Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Not-So-Father's Day

Originally, I had planned on doing a big Father's Day post.

I took lots of pictures of the girls making their cards and I took several Father's Day shots and totally planned on putting a post out there to honor the man I love and whom my little girls call daddy.  It was (and will be eventually) a really happy post.

But things took an abrupt turn for me and I needed to write it down.  Get it out. Let it go.

While my amazing husband tells folks he has 6 children, he biologically only has 4. He's a step-father to my two oldest.

Some of you may not know this, many of you do, but I was married once before.

The man I married 23 years ago gave me two beautiful children.  He then left me when they were 3 & 4 years old.  In reality, he left them too.  Once he left, he moved 5 hours away and my children saw him pretty much once a month for the majority of their childhood with  week long visits scattered here and there in between.  By the time they were teenagers they saw him even less.

Monk, my amazing husband of 14 years now, did his very best to be a father to my kids. He loved them like his own, tried to be a part of their lives and in a very real sense, tried to make up for what they had lost. While his efforts were genuine, the reality was that he wasn't their dad.  Conflicts happen in all blended families and ours was no different. When kids get about 11 & 12 years old...they just know it's not the same.

For years I tried to protect their hearts.  When their dad didn't call or visits didn't go well I tried to reassure them and put things in the best light possible. I admit that as they got older I said things I probably shouldn't have.  Not in any way to try and degrade their dad to them, but because I was hurt for them.

And that's what I did for 16 long years.  I hurt for them.

They are now 19 & 20. The don't live with me anymore.  They are adults (for the most part lol!) and they now deal with their dad on their own terms.  Many times in their childhood or teen years if I saw that they were hurting over him I would call him and persuade him to try and right things.

I don't do that anymore since it's not necessary for us to communicate any longer.  And now I watch them hurt.  I watch them, with the expectation that things will be different, and then see the disappointment that happens when it's not.

My heart aches.

Today has been hard for them.  The relationship they want and the relationship they have are worlds apart.  A man that doesn't see the gift  he has in his children that want a relationship with him.

On a day that has been so wonderful for my own husband and my 4 little girls, has been hard for my two oldest children.  There is a hole in their hearts and they don't know how to fill it. And as tears roll hot down my cheeks, I admit I cannot fill that hole either.

And yet again...I hurt for them.

I know they have a Father that can fill that hole.  He can give them peace and comfort and joy and happiness. He can change their heart and show them forgiveness.  He can allow them to forgive. He can show them how to be thankful in the hard stuff.

But tonight, the lump in my throat and the pain in my heart are still very much present.  I hate not being able to make things right.  I grieve because they hurt.

They are strong, those two.  Both in will and in determination. And for that, I am extremely thankful. But as a mother, I know they say they are fine, but I also know there is a sense of loss in their heart.

And what can I do?

I can be there for them. I can love them. And I can pray for them.

But I'm not sure if I'll ever be able to stop hurting for them.

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