I don’t know you.
I don’t know anything about you- name, job, hometown- and we probably won’t ever meet. Even if we did, I probably wouldn’t know that you were who you are.
So, you may ask, if I don’t know you, why am I writing this letter?
Well, man-I-don’t-know, I do know your son. And I have some things I need to get off my chest.
Today was Valentine’s Day. In your son’s class, the students received mystery letters from their parents, with details in the letter to reveal which student it was about. Your son got a very sweet one from his mom. Then, the students sat down to write Valentine letters themselves. Most of the kids started with one to their parents or parent who wrote them a letter, and then wrote to friends or other relatives if they had time. Your son, though, did something a little different. He had paper to write to his mom, but he wrote to someone else first. He wrote to you.
Now, that might not seem strange. Lots of kids with separated parents wrote a letter to each. But what was different was what your son said. I won’t write the whole letter, but for me, just the beginning was enough.
Why don’t you care about me?”
Honestly, I didn’t know what to say when I saw that in class, and after writing it here, I can’t even think of anything to write. I would say I’m fairly well-spoken; I can usually use words to express myself clearly. But this…this leaves me speechless. And it’s not that this is the first time I’ve met a child who feels unloved or has been hurt. It has happened before. But my reaction is always the same. There are no words to express the deep, deep sadness that I feel. No child should ever feel like this.
And the funny thing is, I don’t even feel angry with you. You hurt your son when he lived with you, and you ignore him now that he is safe with his mom. Apparently you have other children, and your son thinks you only care about them and you don’t love him at all. He sends you notes, and you never respond, and he never gets to see you. He wants to have a relationship with you- he loves you. This is the boy who can barely even get a sentence done in his workbook sometimes, but he wrote two letters to you this morning. He is seven years old and he wants to have a dad. All of this should give me plenty of reason to be mad at you, maybe to even hate you for making him feel bad.
But I don’t. I don’t know why, but all I feel is sadness and pain, pain that this world is so screwed up that situations like this can even happen. And that there’s nothing I can do to fix it. There’s really nothing I can say that’s going to make it better. I guess I just have to make peace with the fact that, while I can’t fix the relationship between you and your son, I can show him love, friendship, caring, and understanding. And I can pray. Believe me, I’ve been praying ever since it happened this morning. I do believe that God can bring good out of any situation, but it’s still hard to deal with the right-now, and all the sadness and pain there is.
And that’s why I’m writing this letter to you, man-I-don’t-know. You probably won’t ever read this, but I guess it wasn’t really for you in the first place, was it? I needed to get this down, to organize all the thoughts swirling around in my head so I can move on and not dwell on this anymore. If I let myself get pulled down every time something makes me sad, I’ll never survive.
One more thing I’ll say to you, though: Your son is a great kid. I sincerely hope that someday you will both be in a place where you can truly get to know each other, despite how your interactions (or lack thereof) have been so far. And I will keep praying for you, and him. That’s really all I can do, for you at least, because I don’t know you- but I know your son. And that’s close enough.