Tuesday, March 5, 2013

What a Part-time Father Looks Like

He drives to other cities, flies to other states, just to see them.

He spends every last penny on them, whether its dinner out, a souvenir sweatshirt he can't afford, or a "special" trip on the last of his credit.

He travels to softball games in other counties just to talk to them for 2 minutes through a gate. Maybe they'll give him a hug, too.

He calls, texts, posts, and voicemails just hoping for a response or one pick up.

He buys them gifts for holidays he won't even see them on, hoping they'll get his intended message that he thought of them all day.

He goes to endless lengths for birthday and half birthday parties, because he wasn't invited for years.

He puts aside money for them and buys things for them, just in case.

He can't be a parenting, guiding father 75% of the time, so he has to shove all his parenting into a few hours on 2 weekends each month.

He doesn't get sleep, doesn't take a break, doesn't do anything for himself when his kids are finally with him. He exhausts himself catering to their every whim, while also trying to parent them without ruining the entire week, weekend, or night.

He sneaks out of work regularly, risking his job, career, and reputation to pick them up or see them receive a small award.

He begs their mom for more time with the kids, which will either be ignored or ridiculed.

He has to defend himself to his own children, because they "hear" so much or forgot the actual events.

He constantly walks a fine line between invisible father and a man trying to lead a new life- or any life, really.

He continues to go to his children's events despite negative reactions and comments from other parents, and even teachers and coaches, who have been told "vague" negative things about him. He shows up, smiles, and applauds anyways.

He focuses his energy on plans that will be best for his kids' healthy development, activities and trips that will  help them see beyond their circumstance and narrow lifestyle.

He puts off work trips (hurting his career), surgeries, and vacations knowing that it could cause him to miss a short, often frustrating visit with his kids. He doesn't apply for better jobs, or even try, because he knows that he can't move if he did get the job.

He knows in his heart that he can't give up, no matter what others tell him or how hatefully his kids treat him. Because if he did, he knows they will hate him that much more.

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