Dear absent parent,
You are many years too late.
I’m not about to judge the reasons or circumstances that pushed you away from your kid. But I doubt there’s enough justification as to why. You see these little kids have nothing to do with you, your problems, or any of these circumstances. I understand that life happens. And no, I don’t know what happened. But listen, your kids need you. They did not ask to be here.
Let me, first of all, be clear about one thing. I’m not drafting this letter to put you down or make you look bad. I’m writing this letter as a truth and as I draft, I speak for myself, my child, and a few single parents out there who need closure too.
How did you do it? I mean, how do you walk away from your flesh and blood? How do you sleep at night knowing there is a child out there crying at 2 in the morning, going to school, struggling with tying his tie, having a birthday, making friends, shying off when she menstruates, graduating, and getting her heartbroken? How the heck do you do it? Your child is a straight-A student or perhaps struggling with mathematics, he’s athletic or struggling with an illness. How do you think they feel that they can’t share any of this with you?
You made a promise; spoken or unspoken. Perhaps you thought it through long and hard but still, you made a promise. You promised to be there. To stick around whether you’re together with your child’s other parent or not. Stick to your promise. You see every time you fail to show up, part of their heart breaks a little. Every time you fail to do something that you promised, they hurt. We may be here to assure them that they are loved no matter what, but a part of them is still lost. Show up! And follow through with your promises. Some of these kids will grow up believing that they are not worthy of love. You are messing up your child without realizing it. Or maybe you do realize this. Show up!
By the way, do you ever wonder how they are doing? Or perhaps you shut off that love valve. You imagine that they don’t exist. Does it bother you at all? Should I even talk about financial support? How do you feel when you can’t even send money for clothes or medication? I’m still in awe by the fact that someone can shut their feelings and turn their back on their child: flesh of their flesh, blood of their blood.
I get it, life is tough. It’s tough on us too. I was unprepared too. Unbalanced, unhappy, and yes, there were days I felt unloved. Heck! I was struggling too when I started. But I stayed. I forced myself to smile and laugh at their jokes. I struggled to make it through because, for some good reason, kids have a way of bringing you back to who you are – a parent.
See, I’m not about to judge your actions. This letter is only for closure. And I’m not drafting this so you could ask for forgiveness (if you have the gut). I’m not the one who can forgive you, your child can. I’ll raise him as well as I know. I have a whole village behind me. I’ll tell him my version, and give him the chance to ask for yours. He’ll decide whether to forgive you or not. I pray that he does because I don’t want him to hold on to something that weighs him down.
The parent who stayed