I Had a Daddy

5 years ago

My daddy left me.

No, this didn't happen recently.   It happened when I was nine.  I think.  I don't remember much of my childhood.  Oh, sure, I remember some pieces.  I think.  I remember my phone number, my address, my house, my activities, my school.  Hey, maybe I do remember lot of my childhood. 

The thing is my dad left me.  When I was nine.  And you'd think I would remember the details. 

I remember crying a lot.  I remember my older sister telling me how not to have nightmares (repeat three times: I will not have nightmares, I will not have nightmares, I will not have nightmares - it worked).  I remember wanting to make my mom feel better.  I remember my mom always went into her bedroom and closed the door to cry.  We still knew. 

That was decades ago.

My son is seven and a half.  I sat here with him, at our breakfast table, talking through some Daddy Day activities.  I thought about my dad.  And I wondered how he could stay so completely away from his children.  To not even be aware of his grandchildren.  Forget grandchildren.  Not even know his children.

I see what an incredible father my brother is.  And I see how tenderly my husband loves our child.  And it hit me full force in the chest.  My daddy left me.

My entire adult life I spent with that knowledge, kinda nonchalantly talking about having divorced parents, but being a little fuzzy on the details.  I claimed it had no effect on me.  Oh, I knew the sadness was there, but I didn't think it profoundly shaped me.

Yet when I sat here with my son talking about Daddy Day, something we've done every day for three years, it reached way into my heart, into a black hole.

My daddy left me.  I had a daddy.  I remember him clearly.  I adored him.  And he left me.

Inside, I sobbed.  I hid it.  I didn't want my son to be upset.  I could feel the heaves and I kept them quiet.  Because, really, how could a daddy just leave, have no contact with his children.

Listen, I know this isn't the right thing to say.  But it's true.  Divorce hurts kids.  No matter how much you tell them it's not about them.  No matter how much you co-parent.  No matter how forward-thinking and different you are than your parents.  Divorce hurts kids.  We have to at least be honest about that.  

I still miss him.

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