A Letter to Fathers

Dear Father (specifically those still with the mothers of their children),

Do not take away this time from me, I beg of you to understand that the love my daughter has for me is fleeting as a mother.

She will only love me now and maybe only a few years more.

You must acknowledge this. There will come a day where the winds of change will come, hormones will sprout similar to flowers in the spring,

Her love for me will fade until it is almost indistinguishable from that of an unlit holiday candle,

Waiting, waiting, waiting

For the flame to be lit anew somewhere within the confines of young adulthood, (and if fail in this endeavor) it could last into late adulthood.

You see, I will never reap the full benefits of my labor.

The family will remark on the fact that you (the father) are present in our lives and how honorable and responsible you have become.

Friends will comment on the way your daughter loves you and how great of a father you are.

Outsiders will marvel at the way you have provided all that you can.

These are not to downplay your accomplishments by any means, you have sacrificed much, and have done much on your own to succeed, and I have faith you will continue to do so despite my letter (that most likely isn’t ever going to be read by you).

Please

Do not take this time away from me. Our daughter’s love is like the wind.

One day it will carry our souls so far away from each other it will seem out of reach. The distance will be heartbreaking and lonely and filled with guilt.

Heartbreaking, because when the day arrives, it will arrive with a vengeance that one never intentionally seeks. It will come unexpectedly and a part of me will have died.

Lonely, for my daughter, will not heed my warnings as navigating adolescence, with its howling winds and destructive tendencies, only make the distance between our souls ever vaster.

Filled with guilt that maybe I have wasted this time. Maybe I have let trivial matters cloud my purview and righteous indignation stunt my personal growth. Maybe I have not done enough. If that’s the case, I’m not unaware of it,

But please

Do not seize this time away from me as it is precious. The day part of me dies is the day my daughter will inevitably scream at me in anger the vicious words that all teenagers say to their mothers:

“I hate you, I wish you weren’t my mom.”

The words sting just typing them, it brings tears to my eyes, not tears of joy, but tears of sadness and grief because I myself have said those words (albeit my circumstances will never be those of my daughter, she is biologically mine).

Countless others of my age (26) have admitted to this unfair and unnecessary treatment of their mothers in those complicated in-between years where you do really hate your mother

Unbeknownst to them, we were them.

My own mother was the victim in a long line of underfunded, poorly managed, consistently overran with exhausted overworked staff, and supplied with no resources for adopting those of different ethnicities (than that of the ethnicity of the adopter), are from differnt countries, or even information about the racial bias that an ethnically diverse child in the upper-middle class (as most people who adopt are in this socioeconomic class) will encounter sooner, rather than later

I did not understand the pain and misery I inflicted upon her, and I still fail to comprehend why I acted and chose to do the things I did; the way I thought my own problems superceeded those of everyone around me, it was selfish.

To my mother, I do not wish to make excuses for my behavior but only now as an adult can l look at the big picture and realize that I was wrong to vilinize her.

An old diary entry from 2011 prompted me to realize that I had convinced myself that my father could do no wrong, and I put him on a pedestal, not realizing he wasn’t around a lot this, to the detriment of my mothers health and well-being.

I came to this conclusion and apologized and thanked my mother for all of the anxiety, pain, and worry that I had caused by only thinking of myself.

What I found were memories, long forgotten; a subconscious will to be good enough for him to stay around. That 2011 diary, made me see the errors in my thinking.

While my daughters circumstances will never be as complicated as mine, it will happen just the same to me, if not because of Karma, but because I will have deserved it.

This I have now accepted, but that doesn’t mean you (the father) need to preemptively make your spouse the ‘bad guy’, causing numerous amounts of pain and suffering unnecessarily, when you should be working together on the problem and issue.

ESPECIALLY those mothers who are fortunate enough to stay at home and whose children are what their lives revolve around: The safety and well-being of their children.

Placing blame on each other is not conducive to problem solving, it’s a hinderence.

Cut your partner some slack, take the fall every once in awhile, your spouse will not have this forever, from 3-years-old to maybe 6 to 7 years old.

Now I ask as a favor, one that you will see benefits from, and benefits that will be cherished forever

The one thing I will get on my knees and beg for if necessary:

Please do not take the one time in her life, that she will love me, appreciate me, give me the cuddles, the unwarranted hugs, and random “I love you’s” that are handed out freely like candy at a Memorial Day parade.

Her love is fleeting, time is short, and this may be a lot to ask but

Please do not take this time away from me, it will be here and gone before you know it.

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