As you can imagine, my mother was really hurt after my father left us when I was only 9 months old. Even after almost 40 years, I still hear stories of how inseparable they were in college. I know she still cared deeply for him, so how was she able to hide her pain from this horrific breakup? Why was she so willing to let me spend time with his parents knowing what their son had done to her young and dare I say naïve heart?
These are great questions right? Unfortunately, I don’t have an answer other than she realized that I needed a father. She believed in her heart that my dad was a good man and they just married too young. Maybe it was the willingness of my grandfather (his father) W.P. to pick me up and drop me off at my mom’s parent’s house when I got out of school for summer vacation. He was willing to make this 240 mile shuttle run just so he could spend a few hours with his grandson. Again, I don’t know the answer, but I’m glad she did… THANKS MOM!!!
My mother rarely let me see the pain she carried over the years due to her failed marriage with my father. This takes a strong woman of character. Even when my dad remarried, she always allowed me to go out to Los Angeles to visit them. I have friends (and you know who you are) that will not let their kids go across town to visit their dad and his new family because you don’t want your child around the new wife or girlfriend. You have to ask yourself, what are you doing to your child by not allowing them to spend time with their father?
As a child, I didn’t understand the pain. I only knew that my mom and I were in Nashville and my dad was in L.A. I knew nothing about the fights over money and the challenges they faced in their early twenties living in Washington, D.C. All I knew was that he was my daddy and he lived in L.A. while my mom and I lived in Nashville.
I didn’t know what child support was or what financial impact consistent payments could have had on my life. I only knew that my dad was living out in L.A. with the movie stars, Mickey Mouse and the ocean and we were living in Nashville. Fisk University, Tennessee State University and the music industry were cool, but they failed in comparison to Disneyland, Hollywood and Santa Monica Beach!
As you can see, a child’s perspective is based on things other than the pain parents feel. Are you viewing your situation and making decisions through your pain or through your child’s eyes? Please share your thoughts and experiences both as a child and as a parent. I look forward to the conversation.
Forgiveness freed my mom from her pain enough to allow me to develop a relationship with my dad. Forgiveness of self allowed my dad to be open to having a real relationship with me.