love shows up.

For the dead letter office…
fatherless day

It’s late. The clacking of a tree limb against the bedroom window would have woken you had you not already been awake. As you lie there, you start contemplating what this inner irritation is that simply will not relent. It’s bothersome and annoying, and it keeps you awake. It’s like…well, it’s rather like a bee that’s somehow gotten under your skin. A carpenter ant, maybe. Whatever it is, it’s been imprudently traipsing through your blood vessels for hours now. You fret and toss and cannot relax while this incessant irritation persists. This bothersome sensation, this irritating distraction has a name.

All at once, you realize the reason for this restlessness. You feel as though you’ve lost something of great value, but you can’t quite put your finger on it. You may ask, ‘Was it my keys? Did I leave my cell phone at work? Have I left the oven on?’

‘Oh, wait, no. That’s right, I remember now. I left my kids 2,300 miles away with no intention of raising them. My bad.’ And then you comfortably drift off to sleep without a care in the world.

Others would recognize this bothersome sensation you’ve been experiencing as ‘guilt’ or ‘shame’. But since I know you lack the necessary emotional depth to identify these inward concepts, I thought I’d help you out with some wisdom about those pesky ’emotions’ you’re feeling at about 1/10th the volume of everybody else. I think it’s time for a refresher course and a comparative analysis about your version of parental love, versus everybody else’s.

When you called on Skype last week, Little Man didn’t want to talk to you (as usual). He became moody and withdrawn when the call began, and he ran and hid. He finally did appear, but he refused to speak. And then slowly, he began to pretend to punch the camera. As he gained speed, you asked him to stop doing that. When he wouldn’t stop, you asked ‘Are you mad at me or something?’ Little Man nodded his head with tears in his eyes and kept punching. And then with complete surprise and a whiny twinge to your voice, you asked ‘Well…what did I do?’ He froze for a moment, and then wisely chose to walk away.

Oh. My. God. OH MY GOD ARE YOU FOR REAL?? Is this real life? He is FOUR. He is four, and you LEFT him. You went and had a new baby, one you claim you’re now staying on the other side of the country to raise. You ROBBED him of the one thing he could never replace. You CHEATED him, you ABANDONED him, and you took away his FATHER and our FAMILY.

Most people understand what you seem intent on denying…and that’s the importance of a father to a child. Either you don’t believe you matter, or you don’t care what your absence will do to your children. Either way, you’re dead wrong. Let’s see what others have said about parenting and what a father really means to children, shall we?

The only time you should ever turn your back on a child is to tell them to hop on. – Unknown

A real Dad stands up, steps up, and fathers his children 24/7, 365…no matter what, NO excuses. – Ty Howard, CEO and Editor of Motivation Mag

Walk with me, daddy, and hold my little hand. I have so many things to learn I don’t yet understand. Teach me things to keep me safe from dangers every day. Show me how to do my best at home, at school, at play. Every child needs a father’s hand to guide them as they grow. So walk alongside me, daddy, we have a long way to go. – Kevin Buck

Children spell love T-I-M-E. – Zig Zigler

If you want your children to turn out well, spend twice as much time with them and half as much money. – Abigail Van Buren

If you’re absent during my struggle, don’t expect to be present during my success. – Will Smith

Narcissistic parents see their children the way an advertiser sees a sign by the side of the road – as something to put their name on and use to build themselves up, or as something someone else is responsible for that they can ignore if they aren’t interested. – Lightshouse.com (narcissistic parents)

Father’s Day comes around more than you do. Unknown

If you were going to be some lame suburban dad, how come you couldn’t have been that for me? – Barney Stinson

‘Dad’ is a son’s first hero and a daughter’s first love. – Unknown

A daughter needs a dad to be the standard against which she will judge all men. – ‘Why a Daughter Needs a Dad’, Gregory Lang 

What a child doesn’t receive, he can seldom later give. P.D. James

Well-wishes from a distant land are selfish and meaningless in the business of parenting. Love shows up. – Wife

Your children need your presence more than they need your presents. – Jesse Jackson

Having kids doesn’t make you a father. Raising them does. Unknown

You can pretend to care, but you can’t pretend to show up. – George L. Bell

Betrayal was but a tender kiss compared to the late-night imaginings of my children’s future scars. – Wife

There is nothing sacred about a man who abandons his children. – Dr. Jamie Gagaun

To be in your child’s memories tomorrow, you have to be in their lives today. – Barbara Johnson

63% of youth suicides, 90% of all homeless and runaway children, 85% of children displaying behavioral disorders, 80% of rapists motivated with displaced anger, 71% of all high school dropouts, 75% of adolescent patients in chemical abuse centers, 70% of juveniles in state-operated institutions, 85% of all youth sitting in prison come from FATHERLESS HOMES. – Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency

The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother. – Theodore Hesburgh

Do not trust this person to keep your child safe from emotional harm. He’s just validated that he can abandon them, abuse his parental position, and try to return to their life in a way that’s best for him (rather than what’s best for them). Rarely do we see a transformation of conscience within a person who can emotionally blow off a child, especially their own. – Dr. Clifford Walden, PHD

When it’s time to gather the harvest, the wheat is separated from the chaff. The valuable wheat rises to the top while the worthless chaff flies away on the wind. The same can be said of fathers. – Wife

Once he has been absent for a while, he’s got some proving to do. He can’t just come walking back into her life with entitlement. He’s got to earn back that right, because as a parent, my job is to protect my child, even if it means protecting her from her own dad. – Lucy Swinerton, single mom/blogger

Who would exact such a huge emotional price tag from their own children? Only a cowardly, dastardly crook would skip out on the tab and leave his children holding the bill. – Wife

I don’t know, call me stupid, but I think abandoning children is BAD. It makes you a BAD PARENT, a bad person, and someone I never want to sit next to on a park bench. I don’t want to smell the stench of your narcissism. I don’t want to read your Facebook posts about your self-inflicted pain and your fabulous younger girlfriend who gets you. I think you suck. – Edin Strong (via Chump Lady) “Why Did Daddy Leave Us? Because Daddy is an asshole.”

You’re going to come across people in your life who will say all the right words at all the right times. But in the end, it’s always their actions you should judge them by. It’s actions, not words, that matter. – Nicholas Sparks

I love my children. – Honey, seconds before walking out on them forever.

For once, I envy your lack of emotions. If only I lacked character and conscience as you do, I wouldn’t have to feel the full weight of your crushing failure for both of us. But then that would make me like you, and please believe me when I say that there is not one single feature about you I’d like to emulate. Not. One. Thing.

I can see why playing dumb when it comes to Little Man is better for you. I suppose if I were dead inside and had done what you did, I’d want to act as though none of it were really happening, either. It’s bad P.R. Better to just act like a sugary-sweet good guy and keep those blinders on, come hell or high water.

These babies are learning not to rely on you, Honey. This makes me both incredibly happy and terribly sad. Not for you, of course. For them. They will have to muddle through so many tough questions about their father and their self-worth all of their life, while you endlessly game and couch and dismiss the job you promised to do for them until the end of your days. I’d ask how you live with yourself and how you sleep at night, but sadly I know the answer to that already.

You sleep just fine.

-EX Wife



3 replies »

  1. I really believe that your kids will be OK. No, way better than OK. They will be great because they have you. Lady, not sure if you get it, but you are totally awesome. Having one of you will be enough to help them turn into fantastic people.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I know a lot of people who are amazing who came from a fierce momma like you and nothing more. I know you did your research and all that, but seriously. Your grit and love are going to be 100 times more useful than the soggy sack of shit on the other side of the Skype pad.


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