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.