I wasn't fully awake. Not quite asleep either. Somewhere in between.
I read part of a note in a Christmas card, it was hard to read and harder to understand what it was saying.
"I'm so sorry that your daddy could not be here today, I know he loves you. but he is with another little girl who needs him more than you do."
After that you can imagine I was wide awake, as the rest of the message, and the rest of the story had to be filled in by my own brain.
Why tell a lie on Christmas? Why tell such a terrible lie at all?
How did I know this was not the truth? isn't the writer of this note trying their best to explain the inexplicable? Were they right and just stuck doing their best with an impossible situation? I had to think it through, and know what happened to daddy.
Obviously he is missing, and missing from the life of his daughter, and to someone who cares is given the difficult task of explaining why he did not make the effort to see her on this important day. ( Just like she will on the birthdays, school plays, graduations, weddings, and important days to come.)
It matters not whether the speaker is a mom or grandma, or if the missing one is a dad or a mom. It could be any scenario, but being a father, and the way the card was written in my half dream, I'm about to lay into missing dads. ( warning lights)
The 'note from mommy', as I shall now call it will no doubt confuse more than it soothes. Its words though seemingly kind and thoughtful merely cover the wound and do not address the injury done. I felt so sad for the reader of such a note, and I am assured that many such notes are written or spoken each holiday.
So daddy has not shown up again, nor did he call. the only gift under the tree that says it is from him, was bought by someone else, wrapped and placed there as a substitute for another kind of presence. Someday this child will know, but for now the real gift with the fake tag will hopefully insulate them from being aware of their abandonment. Rejection so cruel and inhumane, that a generation ago it would have been nearly unthinkable.
Do you know that I did not know one person growing up whose parents were divorced?
Now it's a rarity when my daughters friends still have both their parents - together- married.
I had to assume Mommy married daddy trying to do the right thing. It was never perfect, but few marriages are. when the wheels came off she was left with caring for the innocent, and trying not to curse the man who gave her this most preciuos gift and then forgot about his child.
His next marriage did not go well either and he is now on number three, with a younger woman who will put up with his crap. The new family is consuming his time and his income. Being in another state helps his own (lame) excuses go down better with his morning coffee. perhaps he cusses himself as he realizes that anything he mails now will arrive too late, and vows to call. When he does not remember to call he will tell himself he is too busy and it has been so long she would not know who I am anyway, better if she just gets used to it.
more later - just writing this makes my stomach hurt