Thursday, May 05, 2016

Divorce | Facebook Circulation Letter From Child to Father

The letter below has been circulating around Facebook and I seen it yesterday; it hit home with me for so many reasons...

Dear Dad,

I haven't heard from you since my 18th birthday a few months ago when I was finally able to make my own decisions and chose not to follow the possession schedule for the remainder of high school. At the time, I told you I still wanted to have frequent dinners and get together often but I was no longer going back and forth between households. You accused me of letting “mom get to me.” The truth is, mom encouraged me to continue the routine and invest in my relationship with you. It was just the most recent of a lifetime of examples. One time when you notice a mannerism of mine that reminded you of mom, I heard you tell my stepmom that it made you insane. When I told you something fun I did with mom, you rolled your eyes. When I was excited about an upcoming event with mom, you told em you were disappointed because you wanted to the one to do that with me. Sometimes you told me you'd plan something similar only bigger and better. When I asked you for something I wanted, you said I could ask mom because you gave her a child support check that would cover it. When I asked to sleep over at a friends house you told me not on “your weekend.” When you gave me a gift you told me to leave it at your house. When I wanted to call mom from your house you would hover near me, listening, and then ask a bunch of questions about what she said. When I was rebellious you asked me why I was acting like my mother. When I argued, you said I was being manipulated by my mom.

One time mom saw me make a face that reminded her of you and she smiled. She told my stepdad fondly, in front of me, that my father does that too. When I told her something fun I did with you, she she told me how cool it sounded. When I was excited about an upcoming event with you, mom was really happy for me. She told me how lucky I was and helped me count down the days. When I asked her for something I wanted and told her you'd sent her the money, she told me I could save up for it. When I asked her if I could sleep over at a friends house she helped me pack a bag, walked me there and was invited to stay and visit with the parents. When mom gave me a gift that I really loved, she handed it to me before I went to your house for the weekend. After I'd call you, she always asked, “How's dad doing?” When I was rebellious she punished me. When I was argumentative she would explain her reasoning once and require me to be respectful.

The truth is;

  • I wish you'd have loved all of me. I am a lot like you, and a lot like Mom. It's who I am.
  • I wish you'd have made it possible for me to share the fun and exciting parts to be only about experiences with you.
  • I wish you hadn't shared information about child support with me and involved me in grown up business.
  • I wish you hadn't made me put my life on hold when I came to your house. It wasn't your time, it was time I spent living under your roof.
  • I wish the gifts you gave me didn't have conditions. They were for me, no matter where I was.
  • I wish you were comfortable with me loving my mom and that you realized the phone calls with her weren't about you.
  • I wish you had disciplined me instead of using my behavior to speak negatively about my mother.
  • I wish you'd have dealt with my phases as a parent, not someone trying to win a fight or make me think badly of my mom.

The things you did might have seemed small individually. But a lifetime of those little things didn't lay the groundwork you intended. Instead, you don't know me like you should. And I only know you as someone who worked tirelessly to dissect my life into parts and devalue important pieces. I wish you had used the time raising me instead of fighting for me. I wish had me me love you both.


Your Grown Child


My parents are divorced, that's all I have known my whole life. I was only 6 months old when they threw in the towel and so I don't remember the early days. As I did get older, I remember so many fights they had over whose weekend it was, who had me for what holiday, summer vacations, and so on; I remember getting told that "I act like just like my mother" or how "terrible" my mom was...the thing is, I only ever knew my mom as my mom. I moved in with my mom when I was sixteen, she always and till this day still encourages me to have a relationship with my dad, one that I don't feel is deserved. You see my dad was not the dad you see on TV, or the one you see at the park, attending school functions, or allowing me to be the person I wanted to be. My dad was strict, super strict. I didn't strive to cross him. Our relationship ended when I was pregnant with my first child as a teen. That was twelve years ago. Over the past twelve years I have spoken to him maybe twelve times, I have seen him maybe six. At first I tried but there are just some things in life you cannot get over. I will say my mom wasn't perfect, she has flaws just like the rest of us, but I will say that if I have ever needed her she was and will always be there. She is who I call when I want to talk, or need to cry it out, or advice, or a laugh...She has been there for me through some of the roughest times in my life, she calls and texts me almost every day. She has relationships with my kids, and actually comes out and visits us when she can. My dad though, he calls when he wants himself to feel better, he has never once flew out to see me or my family, he has never apologized for anything he did to me or things he said to me (he was mentally and physically abusive, something I kept to myself for 20 years)...His constant question to me was "Are you stupid?"...He never came to my sports events, never allowed me to be a kid, never just talked to me, he didn't and still doesn't know who I really am. He always compared me to others and at the top of that list was my mom. My mom though, while I don't remember a lot from the early days, I do remember her taking us to the movies, the pool, to get ice cream, teach us to draw and paint, letting us help cook, and as I got older, she taught me all about hair and makeup, took us shopping, watched movies with us at home, played board games with us, made us treats, left us notes, and she was never too busy to let us curl up on her bed and talk for hours while painting our toenails or braiding our hair. In all honestly, I am glad I am like my mom...I hope that I can give my kids those little memories like she did me, and that one day my kids will forgive me for all the mistakes I have made too. 

If you are going through a divorce or are already divorced and have a child or children here some tips from me, someone who has been through it on the kids side...

  • Your divorce is something between the two of you; do not involve your child or children in those matters and it includes scheduling, child support, reasons for the divorce, etc. 
  • Do not compare your child or children to either parent unless its complimenting them.
  • Do not fight with each other in front of the child or children.
  • Always be there for your childs stuff at school, sporting events, etc. Plan things to do with them even if its just a picnic or park trip to spend time with them.
  • Don't make the child feel like they have to choose one of you over another. Your child loves you both the same. 
  • Keep your relationship with each other civil in front of them. 
  • Don't use your child as a weapon to each other.
  • Don't try to out- do each other.
  • Be cautious of your childs feelings, let them talk about things even if it is the divorce just keep your reasons short and simple and age appropriate. 
  • Don't speak negatively about each other to your child. 
While I am not an expert I do feel that I have some first hand knowledge of this topic; and I am sure others out there do too. I know divorce is a hard topic, its a rough thing to go through, but it is not your childs fault and they should never feel that it is....

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