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Snowden

Snowden
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Salon.com
FEBRUARY 11, 2013 3:55PM

Pro-Choice Baby Daddy Speaks: The Rest Of the Story

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                   My daughter will never read this. My daughter does not even know me really. I flew back East to watch her graduate from college, that was the last time I saw her, and before that it had been five years since I had had a face to face discussion with her.

                    Despite having not been around for her conception - I married her mother knowing that I was probably not the father, and as things turned out I was not even to be the man she calls her dad.

                     My girlfriend at the time would have aborted her if I had not been there. I  rationalized. I was good with kids, and was pretty sure that I could not have one, and so I  not only made the choice, I married my daughter's soon to be mom. I did not want to, but my girlfriend's mother was mortified that the daughter she had abandoned would disgrace her by becoming an un-wed mother.

                      I knew my now ex-wife was no angel, but also knew why. I believed that a child would help her work through the damage that had been done to her as a child. I hoped that having a child would prevent her  from driving her car into a tree at three am. I knew that if she did, I could take care of the child myself. 

                       And so this baby daddy was there twenty seven years ago today, to watch a life he chose to keep, enter the world. It was hard to let her go, less than two years later, and then watch her cry every time I left her after the ten hour trip each way I made almost every other week for a few years or so, until they moved even farther away as my ex prepared to marry a third time.

                        At my daughter's graduation last year I could not help feeling a little hurt every time she refered to the third husband as - "her dad" - knowing full well he was. And he is a truly good man, and a good father to the child he and the ex had together. There was one brief moment where I felt  partially vindicated, if not respected, when my daughter thanked me for being her daddy for the first eighteen months of her life.   Truthfully, there was no way I could have been much more simply because they were all over the world, and the yearly visits I made to vist when they were in the US, and the week I got her most years for a vacation were lost in her memory, as were the checks, cards, and phone calls. I had never disapppeard, almost always came when called, and called to say I was coming, as I had for her graduation. I was happy for this one kind remark, because it was not meant to be hurtful, and it was true, I had been there; when my ex was not, as in not coming home until three am.

                         I do not blame my ex for anything, in fact I am gratetful for how all our lives have turned out. I do not know if she has finally forgiven me for leaving her , but it is easy for me to see that she is so much better off because I  made hard choices for her when she could not make them herself. I moved her ten hours away, back near her mother, and left her. I left her back with the mother that had abandoned her at fifteen. I knew that If I did not, she would have run me into the ground and run off, leaving my daughter  just as her mother had left her.

                          I  remember the last time I saw my ex wife's mother - I drove to her estate to tell her I was leaving her daughter, face to face.  My ex wife's mother has kept her word. She has never spoken to me since. But she and my ex are as close as two people can be after what happened between them decades ago.

                          And so long ago  I came to a fork in the road when I got of that plane to discover my girlfriend expecting. I came to a fork in the road and I took it.  Then I took that fork and stuck it right where I though it should be stuck. That baby mama was going nowhere fast when I  rolled the dice, but now she is sailing proud and certain that she made her luck, and she did. And that little girl who saved her life is twenty seven today.

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Comments

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never married the mother of my "daughter" (never wanted a wife, never wanted kids) - she was my "little sister"- 28 years later I'm the kid's "uncle"- and the only consistent male presence she's had in her life. Isn't life entertaining?
Lovely post. I'm sure you have figured out by now that children teach us more than we teach them - no matter who they "belong" to.
Families sure can be complicated. Thanks for writing this - it can't have been easy.
Thanks for reading and commenting Herr Rudd, and Dr. B.

Consistent - yes - I was consistantly too far away. I almost envy you. For me it was go down with the ship or stick her on a reef.

Dr. B: After working with kids for a decade - I know they do give it their best shot - no matter who they belong to.
Thank you Jeanette. It was not always easy - but it could have been so much harder.
love is never wasted. My niece would have been thirty today. It's a good day for a birthday. She was alive for it last year and spent it with her family...my brother, her mother (his ex) her brothers, niece and nephews. She said it was the best birthday of her life and everyone knew it was her last. She died from a brain tumor less than a month later.

I am always grateful for the opportunity to love someone, even when it's hard.
Thanks for reading and commenting MT. There are no words.
You have much to be proud of here.
[r] thanks for sharing this. poignant! best, libby
There's a lot to be proud of here.
Good man. You did your best...and more. And have to live w.o. the credit for it.
Jls,Libby, JP: Thanks so much for reading and Commenting.
After reading, and thinking back, and reading your comments - I wonder if I am proud, or just feeling that we are all lucky that we have made it this far. If I was to rewrite this I might stress the fact that It is really this chid that should be proud. She bore the worst of her mother's behavior and survived as only a child could, and seems to have forgiven all and grown into a really decent person. It is ironic that she will never know how her being born began a chain of events that took her mother; from being a spoiled, uneducated, wounded woman, who was hell bent on self destruction and enabled her to become a highly educated role m model for hundreds of women.
I spoke to My daughter on the phone last night and she was more than kind. She lives with a Iraq vet, with all the issues, but it seems that she has done well for him - and I am quite sure they will marry in time. Choice - it is a wonderful thing to have.
You were there for the first 18 months which, even if they don't remember, get imprinted on a baby. Perhaps it was your steadiness that allowed her to do all that you said she did? We'll never know for sure what impact you made, but make one you did.
Thanks JP - may have - but there is no doubt about it - she has done life pretty much her way after that.