I often wonder what you think about…on Father’s Day, or on birthdays, or special holidays.
When you’re spending quality time with your younger child, the one who lives with you—my daughter’s half-sister—do you think about your older child who is missing from your life?
Does your heart ache a little for the lost connection, the lost opportunity to bond, the lost blessing or the lost love?
When you taught your younger child to walk, when you heard her first words, took her to school for the first time or taught her how to ride her bike—does the child you never see flicker through your mind?
Do you think about how your older child has missed out on all of those things…and so much more?
When you receive handmade cards that are scribbled in pastel colours, “To The Best Dad In The World,” with a hand drawn picture of you with just one child standing next to you, do you ever think about the cards you’ve never received, or the hand that you’ll never hold?
Is there an empty space on your shelf, in your heart or in your world?
Do you ever think or wonder about your older child?
Where she is, what she is doing, and whether she thinks of you too?
Do you talk about her?
Does she appear in your dreams or do you see her in those haunted moments when you wake in the still of the night?
Does her half-sister even know she exists?
It is strange when I see your younger daughter at the supermarket or passing in the street, the similarities are striking. They both have the same red-brown ringlet curls, olive skin and big brown eyes. I wonder if they would be friends if they had gotten the chance. I wonder if they ever will.
They are both young adults now, my daughter 21, yours just a couple of years younger. I’m sorry I refer to her as “my daughter,” it just somehow doesn’t feel right to say “ours.”
Maybe you think now that she is grown she doesn’t need a father in her life, but in some ways, I think, she needs one more than ever.
However, she thrives regardless, at least that’s how she appears from the outside. I do wonder and hope she doesn’t have pain and confusion and a longing to know why…why you never tried, or called to check on her. Maybe just once?
Fortunately she was blessed with an amazing grandfather. Although no replacement for a dad, he has been a solid role model throughout her life. He helped to teach her to read, how to ride her bike and he wiped the tears when she fell.
He was also there when she first started to talk and he watched as she learned to walk and they have fought and made up and learned lessons, and they have bonded for life.
She never asks many questions. She knows she is free to talk about you, and I sometimes, but not often, mention your name. Just to make sure that she is aware…that if she ever wants to venture, the door is open for her to try to find a way to you.
I wonder though, if she ever did, how it would be received. Would the door be slammed in her face, or would she be welcomed with open arms?
Although, she has sometimes said, “If he has not wanted to know me, why would I now want to know him. He is a stranger to me.” And that breaks my heart a little, but also makes it swell for I know that she is grounded and that she does not long for a love to fill a void.
I cannot be sure, but I honestly don’t think she has a void—for your love.
I guess how can she long for something she has never known.
She does not know how it feels to have a dad.
You though…you know exactly how it feels to be a dad, and what it feels like to love a child, and that’s the part I really struggle to understand.
How a child can be left behind?
When Father’s Day approaches, I always pray it will pass by quickly and hope it is not another sharp reminder that you are missing from her life.
Author: Alex Myles
Editor: Travis May
Photo credits: Flickr/Avolore