You’re Missing Everything

To the father of my children, a stranger in familiar skin,

I’m not mad at you. I’m sad for you.

You’re missing everything.

I looked at you as I dropped my heart into your apartment this past Friday, the first one you’d had the boys for in over a month, and once again was reminded of your reality. I saw the emptiness in your eyes. The same emptiness I always saw. The same emptiness I tried to fill with me. With my love. With your sons. 

I heard the rasp in your voice that came from smoking too many cigarettes the night before. I knew you slept all day long because you were too sick to move. I understood you felt like death and I knew you weren’t going to be able to follow through with your obligation to our sons.

I smelled your hangover. And I remembered seeing you like this every weekend for years. I felt my heart sink into my stomach as I pushed down the pain of both seeing you like this and having to leave my sons in your care. The pain of the memories it brought back like a flood.

I smiled at you and pretended everything was fine. I pretended not to notice the truth, only asking if you felt ok.

You told me you were fine, but I knew better.

You’re not fine.

And you’re missing everything.

You’re supposed to be a man. A man they look up to and admire. A man they want to be like when they grow up. A man that teaches them how to be men. A man they can rely on.

But you’re not.

Oh, they love you. And right now, they even look up to you. But you’re not teaching them how to be men, and they certainly can’t rely on you.

You texted me that same night, only a few hours after I left you, and I knew what you refused to admit.

“I know you’re not gonna want to hear this and you’re probably going to use it against me somehow, but I’m throwing up really bad and I can’t stop sweating. It’s kinda scaring me. And no I haven’t drank.”

I knew you were in alcohol withdrawal. I could see it coming hours earlier. This wasn’t the first time, and it won’t be the last. 

To be honest, I was relieved you texted. Even without your admission or recognition of the true source of your sickness, I was happy to bring my boys back home. My mama gut knew they needed me and that you were in no state to care for them. So thank you, for at least being smart enough to admit you couldn’t do it that night. Even if you can’t admit why.

I no longer feel anger toward you. At least not in the same ways I did before. Now, it’s sadness that consumes me when I see you. I pity your situation and the people who fall for your lies and flattery. I wish it was different. But I’ve let you go.

I didn’t want to wish that you’d let the boys go, but the reality is, you already have.

While you’re drinking away your time with them, I’m drinking in every minute.

While you screw God knows who, I’m the one teaching them how to screw the nails into their plastic tool bench.

While you sleep, snuggling your hang over, I’m snuggling our children.

While you’re “dating” several people, well, so am I. 3 to be exact. But mine are loves that will last a lifetime, where yours will only last a night.

While you make excuses, I’m making memories.

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And you’re missing everything.

When you do spend time with them, you waste time texting me funny things they’ve said, forgetting that I’m with them all the time.

I know they’re hilarious.

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You get surprised by the things they know and tell me like it’s new news to us both.

I know they’re smart. I’m the one teaching them the things they know.

You get surprised when you see them hug and love on each other.

I know they’re sweet. They learned how to love from me.

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While you selfishly live only for yourself, lost in this life you claim to love, you’re missing everything

You don’t know that Ethan likes to be swung high on the swing, but only from the front so he can see my face. You don’t know that Connor likes to be swung too, But “only a tiny bit,” because going too high scares him. You don’t know that the boys have started dressing themselves but Ethan puts his arms in first and then his head, and Connor does the opposite. You don’t know their favorite foods or their favorite songs or their favorite games. You don’t know that they all love to dance. You don’t know that Luke is equal parts wild and strong and sweet. You don’t know that Connor hides when he’s embarrassed. You don’t know that they want to play soccer and t-ball and they’re going to be really good at it.

You likely won’t be there for their practices and games. It’ll be me cheering them on and it’ll be my face they search for in the stands.

You don’t know how to teach them to be gentlemen because you’re still a lost little boy yourself.

You’re missing everything.

When they were born, my world changed. Yours stayed the same. You missed the beauty of what we created together and the depth of your role. You never really wanted that role. But you took it on. And now you’re missing everything.

You’re still stuck in that pathetic world you were always in and you don’t know that we’ve all moved on without you. Not in the same ways you accuse me of moving on, but in ways that are necessary to our survival. We moved on a long time ago. But I’ve finally let you go. And some day, your sons probably will too.

You’ve given us no choice.

I’m not mad at you anymore. I’m just sad for you. Because you’re missing everything.

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92 thoughts on “You’re Missing Everything

  1. You are so, so strong. I’ve been reading your blog for quite a while. You inspire me, to be a better mother each and every day to my son. Thank you for sharing your story. Hang in there, hun. You are such an amazing mom to your boys!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My heart physically hurt as I read this. The similarities in our situations are outstanding. My son’s father is an alcoholic who is missing out on so much of his life and it makes me sad too. What was once an overpowering love for him has turned to pity and sadness. I once thought he was my superhero and now I wish a superhero would swoop in and rescue him.

    I wish I had some great words of wisdom to share with you, but I don’t. The only thing I could advise you to do, you are already doing- loving those boys with everything you have inside of you. That is what will make all the difference as they grow up to realize the kind of man their father is. I only hope he realizes the disaster he is creating before it’s too later.

    All the best to you and your boys. I love reading your blog, even when it does break my heart.

    http://madcraftingmama.blogspot.ca/

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh Melinda, thank you! I’m so sorry you have a similar situation. Its hard to watch sometimes, but the strength it gives us as mamas is immeasurable and for that, I’m grateful. I so appreciate your kind words and encouragement, and I offer the same back to you! You’re doing a beautiful job! Thank you for reading so faithfully and for taking the time to comment with such heartfelt words.

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  3. I need to copy and paste this to my son’s father!!! I feel every word of this! You are doing an amazing job with your boys. I really relate to the texts to you while he’s with them. My son’s father did that. It always made me mad, why are you wasting time talking to me when you actually have him. He would always say he didn’t get enough time, yet he would always waste the time he had trying to talk to me tell me he’s doing better etc. Just know You are Amazing and your boys know it!!! God Bless

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It saddens me when I read of an absentee parent. Especially when alcohol or drugs are chosen over the love for their own offspring. Kudos to you for taking on the task of mother and father…be sure to credit yourself for all that you do for those boys. I hope someday their “father” realized what he has missed out on.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ah, yes. I know that hurt so well. It is really sad what they wind up missing out on, isn’t it? Beautifully put, as always.
    PS So glad those wonderful boys have you and that none of are missing a minute!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Im struggling to keep it together over here. Man, you are so right! He is going to be drowning in regret. Maybe not this year or next, but one day he will be faced with it. That and devastation. Keep staying strong for you, your boys, and other mama’s out there that need your strong words.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tarynn, thank you!!! ❤ that means a lot. And true absolutely right….Someday it will all catch up to him. The games will end and he will be left as the only player. Athough he thinks he’s winning, it’s a sad existence. Thanks as always for your sweet, beautiful comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I am in the process of divorce and have a toddler. Reading this reminds me of my own experience somewhat because my ex-husband is an alcoholic and had very little to do with our son’s first year of life. Since separating he supposedly wants to be super dad but we will see how long that lasts after the divorce is final.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m,sorry to hear that. Mine has gone through phases of wanting to be super dad or pretending to “prove to me he can be the husband and father we deserve” and that lasts about as long as it took to type the words. He may want to want it, but ultimately he doesn’t. Maybe yours will be able to sustain it and the divorce will have been enough to wake him up. All it did for mine was give him an,out and more things to add into the blame game pile. Sad. You’ll be in my thoughts and prayers!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you! He has used it to play the blame game and as an excuse but it seems to have calmed down a little. It could just be that I dont see it because we dont communicate with each other. I’ll keep you an your boys in my thoughts and prayers too. I thought it was a but difficult with one let alone three. You are doing a great job!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thank you very much! I appreciate that! I’m glad it has calmed down, even if it’s only because of the minimal communication. That’s still better for your sanity! I’ll continue hoping and praying it gets better and that whatever is beat for you and your child is what happens.

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    • I’m sure you’re right. That day doesn’t seem to be coming anytime soon…and any regret he does have just becomes another excuse to drink and blame me for his problems. But maybe someday something will matter enough to him to wake him up.

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  8. My heart breaks reading this post. As a parent, I couldn’t imagine not being an active and supportive part of my children’s life no matter what. Also, having grown up with my father spending more time out of the home than in and eventually becoming a bit of a stranger, I know how hard is on your kids to have a parent who doesn’t really put in the effort. However, they’re blessed to have you. All you can do is continue to give them unconditional love and be there for them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for sharing your insight and thoughts. It breaks my heart that this is who my sons have as their father…but I pray that the men in their lives through my dad and brothers will be enough to balance what lacks in their own dad. And I believe it will…although nothing completely fills that hole. God can though. And I trust and believe he will and we will all be just fine. It is very sad though. Thanks again for your comment!

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  9. Your boys are lucky to have you. One day they are going to be old enough to see him as he is instead of through the rose colored glasses of childhood. It saddens me that any child should have to grow up to a point to realize they even though they physically have two parents, they really only have one. But, they are lucky to have you. And they are going to grow up knowing it. I have 4 babes and I couldn’t imagine doing it alone. Props to you Momma! You are doing great!

    Liked by 1 person

    • That really means a lot to me. Thank you! This is certainly not the plan I had or what I ever imagined would be my story, but God has a plan for it all and is using it for beautiful things! Thanks for reading and for your comment! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  10. This was so well-written. I couldn’t stop reading and can just FEEL the power in this and the power/strength/love from YOU. Wonderful and important insights to inspire so many mommas who can relate, and even those who can’t! There’s nobody better to be your boys’ mommy! Thank you for your thoughtful posts!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. This is the most beautiful, and strong post I have ever read. It shows us how strong of a mother you are, and also a woman! Thank you for sharing this.
    p.s. I love how you notice the different ways they get dressed – those boys have an amazing mama!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. To my sweet friend, you are so strong. You are doing what’s right. You are both Mama & Dad. You are writing your way through the pain, struggle, exhaustion, anger, and you are the one those boys will remember as the good times. You see their smiles & they see your bright shining grace. The alcoholic is not a man. He is a boy choosing drink over his inheritance. These memories you make & write about are what’s worthwhile. They are the greatest treasure. You keep writing it. And keep living those cherished moments.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. You are such a strong person. This made me tear up. You should enjoy every second with those boys because you are their world and vice versa. My mom always made up for what we “lost” not having my father around and I would not have wanted it any other way.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s good to hear. The boys don’t seem to be missing anything and are very happy, thriving little guys. I believe they have all they need and more and though it’d be no e to have their father be a better version of himself, he’s not and we are just fine. Thanks so much for sharing and for your encouragement.

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    • Thank you so much Lauren! ❤ I actually dis email them but as always, heard nothing back. I’m not sure what other avenues to try but the emailing isn’t getting me in. Maybe it’s not the method, it’s the writing lol….I don’t know! But, thank you for believing in my writing! 😀

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  14. Again… so much of what you write, I can totally relate to. When I reached that point of “pitying” him, I knew that I had forgiven him. So much pain and hurt occur in marriages where one is so selfish that he can’t see the destruction that his behaviors cause. Now, 10 years later, I can look back at my life and my children’s lives, comparing it to their father’s life, and realize that God’s Hand of protection was upon us the entire time. God knows who will change and who will not. My ex has never changed. But my children and I have. My children have been rescued from a life of alcoholism and abuse which would have been acceptable if we still lived in the same house with their father. My children have come to know our Abba Father as their “Daddy” that they trust instead of an earthly father who has failed them again and again over the years. I pray that your children will be raised up to the calling that God has for each of them for He has rescued them from the destructive path that their father is on… same as my children. He has a plan for you and your children. Just hold onto Him and trust Him.

    Liked by 1 person

    • This is beautiful. Thank you for such a heartfelt comment and for sharing your wisdom and insight with me from years ahead of me on this path. You’re such an encouragement and blessing to me. Your children are lucky to have you! Thanks again! 😘

      Liked by 1 person

    • Oh how heartbreaking. I’m so sorry! I can see my ex headed down that path, but he can’t see it because he thinks he’s just “having fun like everyone else.” Your story is part of why I left. I never wanted the boys to have to be around that 24/7. This road is painful too, but it’ll be less damaging than living it day in and day out I believe. Thank you for sharing your story, and I’m so sorry he missed everything.

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  15. Be happy, he is man enough to know he is sick, and can not care for children. My ex is a high functioning alcoholic/addict, among other things. My children and I have been in and out of the courtroom for 9 years. My ex thinks he is “fine” and he is “cured”. While the trauma and neglect my children endure in his custody, is horrendous, and no the courts do not care.

    NIBSIH

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m sorry to hear that. This was the first time he’s called me like that. Other times he will just cut the weekend short so he can go party or he will cancel altogether. I was glad he was able to say he was sick, but he will never admit why. And I don’t think this will be the norm. Now, he’s just backed out completely of visits…at least since this one. We’ll see how the road continues to unfold, but for now, im grateful he’s not pushing for visitation and my boys are safe. You and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’m sorry to hear that. Unfortunately the grandparents on that side are just like him. He followed right in his own fathers footsteps, and in many ways, his mother too. I feel sad for all of them. But it’s not my responsibility to make them care or change. Luckily my sons have my parents and family who are wonderful, present and healthy. And that’s enough! I’ll pray for your situation and that you get to see your grandchild more often somehow!

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  16. I hope one day I hope I can be at this point one day with my ex husband. How do you do it? He isn’t an alcoholic, but I’m sure he is on something and does go out drinking quite a bit. He’s always out with friends or busy in some way that prevents him from seeing his daughter (4 years old). Over the past 3 years I’ve spent so much time trying to force him to check on her and spend time with her, but a week and a half ago I gave up after him not having anything to do with her since I picked her up on January 1st of this year. He is always all about seeing her for a month or two and will make plans to see her, either cancels or drops her off with his mom, then I pick her up and don’t hear from him for months. The most we’ve said to each other in the past month and a half is arguing over him helping pay for her glasses and giving me a small amount of child support, which he hasn’t done. I don’t feel sorry for him, I’m angry with him because he is hurting my baby girl. She cries because he doesn’t see her. She constantly asks to go over there, but I cannot stomach giving her to him when he won’t even ask me how she is doing and I know he will just drop her off with his mom if he does get her. His family hasn’t contacted me about her since he had her last. It’s like she doesn’t exist to them. Thankfully she has my fiance and his family to love her. My fiance has been more of a father to her than her real dad, he has treated her like she is his biological daughter since we went public with out relationship, he helps me with anything she needs and wants. She doesn’t call him dad and most of the time is mean to him, but that is because my ex bad mouths him and gets mad when she calls my fiance her step dad. My ex has made me out to be a monster who is only after money to his friends and family. I wish I could just shake some sense into my ex husband. So many times he has said “I love her, that is enough, I’m a great father.” How do I let the anger go? I hope one day to be as strong as you. *note we are still in the divorce process because I can’t afford a lawyer and with him being a pathological liar I don’t want to get started without one and he hasn’t even asked about when we are going to finish the divorce, my guess is because he decided he was gay after we split up, so he isn’t looking into getting married or anything* I’m really sorry for such a long comment, I just haven’t seen a post so similar to what I’m going through where the author actually replies.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mary, you are so sweet. First, thank you for taking the time to share your story with me. Thank you for believing in my strength. Second, I’m so sorry you are going through this. Its devastating and the emotions you’re having are completely justified and normal. It has taken me a solid year to get to this point and honestly, it depends on when you catch me how strong, forgiving, and at peace I feel. Today, I’m more angry because after pulling what he did, he now is demanding to see them this weekend, but only for one day because the whole weekend like he’s supposed to do is too much and he “has to work” though when he gave me,his schedule a couple weeks ago, the weekends were free. Its tough to stomach. I don’t always handle it with grace and forgiveness.
      I think the biggest thing that has helped me to let go is seeing the reality of who he is. I was so desperate to believe he could be what I wanted him to be, but the distance and time showed me how wrong I was, and that I had no choice but to let go. Its still painful, but in different ways now.
      Give yourself time. I’m so glad you’ve got good support and that your daughter has a strong and positive male role model now. I’d also say to allow yourself to be wherever you are. If you’re mad, be mad. If you’re hurt, be hurt. If you’re sad, be sad. This process sucks, but its necessary for healing. I can’t imagine all you’ve experienced and I’m sorry you’re dealing with. it does sound like you’ve got good people in your corner. Lean on them and allow them to support you. You’re going to be ok.
      Thanks for reaching out to me. You’ll continue to be in my thoughtless prayers.

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  17. Being a father of two beautiful boys and being a positive influence in the lives of those boys is the greatest accomplishment of my life. I can’t imagine being any different.
    To see an old friend destroy himself and even worse a beautiful family is painful and to read.
    I’m glad those boys have an amazing mother, strong, determined and beautiful. I admire your strength to speak your mind and open your heart for all to read.

    Liked by 1 person

    • This means so much to me Kevin! Thank you. Its been a painful process, and we are still at the beginning. I admire you as a father and husband and it’s wonderful to see your commitment to your family. We need more men like you in the world. Thankfully, I have a family that operates that way so it doesn’t shock me to see men who do what they’re supposed to. It does still shock me I chose one who doesn’t though. Its hard to stomach some days. I appreciate you taking the time to read and for your continued words of encouragement and support. They truly mean a lot!

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  18. Wow, wow, wow. I came across your page, miraculously. Thank you for sharing, I find myself struggling with all these same things, and same feelings, just now trying to begin this journey of separation after 20 years. I know deep down it’s the best (even though I talk myself into thinking, try one more time), and I know deep down, that I gave my best, but can’t help but to feel like a failure, like maybe I’m overreacting. I’m really just learning how to ACCEPT a man for who he shows me he is, instead of believing what he says he is. I’m so blessed to have come across your page, because in reality, I fight with myself to maintain the images, the hope, the trust, the belief that my family is worth fighting for. However, I’m fighting alone, fighting with myself, fighting with him, fighting, fighting, fighting. Your writings have definitely brought to light exactly what I needed to read, because sometimes I don’t even know what I feel!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh you nailed it. I’m first of all so sorry you’re going through this, but I am,so glad you found me and feel encouraged by my blog. That’s my hope in writing this pain and beauty out! Learning to accept someone for who they show you they are versus who they tell you they are… That has been the core of this whole relationship and journey out for me! So so hard, and devastating to have to finally face the fact that this person We tried so hard to make into something else, is a actually who they’ve shown they are all along. You’re on the right track though now, and although it’s excruciating, I’m so proud of you! You were in it all much longer than me, so I can only imagine how much deeper Your damage may be. But it sounds like you’re beginning to heal already. Its a painful process, but a truly beautiful one in all its messy, ugly, raw truth. Hang in there! So glad you landed here and I pray I can be an encouragement to you as we walk this journey together. Hugs and prayers 💙❤💙

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  19. This is perfectly and beautifully written. It hits every feeling I have had over the past almost year. The first year of my sons life. Its how I grew up and certainly not how I wanted to raise my child. My heart is slowly healing and I needed to find a blog like this. Knowing someone else feels what I feel makes it a little bit better. Thank you for sharing your life.

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    • Wow that means a lot. I am sorry you’re experiencing this, both as a child and now as a parent. It’s very difficult, but know that you are enough for your child and you’re doing a beautiful job, not missing anything! Glad you found me and I hope you stick around!

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  20. Thank you, thank you, thank you for such a poignant, beautiful piece of writing. I’m not even sure how I landed up reading your blog (I think I clicked through from Huff Post?!), but boy, am I glad I did! I find myself in a similar situation to you and you have put into words the sadness I feel for the father of my three girls, how much he is missing out on, as well as the legacy they will eventually come to know. I am not usually a blog reader, but I will come back to yours.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re welcome to your opinions and I’m fine with people disagreeing with me, but when you are judging and criticizing based on one blog post when you don’t know my life, my husband, my details, or any other blog posts I’ve written about my life, I don’t need that kind of negativity. I have enough of that.

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  21. I love this!
    I love it! I love it! I love it! I read it 3 times today already. I came across your letter in Spanish but it wasn’t the same I knew there was more and it got my attention “single mom with 3 boys” how is she doing it? I’m in auto pilot with 2 gorgeous ones. Anyway I Google you and here I am. Thank you so much for your words, for sharing your thoughts and feelings.
    God bless you!

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