No child deserves an absent dad
The pain a child feels when a father is absent cuts to the bone. No child, neither a toddler nor an adult son, deserves absent parents.
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I ’ve been away for work for most of this week, but today I’ll be at the office and I’ll be home early. And rightly so – it is my stepson’s 18th birthday.
I hesitate to say stepson, because after living with his mother for 10 years he is like my own family.
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But this story is largely about the dynamics of the relationship between stepparents and stepchildren.
This morning, I’ll shake his hand, congratulate him and give him the gift I managed to buy him during the chaos of my work travels.
But it won’t be such a big thing – the big celebration was last Saturday evening, when he went to a bar with his friends and family and tested something stronger than soda for the first time.
In the early morning hours, the lovely Snapdragon and I drove him home and he was extremely talkative.
One matter emerged continuously – he wished his father was there. He so wanted to talk to his dad.
But, as is the case with most of the important events in his life, his father was absent.
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And the pain was evident, because an 18 year old simply doesn’t have the ability to hide hurt, not even during such a joyous occasion.
I’m not in the position to judge his dad. I don’t have any idea about the personal challenges he has to face every day.
But I have seen the raw pain his absence over 18 years has caused his flesh and blood – and I share that pain.
No child, neither a toddler nor an adult son, deserves absent parents.
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“My dog Rocky looks friendly, but when strangers come to our house…,” Little Egg told me last week during one of our many discussions about her miniature pincher. “Is he aggressive with strangers?” I asked.
“Aggressive?” she snarled. “He’s a ferocious beast.” It was extremely funny to her an expression such as “ferocious beast” from the mouth of a sweet seven year old.
It was one of those amusing moments that I, as a parent, will cherish forever. But this week, I kept thinking about Gustave’s dad. Rugby tackles can hurt.
A remark that wasn’t considered can cause pain. But the actions of a parent towards his offspring… the bite of a ferocious beast is nothing in comparison.
Today, on that boy’s 18th, my heart bleeds for him.
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