To My Son’s Father,
While you truly do not deserve an ounce of my energy or a moment of my time, I am writing to you on behalf of our son and his unfulfilled desire to experience some glimmer of a healthy and functional relationship with his father. I use the term “our son” extremely loosely as your contribution to his existence has been minimal, yet this beautiful young man still longs for your love.
I could hear it in his trembling voice this evening as he enumerated all the reasons why he would rather not have you in his life any more. Frankly this has been a long time coming. You’ve missed out on so much: a lot of skinned knees and ear infections, a lot of late nights and early mornings, a bunch of empty pockets and unfulfilled promises. You don’t feed him or clothe him or cuddle with him. You do not help him with his homework. You don’t listen to him, comfort him or respect him as an individual.
In the 16 and a half glorious years that our child has graced this planet, you have managed to not only miss out on countless memories and milestones, but also to contribute a surplus of disappointment and daddy issues to his life. Time and time again you have failed to show up, forgotten to call, and messed with your son’s emotions and sense of security. You have become famous for incoherent conversations and infamous for sleeping off hangovers instead of spending your free time with him. You’ve made limited attempts to support your child in any manner whatsoever. You take no initiative to be involved in his schooling. You take no steps to take part in his healing. You ignore all monetary obligations to assist in his surviving. Oh that’s right, you did pay rent two months in a row last year, half the rent back in April of last year; and of course there was that time back in 2004 when I had to sell you our big screen tv so you could actually help me pay rent. Yet somehow you believe that the few times that you did help us equates to you being there for him all his life. When in reality you’d often say things like “I’ll see him when I see him.”
Most recently you claimed that me being unable to pay rent is my problem and that you are not responsible for me. You are right. However, you do not seem the least bit concerned about how this affects our son – where will he sleep, what will he eat, how will this affect his grades? Perhaps this is your way to force him to live with you, again without any consideration about how doing so will affect him.
In spite of that I never kept him from you. I never prevented you from seeing him and I never told him anything disparaging about you. I let him make his own choices.
I am thankful to you for many things. The first, and most obvious, is for contributing your genetic material to create him, albeit the solitary shining achievement in your legacy of fatherhood. Secondly, I would like to extend my sincerest gratitude for the many lessons you have taught our boy. Thank you for teaching him to be strong. Without your constant onslaught of spectacular screw ups, he might not be as fiercely resilient as he is today. Had you not failed him in every way imaginable, he might have only had the opportunity to be a typical little boy. Thank you for teaching him to be independent. He doesn’t need you. Not for anything anymore. Thank you for teaching him one of life’s most valuable lessons: expect nothing and you’ll never be disappointed. Thank you for teaching him how to cope with grief, and anxiety, and depression at such an early age.
Thank you also for all of the unsolicited advice you continue to dole out to your son: he should play a sport, he should eat more vegetables, he should be thinner, faster, smarter, better. Because according to you he belongs to a superior, highly educated family. Since you seem so interested in working in the advice department, allow me to return the favor. Get a life. Get a grip on your selfish, self-centered, childish and petulant behavior. Get it together for your son.
Our son is special. He is smart and funny and all-around awesome, and he is tough, independent and successful. He has a spectacular sense of humor and a well-rounded sense of self.
Although I am concerned about how this decision will affect him as he rushes into manhood I am relieved that my silence about you is finally over. My protection of you in the eyes of my son has ended. I will no longer bite my tongue about your questionable parenting, and I will no longer force him to make any attempts to contact you. My son, will determine from this point on whether or not HE wants to deal with you.
Despite the fact that I am currently unemployed and our future seems bleak and uncertain; I know Baz and I are walking out on the other side of this dark tunnel holding hands, mother and son – an unbreakable bond of love and support. We are stronger than we’ve ever been because of each other, because not only did I guide and show him the way, he showed me too. He gave me the reason to believe in myself and push hard to become who I am. He taught me how to love, and he showed me what the meaning of work ethic is and what the word fight really means. We really are okay.