Monday, May 13, 2013

Sins of a Father

My Daughter and I.
Dear Aaliyah,

Right now you’re not old enough to understand this because you’re only 8 years old, so it’s going to be a long time before these words have any real impact on your life. But that’s okay. I’ve been wondering what to write for days now. Wondering what I should say. What I shouldn’t say. It would be easy to say your mother’s wrong and paint her as the "bad guy", but it’s partly me too. I’m the bad guy.

I would let your mother and your stepfather dictate when, where and how I saw you.  I’d just say a prayer; close my eyes and rest well at night thinking you were probably fine. The old “No news is good news” approach. Selfishly, to guard my own heart I’ll admit, I just turned a blind eye to some of the things going on in your life, because your mother wielded my love for you against me like a deadly weapon. Rather than enduring, facing the pain and fighting for you, I just became numb to it all. I would call and call, but for whatever reason I couldn’t get through. I'd send gifts and money but for whatever reason, you didn't receive them. So after several birthday cards and Christmas cards were "returned to sender" I just stopped. I stopped calling, stop sending things and I halfway stopped caring. There were so many nights when I would beg God to help me get over the love I had for you. Anything had to be better than having you, knowing you and not getting to see you or talk to you.

Aaliyah and Dominic
I mean things worked out so well with your brother Dominic’s mother, as far as getting to see him and talk to him that is, I thought if I just gave all the love I had for you to him, it’d be a reasonable substitute for not being there. Hell, most people didn’t even know I had a daughter. I’d never mention you, or talk about you, or bring you up in passing, because it was easier to pretend. To pretend you weren’t there because anything was better than the daily pain of worrying about you. How were you doing? Were you safe? Were you happy? Not anymore though.

I never thought this day would come. That this moment would be real. It’s been like a beautiful dream and I’m so afraid it will end. For over a week now, when you’ve laid your head down to rest at night, I’ve been there. I’ve just watched you sleep and looked on in amazement. Before this week, I hadn’t seen you in over four years. In that time you’ve grown so much. You’re so smart, so beautiful. You’re an amazing little girl and I’m proud to call you my daughter. Proud to call you my first-born child.

Now I don’t know what the future holds, because as of today where you’ll ultimately live is still in the air as there are still some legal issues that must be ironed out. Your mother loves you very much, but she has things that she needs to work on and I know if no one else is,  I’m rooting for her like crazy to get her life back in order, but I don’t think she’s the best option anymore. She’s done an amazing job, given the circumstances, because there’s no way you’d be so wonderful and so intelligent if she didn’t do something right, so I owe her for that much. If you ever want to know the truth about what really happened, Dad’s here and I’ll answer any questions you have. All I know is you’re here now because a judge asked you where you wanted to go and you said here with me. With Dad. I asked you again today and you said, as long as you can visit your mom, you want to stay with me. You want to live with me from now on. You're almost 9, so I feel like you can make a decision like this. If you were Dominic’s age, I’d never ask you anything like this, because you could be influenced to say what I want, but your not a baby anymore. If you’re old enough for a judge to think you can make a choice about where you want to go, then you can tell me what you want too.

How can you not love that face?
Your mother is a little upset with me about it and I completely understand. Because again, I know she loves and misses you very much, but I feel like she should want what I want. Which is, “What does Aaliyah want?” For too long we, your mother and I, have only cared about our personal and trivial grievances with one another to really ask that question. The most important question, “What does Aaliyah want?” “What’s best for Aaliyah?” We’ve both acted like spoiled children and never really stop to think about what’s best for you but never again.

Everyday I wish that you could un-see the things you saw, but you can’t. I wish I could change the past but I can’t. All I can do is change the future right here and right now. Over the next few months, Dad’s in for a long battle to see who gets to tuck you in every night and never before has that mattered so much to me. Never before has seeing you everyday meant the world like it does now. I promise that no matter what happens, whether you are here with me or there with her, know that Dad did all he could and that I’ll never, ever leave you in the hands of anyone that I don’t trust. That I’ll always be there and that I’ll venture to hell and fight Satan himself to insure these three things: That you’re happy, that you’re safe and that you’re loved. Honestly, I don’t quite know how I’m going to do it all, but I KNOW it is going to workout. Dad has tons of friends and family that never gave up on him and never gave up on you. So there’s NO WAY I WILL FAIL!

As of today, May 12, 2013, these words mean nothing to you, but one day they will. One day, you’ll know that there was a time when Dad wasn’t there. When I wasn’t the father I should have been, but you’ll also know that one day it all changed. That one day, at the drop of a dime, Dad dropped it all to be with you. That when you needed me the most, I was really there for you. Like I should have always been.


  1. This was absolutely beautiful! I am amazed at how completely open and honest you are. It’s always wonderful to see a father express such love and commitment to his daughter. I’m a woman who never had a father and who never knew this type of love you’ve expressed so freely her. You’ve brought tears to my eyes. I truly hope you are given the chance to see you daughter grow up everyday. It is a blessing and I know you won’t take it for granted.

  2. Paris that was so beautiful and you have no ideal how many father wish that they would have or could express their feeling to their child.

  3. Well written and, of course, sentimental. I'm sure those with similar struggles will be able to relate to this quite easily.

  4. Thanks to everyone for your comments and kind words.