Today Is My Daughter's Birthday...Today is my daughter's birthday.
I can remember, almost as if it were yesterday, this day, nearly two decades ago, when I was blessed to witness the miracle of her birth. I even got to see her before her mother, and I remember her taking her very first breath on this earth. Maybe as a result of that unique experience (I wasn't present in the delivery room for the birth of my other children), we had always enjoyed a special bond, over and beyond the magical relationship which often links fathers and their daughters.
I remember the joy I always felt when I would hold her little hand and proudly walk her to school many, many years ago. Or how she would brighten my day , years later, every time she would come to my office to eat her lunch with me (my office was a short walk from her school at that time). And more recently, I remember how, when I would be working late at night in my study, and she would be up late studying for a test or just preparing herself for the following school day, she would bring me a nice cup of tea and we would chit chat together or amuse ourselves by reciting verbatim the dialog of our favorite movies.
Today is my daughter's birthday. It is a day when we should be celebrating, with joy, the blessing that she is, the young woman that she has become.
Instead, because her mother has decided that I should be punished for having had the nerve to break free from her web of manipulation and deceit, my daughter cannot celebrate even the smallest part of her birthday with her Dad. As in the past, my cards and emails will be ignored and go unanswered.
It is apparently far more important for a mother who did have a relationship with her father to deprive her own daughter of enjoying a relationship with her Dad. It is apparently more important for a mother who continues to enjoy a relationship with her sisters to deprive her daughter from enjoying a relationship with her only sister because that sister is in contact with their Dad...
Whatever the reasons that lead parents to separate, is it really necessary to use your children as a weapon to get back at the other parent? Is it really too much to realize and accept that, with very few exceptions, children of all ages can only benefit from an active, loving relationship with BOTH parents?
If you're a parent engaged in that sort of behavior (and you know who you are!), then I beg you, beg you, to please stop. Is revenge really so sweet that it's worth the emotional well-being of your child or children? Remember that no one is 100% right or 100% wrong in any disagreement so, chances are that you're not as blameless as you may have convinced yourself. Besides, there are countless other, more positive ways, to express your dissatisfaction without involving your innocent children.
And if you're a child who, for reasons which you know deep down are not your own, has been convinced by one of your parents that you should have nothing to do with your other parent, then I'm begging you as well to please, please reconsider. If, prior to the conflict between your parents, you had a good relationship with the parent you're discouraged from now having contact with, chances are that your parent is grieving your absence from their life and you are missing out on precious years together. Ask anyone who has suffered the loss of a parent through bereavement if they don't think the years they had together weren't precious...
Not every parent knows the "right" words or approach to reconnect with you under these circumstances. But that doesn't mean that they don't love you, miss you and grieve your absence from their lives. Please give them a chance, if you can safely do so, and reach out to them. At the very least, give them a sign, no matter how small, that you're not entirely lost to them. You have no idea how that little sign may be what they need today to hang in there and to persevere in trying to free you from the selfish grip of your other parent.
Many of us who participate in this Experience Group are parents who have have spent year after year waiting and hoping to reconnect with a loved child. If you are an alienated child (of any age), you can help yourself, and ultimately BOTH your parents, by keeping the lines of communication open between yourself and each parent. You did not create the situation you find yourself in, but you can certainly contribute to resolving it by reaching out to your alienated parent whenever you can. Today. Please.
Many parents here in this Group will thank you for even the smallest of gestures and, hopefully, you will not have to spend another one-sided birthday as my daughter did today.
Life is too short. Please don't waste another moment of it.