They say the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree. In my own life, I think of my father. On the plus side, he was funny, dramatic and mechanically gifted. He invented sarcastic phrases that I still use to this day. On the bad side, he was a chronic alcoholic. He was closed off, aloof and a HORRIBLE FATHER. His rants were devastating to a young psyche. His first son didn’t even attend his funeral. I still remember him verbally assaulting me for wetting my pants when I was 8 years old.
When I got divorced, I was sure that I would not fall into the path of that behavior. I knew that I could still be a father AND parent to my own children but after 3 years, the seperation between my children and I has become too large. There is no parenting. There is no advice-seeking. There are no questions, no patting of the head, no laugh shared.
It would be easy to make excuses since your mother has taken many steps to cut me out of your lives. She enlists your coaches and mentors to not offer up any info about your whereabouts. She has taken away your phone and barred me from the property. Currently, the only chance to see any of you is during one of your sporting events, where the schedules are public knowledge. I hope you never know how empty this feels, nor do I want you ever to feel this self-loathing that has become unmanageable.
My father kept his addiction to alcohol and I have many memories of his bufoonery. I gave up my addiction long before any of you walked the earth yet I am still ostracized from your lives. The hardest part of all this is that the neglect I experienced growing up is now what I’m serving you. The quizzical glances we catch before your games are now a reminder of how far we have grown apart. It was best summed up by an excited wave from my 7 year old daughter only to turn, in horror, toward her mother, as if to see if she would get in trouble for waving to her father. The terror in her face will live with me forever. It is the same terror I feel every night I go to bed and wonder how my children are doing