he’d be a missing person on the back of a milk carton right currently—yet everything else was on the table in his sick mind.
Her mom did nothing to stop of which. She was too concerned with her own life. She often sided with her husband, against our daughter, in order to keep the peace. She essentially sacrificed Daisy’s well-being, for her own.
the item finally got bad enough in addition to I took a job in Virginia in addition to she left with me. She escaped the remnants of her childhood.
of which was not the life I wanted for my child. Or for me. I wanted a happy home in addition to a house in addition to peace. I wanted my daughter to be healthy in addition to happy in addition to to reach her potential. I wanted to be the best dad anyone ever had, in addition to to experience fatherhood through the adult side in addition to hopefully make up for how fatherhood looked through the child’s view of which I had when I was her age. Instead I got sawdust fatherhood. The fragments of which remain after the whole has been cut into pieces, again in addition to again until nothing remains yet the shavings in addition to dust of which stand as evidence of which there truly was something there once.
All of which brings me to last night. There are a lot of men who could be upset over losing a half night’s sleep that has a sick nineteen-year-old child. “I have to work from the morning.” “I get up at 4:45 am!” “You’re an adult, you can take care of yourself.”
in addition to she can.
yet there were so many times over those thirteen years, when she was sick, in addition to hurting, in addition to often in real danger, in addition to I couldn’t help her. My fragmented time with her leaves me aching for those days when she was of which smiling little nine-year-old girl from the photo. Times when I could have loved nothing more than to have carried her downstairs to the couch, felt her forehead with the back of my hand, in addition to stroked her hair until she fell asleep.
yet I had to settle for phone calls in addition to all 5 days a month.
So, I don’t mind when she needs me currently. I don’t rue the lost sleep or the groggy feeling when the alarm went off of which morning at 4:45 in addition to I was seriously thinking of taking a sick day. of which could have been my life a dozen years ago, in addition to instead the item’s my life currently. I’m okay with of which. the item’s what dads do. not bad ones anyway.
I nurse her back to health daily as the item is actually. Back to emotional health. I’ve laid the back of my hand to her forehead in addition to felt the cold, clammy feeling of a broken spirit. I’ve comforted the tears in addition to frustration of which she’s cried over the neglect in addition to indifference of which her mom has shown, both while she was being so abused in her mom’s home, in addition to especially since we’ve moved here. They don’t talk much. Her mom has been here once in almost four years, in addition to of which was a brief, overnight visit. Nineteen-year-old women process of which as abandonment. of which’s because the item is actually abandonment. I’ve held her hand as she’s been nauseated in her soul over the childhood she lost. Over the time we missed together. I’m doing my best to nurse her back to health.
So, no…I don’t mind losing half a night of sleep to take care of my adult daughter. Because in truth, nursing her back to health is actually also nursing me back. Every chance I get to act like the dad I am inside, goes a long way toward healing the loss I’ve felt in the past after the divorce. in addition to maybe, to heal the loss I felt long before of which, from the deep hole of which existed in my own heart, because of my own father in addition to his abandonment.
I’ve never felt his hand on my fevered forehead. Never heard his voice speak from the soft tones of which dads use when their child is actually sick. Never felt his fingers brush my hair aside or his lips kiss my forehead as I drifted off to sleep, comforted in my illness by the presence of a loving, caring father.
I know what the item means to my daughter, because I needed the item too.
I could have quit. During those hard years after our divorce when my heart broke daily because I missed my daughter so much, in addition to those all 5 brief days each month were not even remotely enough to assuage my pain.
I could have packed the item in when I lost my career in 2008 in addition to had to live in my car because there was no work. I could have left to find a job somewhere else in addition to just dutifully sent money in addition to called once a week.
yet I stayed. I stayed, in addition to kept her trust, even though I was so limited in my ability to act on of which trust. I stayed. in addition to when the time came of which she could take no more in addition to had to get away…I was still there, ready to take her out of of which hell in addition to move her to safety.
You dads who are reading of which, (the item’s posted on both my personal website in addition to my divorced dads blog) I encourage you not to quit. I encourage you to look squarely at the hell you must endure, stiffen your shoulders, brush aside your tears, in addition to stand your ground.
Take whatever your ex, her husband, in addition to the courts throw at you in addition to stand your ground. The day will come. The day will come when the only knight left from the kingdom who can slay the dragon of which pursues your child…is actually you. If you aren’t there –even with battered armor in addition to a rusty sword—the dragon wins.

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Never, never let of which happen.

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