Almost 16 years ago I walked away from my marriage and my daughter, she was 2 years old. Once the divorce was final I instantly became the one day of the week, every other weekend, one week a month, and shared holidays father. A year and half later I was remarried and the stepfather of two young children. One would assume that I was doing fine with a new wife and kids. Yeah, but they didn’t know the pain and guilt building up inside of this part-time father. There were nights of laughter, followed by sleepless nights full of thoughts; what is my kid doing, what is she wearing, did she laugh today, did she cry today, was it a good day? I guess I can say that I wasn’t all there, because a part of me wasn’t there. Seven years later marriage number two was over, another divorce. Too much time spent building a family without a key part of me simply meant that this marriage wasn’t for me. It was then that I realized how empty I was without her.
We often hear of couples staying together for the sake of the children. I never even considered staying, choosing my happiness over all else. The funny thing is, happiness or lasting happiness has eluded me. The relationships and failed marriages haven’t broken me, but they have left me feeling empty. Being a father has been the one constant in my life and is the reason I am still here.
Three months from now my daughter will graduate from high school. I am so proud of her and all of her accomplishments. I also admire her for the young lady she is; considerate, smart, and funny. She plans to go to college out of the area. In fact she said to me today; “Daddy I am so ready to get out of Maryland.” She has been ready to graduate since school began in September. All I can think about is my little girl crawling on the floor and how quickly time has gone by. Although I was here for her, I can’t help feeling like I missed so much and now my time is up. She is about to leave me and I am struggling with the loneliness that will follow.
I thank God for making me a Father. There has been no greater blessing for me.