There comes a time in a divorced fathers life when we have to let go of what no longer exists.
It took me a long time to accept that my son was no longer in my household full-time. That my house is now a weekend trip. That I’m always playing catch up on his life. That just when we start bonding, it’s time to say goodbye again. That he won’t run to me at the door like he used to when I got home from work. That another man will see him more than I do. That I won’t be there when he’s frustrated with his math homework, when he brings home a good report card, or when life just gets heavy for him.
I remember getting home from work and he’d be on the balcony looking down, waiting for me, and then he would run to the front door to give me a big hug. Those moments are now memories and I fought this reality for 2 years. And that is what turned my pain into suffering. I’ve lost hours of sleep, thousands of dollars in courts, and countless tears wishing I could see him everyday. Because how do I let go of the only true love I’ve ever felt?
I’m at the stage where I’ve finally accepted my new reality as his father. I get approximately 80 days a year with him. So there are approximately 285 days that he lives a life I know very little about. Discipline becomes tricky because I spend most of the time we get studying where he’s at mentally and understanding what he’s going through. I try not to shower him with material items because I know that doesn’t fill any voids. So I’ve focused on showering him with love, confidence, and security. I’ve focused on being impactful in his life with the brief time I get rather than focusing on the fact that I want more time with him.
But there’s a level of guilt that comes with letting go of the past. I can’t fully allow any woman into my heart or mind because it feels like I owe all that love to my son. And how do I move forward to create a new life with someone without my son feeling like I left him? Will he understand?
I’m nervous at the thought of having more children because perhaps I won’t love them the same. Of course not purposely but subconsciously. Perhaps I’ll subconsciously be trying to recreate with them what I used to have with my first son. That wouldn’t be fair.
I’m nervous to continue progressing in my career knowing I’ll have to move away from him. Does prioritizing myself mean I’m not prioritizing him?
Some fathers run away from these feelings. Some of us don’t confront ourselves. We don’t look in the mirror because we know there’s a broken man that will look back at us that requires a lot of work. But we deserve a better version of ourselves. Our future spouse deserves a clean heart and soul. Our kids deserve the best version of ourselves. We pay so much child support but don’t pay enough attention to how we feel and how to deal with it.
We carry so much on our shoulders. Weight that no one sees. No one notices. They only notice when we mess up. They only notice us on the first of the month when child support is due. We’re considered providers and it’s not often that anyone provides for us unless there’s something in it for them. I get it. Hang in there dads. The prize will be seeing our young boys grow up to fulfill their potential because of the love we gave them.