When you get married and decide to have a child, you do so believing that you're in it together. You do it because you know any child you have would be blessed to have you as parents.
Then you give birth to a beautiful, green-eyed, redhaired little angel and you look into her eyes and whisper promises to always love her and care for her and put her first. You promise to provide and protect and you threaten to kill anyone or anything that ever hurts her.
You never think the person to break her heart is going to be her own father. You don't believe for one second that her own father would say things like "she's not my priority" or "that's the limit of what I'll give and no more".
You hear those words and your heart breaks. There's an audible tearing sound while I speak to him on the phone and he says he won't help. Doesn't matter on what because he's a bare minimum dad but for today it was "I'll pitch in $2k for her a car and that's it. No gas money, no oil changes, no car repairs. She can work and get a job and figure it out on her own. Gotta grow up sometime."
"So if she breaks down on the side of the road, I have to be able to deal with it myself, you won't help."
"Nope. That's all on you."
Can you hear it? That tearing sound is disappointment. It rips through my heart slow and deep. It starts at the top and rips my heart in two. I'm so disappointed. So shocked that he can say something like that about helping his own daughter. I'm disappointed in myself that I picked a man who I thought would love his little girl unconditionally and without question; a man that would do anything for her and he turned out to be nearly the exact opposite.
My stepson is a better father to his 17 year old stepdaughter than my ex-husband is to his own daughter.
It's been over 13 years since our divorce. That man has never once made me feel proud of his behavior. He's never given me a reason to shout from the rooftops what a wonderful father he is. He's put her down, yelled at her, hurt her, put his new wife ahead of her and has actually told her she's not his priority, his new wife is.
As we venture down this new path which should be an exciting time for Auburn Aries as she completes her driver's ed classes and heads toward getting her license, I find myself in the same place I have for the last 13 years. Alone. A single parent who carries the load of the world on her shoulders. No soft place to fall. No one there to catch me. Fuck. I'm tired.
I've no choice but to stand strong, even when I don't want to; even when I feel I can't - not for one more second - and do what I have to do. As much as he likes to blame me for everything and as much as it hurts that he does, it'll be me who has the satisfaction of knowing Auburn Aries turned out the way she did because of the love and sacrifices I made. That may be naive but I have to have faith. She's a funny, beautiful, talented, compassionate young woman and when it's her time to fly, she'll soar, despite her father's bullshit.