Monday, July 11, 2005

"People don't forget they have kids."

These two round chocolate faces are focused on me, waiting for an answer. It's not that I don't have an answer for them - I just don't want to give it. The ringleader repeats the question:

"Did you hear me? I asked why my daddy doesn't call me."

Previously, I either avoided the question ("It's time for bed"), changed the subject ("Who wants some pizza/to go to Walmart/IHOP?") or flat out lied ("He's gone away to work" when he was in jail). Evidently, my oldest finally saw through my subterfuge and wanted some answers. This was his third time asking me that question within an hour, so I felt like I owed him a response. I tried diplomacy first. I told him that sometimes, people get very tied up with their lives, and they can forget to do things, even contact people that are very important to them. My four year old looked at me with eyes as big as saucers, "My daddy forgot me?" I immediately realized that if ever there was a wrong answer, I gave it. Before I could fix it my son blurted out, "Nuh uh. People don't forget they have kids. All he has to do is call and say hey." Out of the mouths of babes.

The conversation sort of ended there, because it was a Saturday and there were cartoons to be seen, but it was an elephant in the room of my mind, because I knew it would have to be addressed, I just wasn't sure when or how.

Fast forward a couple of weeks. We're fixing lunch. Lil Man is helping me at the stove, Baby Girl is "stirring" the Kool Aid, and we're having a wonderful time. Seemingly out the blue, my son says, "Maybe if we tell my daddy we can cook we can come over." And my daughter starts singing this "I'm gonna go by my daddy" song. He picks up the phone and calls his dad and, surprise surprise, he's not home. Ty is disgusted because he's been getting this same song and dance for a month now. My kids go into an immediate funk and one of them implies that if they promise to be good, maybe they can go to his house "next time." Four years later and this motherfucker is STILL fucking up my program. Not five minutes before, we were having a great time, then virtually at the mention of his name, the whole vibe changed. The fact that my children, who (though they may be pains in the asses) bring me joy, laughter, love and general entertainment, think that his absence is due to some deficiency on their part is enough to make me want to deliver a shotgun blast between his eyes. But I collect my thoughts and give my children the best thing I know how - the God's honest truth:

In this world, you're gonna be surrounded by people. Some will always be there, some you will never see again and some will come and go like the breeze. Some will express love, some will express hate and some won't show anything, but don't let that take away from who you are. You will always be Ty and Jae and you will always be loved by me and even if he doesn't call, by your dad. Plus, if you don't have anyone else, you have God's love. You are both beautiful and helpful and smart and great. Even when you aren't around I think about you and you make me smile and I'll bet your dad thinks about you too. I won't make excuses for why your dad doesn't call, because I don't know, but I can tell you this, when a person is ready to talk, they will. Until that time comes, try not to worry about anybody that doesn't show that they are worried about you because they've got their own issues to work out.

Now, there are folks that will say I'm wrong, but there's no way in hell I'm going to stand there and let my kids think this is their issue. I would have preferred that they put the blame on me. Anything but blaming themselves. I really don't have the time or the energy to harbor hatred for anyone, but if ever I did, he'd be at the top of the list.

Now I know that one day, he's going to look at the people that they become and want to kick himself. I know one day he's going to be confronted to answer questions, questions that will hurt him, make him cry and make him wonder what was that important that he had to miss out on his children. I know that one day he may even wonder how he made room for another man to fill in the role of "Dad" while all he has is a mere title.

What I don't know is why it had to come to this at all.


Danja said...

excellent post!!

BLESSD1 said...

Damnit! You've up and done it again! I'm at work, aint suppossed to be making me tear up! My coworkers aren't gonna keep buying that "'s just the asbestos in the atmosphere that's making my eyeballs liquify" excuse! Excellent post!!

P.S. I hate to bite Danja's response, but it so perfectly embodied what I was feeling

Sista K said...

this is deep Melanie....I hope you dont mind but I would like to share this with an absentee father I know...