You’re pretty pissed at me right now and if I put myself in your shoes, I get why. The cloud you’re in is super thick and I’d be afraid if I couldn’t see what the future holds either. In fact, that’s exactly why I stare at laptop at 2:00 in the morning most nights, just trying to let the anxiety die down enough to shut off my brain and get some sleep.

I worry that you might believe that I don’t love you enough, but that’s so far from the truth I have no idea how to qualify that idea. I’m so tired of the truth being obscured. But would it matter if it wasn’t? Probably not.

You may hate me right now, but here’s my truth:

I love you beyond words. I think about you almost every minute of every day, hoping, somehow, we can get through this without ever having to use the word ‘estranged’. There are times when I’m sitting at my desk, or walking to the restroom that I just shake my head in amazement at where we are. How did we get here? Does it matter? This is the worst place ever for a father to be and I’m in it. This was, legitimately, my worst nightmare and it is my life. I am paralyzed with fear.

I’m here, in this physical place, for you. When I had to leave San Diego, I didn’t want to. I had no job. I had no place to live. The pandemic had shut everything down, including the job market, and San Diego is a notoriously rough place to find work because everyone wants to live there; there’s a large pool of people ready and willing to do what I do, so getting into one of the few jobs available takes a serious act of god. I couldn’t pull it off.

I could have couch surfed for a while, but you flat out told me you didn’t want that. I didn’t either, so that worked out. The best option for me was to temporarily go to the East Coast, away from you, so I could gather my wits, still support you from a distance, and figure out what was next.

You have to understand how much it ripped my heart out to begin that drive. It was horrifying. Debilitating. And I swore I’d be back. So I did. I kept my word. I need you to know that. I kept my word. I did what I said I was going to do. This is important. I’ve been told that I haven’t shown up, that I haven’t kept my word, that I haven’t prioritized, but I have and I did. With the only tools at my disposal, I have attempted to rebuild my life on the fly while being available, present, and supportive in any way I can – or any way you’d let me.

And that’s where I’m at, right now. Providing all the support I can while hoping that some of it seeps through the protective wall you’ve built. Oh, please don’t think I resent that wall. My god, no. I get why. We all need to protect ourselves from hurt and pain and anguish, so we build walls to try as hard as we can to find a quick respite from the wars that rage outside. I understand how it looked and why it hurt so much. Sometimes the best decisions still involve hurting the ones you love most.

I am heartbroken. Totally and completely heartbroken. I’m trying so hard to keep it together but it’s slipping. I don’t know what to do. Every day I tell myself I’m gonna be the best dad I can be today and I swear to god I do my best. You don’t see that today. And that’s ok. You’re alive, you’re breathing, you’re healthy, and you’re growing. Good. This knowledge, at the least, lets me breathe. And that’s all I need.


 

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