The day you were born was simply amazing. I actually saw the whole thing, and being a good farm boy, it was not the first time I had seen the visceral reality of a live birth, but never had I experienced such emotion! Love, fear, hope, humility.
They handed you to me, swaddled in a little pink blanket. Your mother lay off to the side, overcome by exhaustion both physical and emotional. You cried, and my first instinct was to calm you, to be there for you, this part of me, my heart, my very soul, laying before me in my hands.
Never had I held any person, any thing with such tender love. Empty, parched parts of my heart filled with a quenching love. It was as if my heart had never known love, and honestly it hadn’t – not of this kind. This was a selfless love, the kind of love that would make a man step in front of a charging bear to protect someone he loved more than himself.
In a blink, promises poured overflowing from my heart – all those promises a father makes to his child, to always protect, love, and cherish, you, to be a better man for you, such a dear sweet gift from God. And in the next instant came the fear, the reality that my beloved child can never be fully protected, can never be totally nurtured, can never be perfectly loved in such a dangerous, cruel, unforgiving world.
I thought of my parents and realized how much they had sacrificed for me. I forgave them their mistakes, and I hoped that I might be nearly as good as a parent. In some ways I promised to be better. I knew I could be better.
Now, nearly two decades later, I realize that far too many of those promises have been broken, that our very relationship has been broken, and still I try to mend it.
But it seems our relationship is like some exquisite piece of crystal that has been reduced to bits of glass, and the more I try to fix it, the more it seems to hurt me.
I never meant to abandon you, though I know this is how you must feel. I never meant to make you choose between me and your mother, my ex-wife. My hopes for us remain modest, that I might be part of your life, a contributing part because after all, you are part of me and I am part of you.
I live with the everyday pain that I have failed you. This pain fills the empty void caused by our separation. I have eased this pain by allowing others in my life,and I have given them my love. But always there is this gnawing feeling, a longing. For as much as I love others, there is only one person whom I can love the way I love you.