Need Some Help Answering Questions About An Absent Father
My daughter is 2 1/2 years old now. Her father and I have been off and on for the past 4 years. He is an alcoholic and drug addict. He went into a Christian rehabilitation program in 2011 for 7 months and came out seemingly different. However, he seemed to learn only new "lingo" to convince people that he is changed and sober. But, he is not. After 3 months of living together again and my child building a memory of him, we are now split for good. He has not tried to contact her in over 3 weeks, does not pay child support, has been using drugs and alcohol again, and recently lost his job. -To explain to you how severe his case of addiction is, on April 26th, our daughter fell and bust 3 teeth out of socket. She had to have 3 removed and a 4th was a possibility. Thankfully, she was able to keep the 4th tooth. The doctors in the ER that night gave her a toddler prescription for pain which was Tylenol and a small amount of hydrocodone in it - which, she did well without. But, when she was able to eat solid foods and was definitely in the clear - Her dad stole it and pretended that I lost it at the babysitter's and then admitted that he "took it and threw it away because she didn't need it anymore." By that point, I had already bust him with beer, marijauna, and prescription medication. So, I knew he drank her medicine. Now, she is always asking about her daddy. Before he came out of treatment, she had no clue who he was because we had been seperated for over a year. However, in the last few months that we were trying to make our "family" work, she has created memories of him and asks about him every night. I started off by telling her that "Daddy's at work." That was sufficiant. Then, I realized that after a couple of tantrums as she'd scream at me "I want to see daddy!" I knew I needed to give her a better explaination. She's quite the smart little toddler, as all kids pick up on things quite fast. So, I started to explain that "Daddy lives at his house and we have our house." I tell her that "We're a good team!" Right now, that's working. But, she calls other men "Daddy" For example, the little girl at the babysitter's dad is "Daddy" to my daughter. She also called a best friend of mine's "Daddy (and his name). Last night, she called to me asking again to see her daddy and I said to her "Well baby, he lives at his house and we might not see him" (He is also without a vehicle and is from another state) I don't know what to tell her except that he's at his house and we might not see him for a while. I have no clue where or when he will resurface. I really wish at this point that he would just give me full parental rights. I have raised her since she is 10 days old on my own and I have always been the one to provide all 3 of our needs. In fact, he has past referred to me as the "bread winner in the family". But, he will let her go- not for love or to be present in raising her, but because of his pride. His own father was an addict and died when he was 13 tragically in a jet ski accident (intoxicated) and crashed into a boat. He was then raised by an abusive step father and his family is not even present in my child's life. They all live in separate states. They have sent her gifts and cards during the holidays. But, her paternal grandmother has seen her only 3 or 4 times in the last 2 1/2 years. My daughter does not even know who she is, or who her father's family is. Am I doing the right things? I make sure to call dinner time "Family Dinner Time" and play time "Family Play Time" and everything is "Family ---- Time." Last night is the 1st time I told her that "We probably won't see daddy again for a long time and that I didn't know if we were going to see daddy again." She continued playing and I asked her if that was "Okay?" and she was completely fine and happy and said "Yes." I should mention... she's a very happy little girl who wakes up and falls aslepp with a smile on her face every single day. I tell her I love her constantly. She's very bright and we sing and play games, and read constantly. We count, we do chores together and sing songs while we do, and I have her on a very structural and consistant routine everyday and night. But, I'm so worried for her future. I don't show my feelings except constant feelings of joy and love for her. But, I have tears of fear coming to me as I write this. I did not come from a split home. In fact, I have a family where my mother and father's siblings are all married - no one in my family was ever divorced and I just have no clue how to deal with this situation. It is so foreign to me. Any words of advice? Anyone?