Dear Dad. Love, a Child of a Messy Divorce. ~ Catherine Beekmans

Via on Jun 11, 2013

Source: 500px.com via Jennifer on Pinterest

 

Do you truly understand the impact you’ve had on my life?

Dear Dad,

I hid my small body under window sills when you arrived to pick us up for a visit. Mom told me later that I said I didn’t want to visit. I don’t remember that conversation. I just remember being told to hide. I remember wanting to please Mom. I remember feeling guilty.

According to my mother, you were a malicious monster who made her life one of hell, despair and misery. To me, you were early mornings, fresh cut grass, cold chocolate milk and funny phrases. You were weekend garage sales, Friday night pizza and the man who knew how to fix anything.

Despite the fighting over custody and visitation, slammed phones and raised voices, you never said a single bad thing about my mother to me. I respect you for that and I’ve tried to follow in your footsteps. I keep my opinions of my children’s father (mostly) to myself, when sometimes all I want to do is share my anger with them. Learning restraint from you has saved them from that kind of childhood torture.

Your wit and humor hasn’t diminished as you’ve aged.

You can make most anyone chuckle (or laugh uproariously) with a single comment. You could make any bad situation a little better this way, and you did this for me through the entire ordeal of being a child with parents who couldn’t stand to be in the same room together.

You are kind. You are patient. You are wise. You and Mom fought for me in and out of a courtroom and yes, it was painful, but I also now realize that you were each fighting for me. You could have easily just given up.

You taught me hard lessons about families too.

I was permanently kicked out of my house as a teenager over a stupid teenaged mouth saying stupid, angry things. While it still hurts to know that my step-mother will always come first, it made me strong and resilient. I know how to deal with loss and change. I can adapt. This lesson, despite the pain of it, has been one of the most valuable.

Thank you for attending my son’s baptism—you hate going to church. You are an atheist. Thank you also for coming into my maternal grandma’s house after the ceremony, knowing my mother’s eyes would shoot daggers in your direction.

You were polite and friendly. You talked with Grandpa, the only other man who holds as much of my esteem as you do, may he rest in peace. Seeing the two of you chatting and catching up reminded me of fuzzy, happy memories from when you and Mom were still married.

My mother’s family, who undoubtedly heard every awful thing she had to say about you, was there and you were alone. It must have been an incredibly uncomfortable situation for you and you did it for me, and for my son.

My entire childhood, from as far as I can remember, and right up until now, has been speckled with humor, strength, hard lessons and courage, courtesy of you.  I hate to think of what I would have become without your influence.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad. I consider myself one lucky child of a messy divorce.

 

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  • Ed: Brianna Bemel

About Catherine Beekmans

Catherine Beekmans is a shy, friendly Canadian living in a small house with her nerdy Dutch husband, two nearly-perfect children, two kitties and a goofy dog. Cat spends her free time reading, growing vegetables and cooking them, traveling and learning life lessons courtesy of and along with her family. Cat began contributing as a typo vigilante and now eagerly serves as an editor, writer and student of the mindful life. You can connect with Cat on Facebook and Twitter.

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