A Worthy Fight

posted in: Blog | 0

What type of parent doesn't fight for their child?

My father chose to give up.

After I was out of my teens, he explained to me that my mother made his life very difficult. There was always an issue with child support or visitation and he couldn't deal with the constant arguing.

Six year old me just wanted her daddy.

No stories exist about our lives before the divorce. Does anyone remember what my life looked like back then? We were a family. Somewhere down the line, my parents forgot that.

My father went into hiding. He set up a home thousands of miles away, far from my mother and far from me. He didn't leave a forwarding address or telephone number. For years, I didn't even know which state he was in. 

Wasn't I worth fighting for?

Instead, he married another woman with children of her own. My father didn't need me anymore. I was replaced.

As more grandchildren came into the picture, I was slowly pushed out of a family I was desperately trying to hold onto.

Everything he gave me was sacred. A stack of  greeting cards, rubber banded togteher, tucked under my mattress had magical qualities. Tracing his signature with my fingernail was the closest I came to touching him. With the envelope touching my lips, I would breathe in. Maybe, if I tried real hard, I could inhale a bit of his spirit.

He never called. Was it to avoid talking to my mother or had he forgotten about me?

Visits were few and far between. Four hours, once a year, doesn't make for a strong bond between father and daughter. His parents would spring these visits on me without warning. As I sat sandwiched between my grandparents on the drive to their house bile rose up in the back of my throat. I had strict orders to memorize my father's license plate and find out as much information as I could. An obedient daughter, I didn't want to let down my mother, but I also didn't want to throw my father under the bus. Children should never be asked to act as a spy.

I went through my teen years believing no man would ever love me. If my father didn't want me, then how could any other man. I would do anything to make a boy tell me he loved me. Anything.

Half my life was spent scanning the crowd at school performances, softball games, dance recitals, and graduations. I always felt that a part of me was missing. 

You may think that staying away is in everyone's best interest. Conversely, you may feel you are justified preventing your ex from having time with their child . You claim that your ex is bat shit crazy or the mere sight of them makes your skin crawl. Even if it was just a one night stand, two halves came together to become a beautiful whole.

18 years after the divorce, with a phone number and an address in hand, I wondered if we could finally build a relationship.

He was dead less than a year later.



Follow Jennifer Swartvagher:

Latest posts from

Leave a Reply