Friday, February 11, 2011

Deuces The Remix....An Open Letter To My Son's Father

I said I wasn't going to do this, but I didn't realize how strongly I would feel about it until the day came, and now with that day right ahead of me, there is an inescapable pull to say my piece, and this is exactly what I am going to do. I didnt even bother to write it as my alter-ego. This is real life, and this is me at my most sincere.

Dear Hall,

On March 7th, 2011 our child will turn 18. I have some pretty strong feelings about that age and what that milestone really means for him, but more than that, I have spent the last 13 of those 18 year practically silent on the subject of your role as his father. As the day approaches I am filled with questions about his future that I can not answer, like who will he turn out to be, will he continue to be the conscientious and caring young man that he is today, will he find love, and employment, and happiness in a world so filled with obstacles and hate? Furthermore, will the sins of the father color his maturity as he rushes headlong into manhood?

Its been a long time coming, a lot of skinned knees and ear infections, a lot of late nights and early mornings, a bunch of empty pockets and unfulfilled promises, and more than that there has been a lot of absence. Namely you. Our marriage didn't last, and I grant that it wasn't supposed to. I am not the same girl of 12 that embarked on a grown up, interracial relationship with a boy of 13 from a broken and dysfunctional home. I am not the same girl who rebelled against her parents to conceive a child with that boy and attempt marriage at 18. Who I am now, is something far different and far greater. I am a mother in the truest sense of the word. A lot older and wiser but that is who I am. That is what I chose.

I will never understand what made you decide to walk away from your son. I will never comprehend how even if you detested the very sight of me you could just stop giving a damn about him. You spent countless years ducking the child support system and forcing me to run all over town chasing you from state to state for a measly $200 a month. A figure that was never increased, a figure that sometime you paid, when you felt like it or not at all for years at a time. $200, which I always figured was the equivalent of beer and cigarette money, that you couldn't send your only child at the time, to ensure that he was fed or clothed or whatever. It wasn't a lot then, its not a lot now. I wonder how you justify it. I thank god everyday for my parents, that they were so willing to step in and help Billy and I survive and that's what we are talking about. Survival. If you didn't want to be married, that was fine. If you didn't want to have a black wife to explain, that's fine too, but to just up and not give a shit about the child that carries your name's well being? Never, I will never understand it.

Then you went off and married a woman with a child from a previous relationship. As hard as it is to admit, I was unbelievably hurt that you would walk away from a marriage and a child to adopt and support another woman and her kid. I know that some day my Bill will do the math and realize that while you were playing house with another woman he was being shoved aside. I never thought you were a racist, but maybe you were. Maybe it was just too embarrassing to have a little brown child call you daddy. I will never know, but I do know this. I didn't run out an remarry (although I could have) and let some other man raise my kid or have a revolving door of men in and out of his life. I am sure you don't know and don't care how difficult it was for single black mother to date. I am sure it wasn't even in your consciousness how many times I was looked at like a pariah for being young and black with a baby. See they don't ask, and don't care if you were married and your husband walked out on you after 5 years, they say "Aww, look at the statistic" and treat you like your stupid. I put up with the assumptions and the whispers and sometimes the downright blatant and direct discrimination but I was taught a valuable lesson, no man should ever define me and no person's opinion of my circumstances should matter. All that made me stronger for my son.

So now I understand that the marriage you threw us aside for has ended and I cant help wonder what will become of those kids. Will they be treated better, seen more, supported more because they and their mother aren't brown? Will you hug them more, love them more and tell your friends about them even though the marriage crumbled? Will you give them what our son deserved in a father all those years ago?

The list of offences committed against your first born son is shameful and I remember every single one and this list is just the tip of that iceberg. I remember him having to sleep in a bed between you and your new wife before he even knew we were divorcing. I remember him coming home from that trip and looking at the picture of me in my wedding gown and saying "Daddy never should have married mommy". I remember him having to sleep on the cold floor after just having his tonsils out because you were too selfish to give him the bed. I remember him coming home missing clothes, or with dirty clothes, or without his blanket or his stuffed animals because you didn't want him to have them. I remember him coming home from trips feeling like he was an outsider and you wouldn't spend any time with him. I remember how skinny he was and how his bones protruded through his back when he came from visiting one summer because your wife cant cook and he was hungry for a month. I remember you calling me every time you found out some news through the grapevine about my son that would undermine my parenting skills. I remember him having to sleep on your sofa and watch your ever growing brood of "new white" children all summer while your fat wife sat on her non-working ass. I remember the year he came home an told me that you bragged about the support you sent me for him and I had to break down the entire structure for him so that he could see how much that really was and I remember you yelling at him for clogging your toilet and feeling like he couldn't even take a shit in your precious house. What I remember most recent is telling him after he tried and tried to get you on the phone for Christmas, not to worry about it, or you sending me a Facebook message about him not thanking you for his 3 week late Christmas gift, or that you have no idea who his girlfriend Mia is. I remember telling him when the subject of you helping with college came up that he was going to be 18 soon, and that he shouldn't count on any support from you in his endeavors.

What I don't remember is birthday cards or gifts, questions about school, visits, you and him time, consistent support, Christmas presents that "HE" asked for and giving a shit in general. I don't remember any of that happening. Never, none of it. You had time to raise an entirely new family all while ignoring your first born. With the exception of your sisters side of the family, no one even gave a shit that Billy was alive. To this day I don't believe your mother has ever called him on his birthday or Christmas. Through all of that I never kept him from you. I never stopped him from seeing you and I never told him anything disparaging about you. I let him make the choices. I assume for you it was easy to walk away because you knew we would do your job for you.

We did do it. The three of us. Me, mom and dad we raised YOUR son. We filled his belly, and planned his parties, and bought his school lunch and clothes. We gave him warm rooms to sleep in, and toys, video game systems and books and pets. We gave him encouragement and love and scolding when he needed it. We dried his tears and listened to his dreams and took him on trips. We were there for his first day of school, his swim meets and his first broken heart. We gave him freedom, and haircuts and expensive ass tennis shoes, cell phones, suits and pocket money to take his girlfriend to Chipotle. We gave him what you wouldn't. A family. We provided what you couldn't. Love. We did all this not because you were absent, we did it because he was present. I wont list the sacrifices we all made because they honestly don't matter. The double jobs and late nights don't mean a thing. If I had it to do all over again I would do just that, because he means the world to me. The pride I feel for my son could never be tarnished by what you did or didn't do for him in the last 18 years of his life.

So, in conclusion let me say this. I wrote this letter for one reason, and that is to say goodbye. See, no matter how excited you must feel about never having to intermittently cough up $200 for the son you conceived and largely ignored I am quadruple that amount happy for never having to engage in any communication with you again in life. 18 means something different to all of us, and for me it means that the relationship that I made Billy have with you, albeit pitiful and sparse is no longer my responsibility. My son, the one that you chose to neglect, is the sole barer of that responsibility and he will determine from this point on whether or not HE wants to deal with you. On any level. My silence is over. My protection of you in the eyes of my kid has ended. I will not lie to make you seem better. I will not bite my tongue about your shitty parenting, and I will no longer force him to make any attempts at contact with you.

For everything you did to us, for every torturous year of pain and neglect we still made it. Billy and I are walking out of the other side of this tunnel holding hands, mother and son. An unbreakable bond of love and support. We are stronger than we've ever been because of each other, because not only did I guide and show him the way, he showed me too. He gave me the reason to believe in myself and push hard to become who I am. He taught me how to love, and he showed me what the meaning of work ethic is and what the word fight really means. We really are okay. He is, I am, they are. We are all just fine.

In closing, I usually end all of my break up letters with the same phrase and as this is the biggest most important breakup letter I've ever written this will be no exception because I have probably never meant it so much.

Good luck in your endeavors

No comments: