Over the past few days I have been talking to someone about stuff. This morning I was thinking about my kids and their feelings and the effects of the past year on them. I was actually blaming myself a fair bit and wondering where I have gone wrong and what I can do to fix it.
There are a lot of things I have done in my 'time' that have, no doubt, contributed to this....but you know what, I am still here and my kids know I will not walk away and that I love them the best that I can. I think that counts for a lot.
Last week in Shelli's counseling session the subject of her step father ( he has been her 'father' since she was 14 months old) was raised. This has been raised before and has been met with a shrug and an I don't care attitude. This time anger and hurt was shown. I call that a huge step. This kid has been abandoned by him even though he says differently, and it has been a major contributor to her present problems. In fact, her cutting last week was brought on by her thinking she was being abandoned by her friend.
I wrote an email, short and to the damn point to him this morning. I debated with myself over this and in the end, I did it, because you know what....I am sick of wearing the whole hair shirt here...I have done my best. And I have not abandoned my kids, ever, except to go to rehab, to save my life, so that I didn't abandon them permanently.
This is what I said to him
"A word of advice.
When these two new children that you have in your care get to be teenagers, make sure you don't abandon them when things get rough or life gets different.
This abandonment can lead to children becoming depressed and even contribute to them harming themselves as, for some strange reason, children believe everything you say to and promise them.
Also, next time someone who has been close to you is dying, I would advise that you don't offer help and then not deliver okay. This just leads to hurt and disappointment on the part of the people who thought you gave a shit.
And before you point out to me that you have always been there for them, I will acknowledge that and also point out to you that you are not now. And now is actually important. I am not asking you to do anything, in fact, I would prefer you didn't do anything to disappoint them again.
Just be careful Robert, you have new babies now, don't make the same mistakes. Parenthood does not end at aged 15 and walking away, even unintentionally, sends a message to the child that says "you are not worth loving"."
And do you know what else, he will more than likely reply and justify and even be angry with me. I just don't care.
The damage is done.
The funny thing is that when I look back, this email could have been written to my father.
My point here?
I am not quite sure but I will tell you this..
I have spent years carrying guilt for my choices in life but you know, some of it was not mine to carry.
And I may have tried very hard to run away from myself but I never ran from my kids.
My mum once said to me that you take what happened to you as a kid and you just do better.
That the buck stops here.
She was right.