It should not have taken me by such surprise but it did. For months my husband said he loved me, loved being a family man, loved being a dad to Spook. He bought me things. Then one day after months of telling me I was fine and didn’t need my meds because all my issues were just my bad personality…He called from work at 6 p.m. and said he’d see us after work. Three hours later, he called, mumbled into the phone, “I can’t do this anymore,” and he hung up. No doubt smashing his phone as he’d done before when he was ‘done’ with a woman. I was flabbergasted. I kept calling his cell and it went to voice mail.
I tore into the bedroom and sure enough, all his clothes and computer were gone. Still not sure when or how he pulled that off since we had one car and he had no license so I wouldn’t let him use it, but I was in a bad mental space. He could have sprouted two heads and I likely wouldn’t have noticed. I’d begged him for weeks to make a call and get me into a psych doc because by that time, I was petrified to talk to other people. He always said he forgot, he’d do it tomorrow. He never did then had the nerve to say I drove him away by not being on my meds. After saying I didn’t need them, I just had personality disorders. This man everyone else found so charming and upstanding was in fact a pathological liar.
I immediately took Spook to my mom’s and took myself to the ER. I was going to get medicated and referred to a psych doc and I was gonna get in my right mind because now I was a single mom with a 2 year old to raise on my small disability income. 3/4 of which was rent. I was in a panic but once I got some Xanax on board, I calmed down. I was still confused why he handled it like a teenage boy breaking up with a girlfriend. We were married, we had a child together, and ending things with a cryptic call after just 3 hours earlier tell me how much he loved me. I do not think even baffled is a strong enough word to describe how I was feeling for the next week or two.
Once medicated properly again with a reliable doctor, was when the gravity and reality of the sudden single motherhood finally hit me. This 2 year old little girl, confused that ‘da-da’ was suddenly not around, was counting on me. For everything. When some days with my mental health issues, it was all I could do to get myself out of bed and dressed. I did my very best, though, to keep a smile on my face and keep her routine normal as possible. If tears threatened, I’d step out of her view or into the bathroom, not wishing to add to her confusion of why mommy was so sad and scared. And I was terrified. The man left us with a power bill about to be disconnected, no food in the fridge, and Spook with no diapers. I had no way to bring in more money to get this stuff and many a night I stayed awake, stomach churning with anxiety, and cursing the day I allowed the donor to lie his way into my life.
But everything happens for a reason and without him, I would not have my beautiful daughter so I regret nothing.
I can’t however, forget anything, either. My own fear, my feelings of inadequacy, worrying if I was going to pass on my mental issues and ruin my child. Year after year, it became harder and more of a crippling fear. I admit there were times I basically zombie shambled through each day, making sure even if I hadn’t eaten or bathed in days, Spook’s needs were always met. The power of my love for my child gave me the strength to keep going, even when every fiber of my depressed being told me she’d be better off without me dragging her down. There were times when she would scream and hit me and break things and I’d call hotlines because I felt I needed help and yet…They didn’t see it as a problem other than a lack of consistent discipline on my part so I had to take on that added guilt and blow to my self esteem.
There were times I almost wished her father would reappear and ask for visitation so I wouldn’t feel so crushed under the weight of it all by myself. I admit that with zero pride but I was overwhelmed and scared and…a train-wreck.
He’s been gone 9 years. He’s not asked to see our child. He moves and changes jobs and girlfriends every couple of months. He tells people I won’t let him see her. 9 years with limited resources financially and mentally, I have raised this child alone. Doctor appointments, school, homework, school events, constant playdates at our house to the point I thought I’d have a nervous breakdown. The tantrums and her hitting me. The screaming. The ADHD. I am still here because I am her mom and I love her.
To use something irutarts said to me, “He left in peace and left you in pieces.”
That he did. But I picked up those pieces and I put myself back together best I could.
The point everyone seems to miss is that this was never about him or me being jerks to each other. It’s about a little girl who asked for none of this and his abandonment and shunning of her is unforgivable. When she asks me why other kids have dads and she doesn’t…I just have to tell her that her father and I couldn’t get along and he’s left his other kids, too, so it’s not your fault, Baby.
He left her in pieces that will probably remain shattered into her adulthood and that is the true heartbreak of this failed relationship.
The one thing she can say though is that she didn’t have a loving devoted mom who made sacrifices she she didn’t have to do without. Maybe she lost the two parent lottery, but she will always have me and I hope one day that means something to her. Maybe one day she will focus not on my failures but all of the things I did right.
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