Unless you live in a cave, you must know today is the day before Father's Day.
Or maybe I just notice it more as a single parent, painfully aware we are missing one half of the parenting team my daughter should have.
Normally I barely register it, so used to it just being Wriggles and I. I am pretty OK with how things are; I've never known anything other than single parenting and it works for us, maybe selfishly but works for me. That is not to say the door is closed, that I have tried to shut you out, shut you up, blot you out. You know where we live, you just don't come knocking. And right now as gifts shops around the UK and the parenting world knows it is the cusp of Father's Day. Call it a commercial ploy, write it off; it doesn't stop it hurting when it rolls around though. Because up and down the country, families, little children, big children, partners of brand new children will be celebrating the man in their lives. And we are missing one; to be honest more than missing you we are missing what we could have had. And a part of me thinks that even if you turn out to be a reformed character in years to come, Father's Day will always be a reminder for me at least of your initial lack of enthusiasm. I hope you step up, truly I do. It makes me feel sick to think my Wriggles might grow up feel ignored, unwanted, not half as special as she is. So I hope you come back for her. I wish you would. Today the world seemed alive with dads. Doting, playful, exasperated, grumbling, adoring dads. Dads there in the thick of them. Some had partners, some were alone. But they were there.
I've just put her to bed. We had a rough bath time after she refluxed and was sick everywhere, crying her eyes out. Exhausted, she fell asleep on my lap as I mindlessly watched The Voice, more listening to her breathing rise and fall than a bunch of hopefuls. Over a hour later as she snored softly and my leg went numb, I softly put her down in her cot. Nearly 3 and she still sleeps deeply like a new baby, fists clenched and face screwed up. All those nights you never saw, the baby years you will never go back. That intimacy of a sleeping child. How did you not want it? Not crave it? My favourite mornings was waking nose-to-nose with a gurgling child, sweaty curls matted on her head. I know you can't always miss what you don't know, but I can't imagine how I wouldn't need that knowing I had a child. My shoulder is now wet with her dribble. I wonder if you'd think that was a bit gross. To me it's a badge of honour.
There is so much I want to ask you but far more so much I am afraid to. In all honesty, I don't think I want to know why you have chosen to withdraw. I am certain it wouldn't make me like you any more. Is it because you're not here, you can't see her and fully experience that love? Is it because you don't understand her disabilities? Is it because you simply never wanted children? Is it because of me, because you didn't love me and therefore don't love your child like you could? All fill me with fear mixed with the unknown it might be none of them. I cannot understand being the one that lives with her, knows her so closely. I can't do anything without thinking of her.
I'm not sure what you'll be doing tomorrow. I wonder if you'll miss her; think of her first thing and last thing. As you see your own father will you wonder what happened to your own fathering? Wriggles is too little I think to understand it all yet. She certainly is not wanting for loving men in her life, thank goodness. That is your loss at this moment in time. The potential for loving divided out between others. Humans are forgiving beings though and love is more complex than we'll ever understand. I know in time if you wanted you could have splodgy hand-printed cards, bent and dog-eared crafty items, hot breathed hugs. But you have to ask; a chosen and deliberate absence deserves nothing.
I will make sure she has a good day tomorrow as always. It will be a strange one. I might have to provide all family roles but it will never be my day. I am not a father. So until you reappear in our lives, her life, it is a day to effectively forget. Just another Sunday.