A Letter to Jordan
I'm not the DAD you used to know.
I won't deny, that the DAD you used to know is gone. That DAD was created by God, taught by his parents, recognized by his government and respected by his community. He was expected to make the right choices for you and took pride in his efforts. He used to kiss you good-bye as he left for work and you were still sleeping. That DAD could absorb a bad day at work, just from one of your hugs. That DAD gained his desire to succeed from glancing at you, as you slept. That DAD slept better after he got a kiss goodnight from you. That DAD knew the aches and pains were worth it, for he knew he was meant to be a DAD. That DAD knew what you were doing every minute of the day and was proud of everything you accomplished and was proud even when you failed. He was always there when you needed him, even when you didn't. Teachers, family, doctors and neighbors would seek him out to tell of your progress, setbacks, accomplishments or just to talk about parent things. That DAD was there for you, because we were together. That DAD had the freedom to pack you up and go to the Zoo, to the Arch or to Chuck-E-Cheese, whenever we felt like it. That DAD didn't have to wonder, he knew. He could help you with your personal development, and it showed in your success.
That DAD is no more.
Yes, I'm still your Father, but no longer your DAD. Now I'm just a monthly check, a visitor should your mother permit, a Non-Custodial dad. Created by state law, separated by court orders, not free to make choices for your childhood. I'm no longer contacted by those who teach you, who fix your wounds or view your accomplishments. Until I received the bill, I didn't even know you were sick or were taken to the hospital. If I had known, I would have been there with you.
This N-C Dad no longer has his source of strength, no longer can take comfort in your presence, for you're not here. This N-C Dad cannot choose how to support you, cannot make the decisions of what you may need and cannot even make suggestions. Your goodnight kisses were worth a million dollars [and still are] and the loss of those are equally devastating. This N-C Dad can't steal precious moments with you, cannot share quick insights with you and cannot give you the answers you seek every day. All I can do is stand at the boundary of your school playground or ball field and see you from a distance, wishing all the while that I were part of your life and you part of mine!
Inside I'm still the same, but like a chameleon who changes his color when faced with danger, I, too, had to adapt. We all have to adapt to our environment. The DAD you used to know could not survive the changes forced upon him, he had to change to survive. He's gone. But, your Father still does, and always will, love you, and will always take pride in your successes and try to be there for you when you stumble. I do the best I can, but even my best cannot revive the DAD you used to know, for I didn't kill him nor did I bury him. He was killed by your mother, who decided that she, alone, should raise you. She decided that her interests and needs were more important than yours. She was armed with wealthy parents and their expensive attorneys along with well-delivered untruths that made me appear to be an uncaring and unloving father. She claimed that I would be a danger to you when the real danger posed to your well-being is by growing up without a father in your life.
I'm still a good man. Many people like and respect me and I've been able to cope with the pain that I feel by focusing on what I have and not thinking about what I've lost. It might still be possible to someday see that DAD emerge, but it will be too late for me to share your smiles and your tears, your joy and your sorrow. It will be too late for me to help you through the pain when your first love rejects you and when your last love leaves you.
If you can accept a DAD without the knowledge that comes with sharing experiences, I can be that DAD. I'll always love you and I'll always be there for you. I'm in the book ... when you can use the telephone and are given the freedom to do so ... the freedom to choose, call me. I'll be there!