It’s never the kids fault when a relationship breaks down, we didn’t ask for it, we aren’t the ones to blame for it, we are just the ones who suffer when the two people who are meant to love us the most, can’t behave like grown adults and put the happiness of the humans you created first.
Take you and Mum for example. You didn’t work. I get that, and now that I know you both, I can see why. Mum has a temper, she’s vicious and she’s manipulative, she’s so consumed by the little world she’s created, she even believes her own lies. You? You’re arrogant and offensive, you’re the type of person who refuses to admit when he’s wrong and you’re a regular passenger on flight destination “Elevenerife”, you’re stubborn and you’re hard work, you don’t care about what you say and the people you hurt – especially me.
Put the two of you together and quite frankly, your relationship was a recipe for disaster.
But between you both, you had two daughters. When you called time on your relationship, my big sister and I became pawns. A six week old baby and three year old child, pawns in an adult game. You may both deny that, but the evidence suggests otherwise. Mum stopped us from seeing you although she allowed your parents access to hurt you, you’d spend very little time with us when we were with them but as we grew older, you’d ignore us completely and walk out of the room, but you kept tabs on us via the schools or family friends. You knew what was going on at home but you didn’t remove us from the situation and to be honest, I’m glad. Because now I’m able to look at you both and say that I don’t really need either of you. I’ve experienced both sides of the coin now and I don’t think I can say that either of you step up to the plate when it comes to being a good parent. A good parent would have taken us away from the situation, when you knew social services and schools weren’t protecting us, you should have stepped in. But you didn’t.
Do you remember when I was 26 John? I called you whilst I was pushing my daughter on the swings. You told me to Fuck Off. I waited ten minutes then called again. You said the same thing again. I gave up trying to get answers to the questions I was always going to want to know, until I was 32. I’d cut ties with my Mum less than a year before and decided to try one more time to find you, I did. I found you on Facebook and messaged you I don’t know how many times. Eventually you replied. It wasn’t the reply I expected, there was no elation, no emotion, just a bitter message aimed at my Mum, but, I ignored the passive aggressive undertones and arranged to meet you at Nans.
I thought there would be an emotional reunion, a long hug and an apology for being out of my life for so long, but no, a two second hug and a couple of hours spent bitching about my Mum. You didn’t ask my any questions about my life or about my daughter, you didn’t seem to want to know. I put it down to you being in shock perhaps, maybe even overwhelmed but no, fast forward almost 18 months and you’ve not changed a bit.
I used to call you daily, then weekly, now I barely call at all. Why John? Because when I call, I spend two minutes talking to you, then you pass the phone to your boyfriend and spend the time talking to him instead. And I don’t mind, I like Alan, he probably knows me better than you do, because he listens, and he asks questions.
Since the day I found you, you’ve never called me. It’s always me chasing you. When I come to visit Nan and you come over, or you’ve been to my house, we’ve never really sat down and had a proper conversation. In fact, we’ve spoken to everyone in the room but each other, it’s like we are two complete strangers, and that’s what we are, two total strangers connected only by a bloodline. I even changed my name back to yours in a hope it would make you want me more, in the hope it would make me feel like I finally belonged somewhere, but I’ve never hated a name more and, on the day I get married, I will finally have a name that I’ll be proud to carry, a real family name, from a family who love me and my daughter.
You knew I was off work with post traumatic stress and depression, you knew because yet again I rang you and told you, you didn’t really offer me any support and you certainly never called to check up on me from time to time like a good parent should. You were pretty shit to be honest John. I tried to defend you, tried to convince myself that it was because you didn’t know how to be a Dad, but when I think rationally, who does? There’s no manual to give us instructions the day we meet our babies for the first time so you really have no excuse. You just don’t have it in you to be a proper parent.
I got engaged recently John. I should’ve wanted to ring you and tell you. I should’ve wanted to share my excitement, but shall I tell you the honest truth? Only a month before, we had discussed the possibility of eloping just so we could avoid inviting you. And, on the day we got engaged and booked our wedding here in the U.K, we were excited beyond belief, but one of the first thoughts I had was “I don’t want to invite my Dad” do you know how that feels John? Not wanting your Dad there because I’m scared you’ll offend the people who have been there for me more than you have? Not wanting you there because I’m petrified of what you will say when the “Father Of The Bride” does his speech, because let’s be honest John, what can you say? You don’t know me. And I’m certainly not precious to you. I’m scared of you seeing me in my dress for the first time and walking me down the aisle because I know they’ll be no sentimental words exchanged, you won’t be telling me how beautiful I look or how proud you are of me because that’s not you. When I think of you at my wedding, I’m petrified you will ruin my day.
Instead, I’ve asked Paul’s Dad to give me away, and when I asked him, he beamed with pride and I didn’t feel scared or nervous about a thing.
I didn’t even ring you to tell you I’d got engaged because I knew you wouldn’t care, but I know you know because I rang Nan and told her, she didn’t congratulate us either. I knew she’d tell you so I waited for a call but that call didn’t come. So in the end, I announced our engagement on Facebook and let you know in the same way as most other people. We were flooded with messages but none of them from you, yet I know you saw it because you are on Facebook most days, don’t say you’ve been busy working John, if you can update your status, you can message me.
Then, a couple of weeks ago, Pam passed away. I know you saw it, I know you know. But did you call your Granddaughter? Did you message her with words of support and condolences? No. Nothing. Beth needed you to step up and you weren’t there. You can hurt me all you like John but there’s one thing you need to know about me. I am a good Mother, I put my baby first and when she needs me, I’m there, if someone lets her down, you can bet I won’t give them a chance to do it a second time.
At the very beginning, I would cry happy tears after speaking to you because I’d found my Dad, I got excited when you hung up and said “love you too” but it didn’t last long, because I knew it wasn’t real. Now, the only tears you give me are sad and angry ones. I’ve toyed with talking to you about it but I know you can be nasty and nothing is ever your fault so I bit my lip – something that those who know me, know I struggle massively with. Instead, I’ve spent months waiting for a call, waiting for some effort from you and got nothing. Now I’ve given up. You’re not a Dad, you’re just a person in the background. A person I will keep being hurt by and more importantly, my daughter will keep being hurt by you. I can’t allow that to happen. I won’t.
I always thought my Mum used my sister and I as pawns against you, but now I realise it wasn’t just my Mum. It was you too. I strongly believe you only wanted me around to piss her off, because you know she’s not on the scene and it would eat her up knowing I was calling you Dad again. The only conversations you are ever interested in are the ones about my Mum and I genuinely believe that if I told you I’d chosen to allow her back in my life again, you’d be gone. Because for you, it’s you or her.
But let me tell you this John. Mum won’t be back in my life, ever, and after this. Nor will you. Because you both make me sad, you both drag me down and make me feel unloved and worthless. But I know my worth now John, I know I deserve to be loved and I am, I’m loved without question or conditions, I’m loved without having to make choices, I’m loved for being me. You can’t offer me that and that’s ok, I’m not angry anymore, I’ve added another notch on the bedpost of life lessons and as the cliche goes, it’s made me stronger and it’s made me a better Mother because I am never going to be the kind of parents you are. My daughter will grow up to be loved, she will always know that even though things didn’t work with her Dad and I, it was never her fault, she will always know she doesn’t have to choose and she’ll always know no matter what, we both always want the best for her. And, one day, when she gets married, we will stand together by her side, knowing that we were grown up enough to put her feelings before ours. Just as you and Mum should have done for the two lives you created.
You could have been a proper Dad to me John, and Mum could have been a proper Mum, if the two of you had just accepted your marriage was over and you had put your focus into raising your girls responsibly, as a joint effort, if you’d just put your hatred aside. Once upon a time, your hatred for each other ruined me, it left me feeling like I didn’t know myself and had to live my whole life choosing between you both. But now I know I don’t have to choose either of you. Because neither of you are worthy of my love, neither of you are worthy of my daughters love and neither of you are getting it. I’m not choosing between you anymore, because I don’t choose either of you. I choose to just do me.
Take this post as you will. No doubt you’ll accept no responsibility and I’ll be the bad guy for walking away. But whatever helps you sleep at night. It’s not me or Beth missing out, it’s you. You might see this as being harsh, but trust me, nothing is more harsh than being absent from a child’s life for almost 32 years and doing very little to repair the damage. We are done John, and this time, it’s not you walking away, it’s me, and I’m not coming back.