Monday, May 21, 2012
An Open Letter to an Absent 'Father'
I have been giving a lot of thought lately to your absence in Leilani's life and through speaking to my sisters and some other individuals close to me I finally became honest with myself and decided to write you a letter.
It truly baffles/saddens me that you were there for Leilani from conception to age 4. Then when we separated you decided to no longer to be a part of her life.
I say decided because you don't call, don't text, and on the two birthdays you have missed thus far you sent nothing and called in the evening to wish her a Happy Birthday, almost as if you have forgotten the birth date of the little girl you once whole heartily referred to as your princess.
Since moving we have made several trips back to Florida and I want you to realize that if it was NOT FOR ME DECIDING to make you aware of the fact that your daughter was in the same city as you, you would have not had the slightest clue.
You have absolutely no presence in her life emotionally or financially.
In fact she barely brings you up.
However, when we see a father at the park or simply standing at the street corner holding his child's hand I see the pain- she tries so hard to cover up- all over her beautiful face. My heart feels a pang of hurt when I see the "whole family" in the park with their children and the father helping his little girl and know she does too.
I've watched heartbroken and felt powerless as she inches closer to the father and daughter hoping she can become part of their world if even for a moment.
Sometimes she asks when you are coming to visit her because she really wants to show you around New York City and my endless lie that you are working and trying to find time to come is getting too hard for me to tell.
I was convinced that being able to say "I did it by myself" was the most important thing to me and that your lack of presence was just your problem and something I didn't have to pay attention to. However, as stated above after speaking to people close to me and realizing that my daughter was hiding her emotions I now see the importance of Leilani being able to say that she grew up knowing both of her parents were there for her and that they both loved her more than anything else.
Today Leilani can do the monkey bars all be herself, tie her own shoes, swing by herself, has lost 6 teeth, started school, was moved to the First Grade early and many more things that you have missed and will never be able to see her due for the first time again.
On the rare occasion when you all speak on the phone she wonders why you still call her by her old nickname because no body does that anymore.
Initially I thought that I wasn't "Mom enough"and tried to do more. However, I realized that just like nothing can replace the love of a mother nothing can replace the love of a father. Especially for a little girl that once had 'him' there.
I lived the life of absent parents and know first had that struggle. As a mother I can not stand idly by and watch her go through the same. This is why I'm writing you this letter to help bring awareness to a child you once claimed.
Please realize that she is not to blame for the demise of our failed relationship and nor should she bare the burden for that. Also please be advised that it is 'not too late.'
I'm not diminishing my role as a mother or saying that single mothers are not capable of raising a child on their own because neither is true. I'm simply trying to remind you that there is an amazing child that lives in New York City that is related to you.
This letter has no ulterior motives. I'm not trying to get child support or an address for your whereabouts.
If you continue to not have a presence in her life we will be fine- as we are now- we will continue our Friday night movies, museum visits and dance classes. We will continue our trips to the park and meeting people from all over the world in this amazing city.
We will continue to smile with both our eyes and our hearts. But most importantly I will continue to keep you in a positive light in her eyes until you decide to live up to the man she thinks you are.