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February 14, 2012.
I rarely remember dates yet that one has been burned into my mind as it is the last time I saw my son.
That day I kept telling him I was sorry and I would rather stay jobless and close to him than have a job and be apart. He told me he knew it was best for me and that he just wanted me doing better. That is the kind of man he is becoming.
I moved only around 2 hours away but by the time I had the money and means to come and visit he had moved 6 more hours away to his grandmothers. And so it went.
We talk often and his biggest sentiment, and mine, is how much we miss each other and can’t wait to get together again. Finally having a better job and more money the strategy of getting to see him this summer started coming together. We first wanted to just go visit him but even just a few nights in a hotel along with food and gas and all that goes with a vacation would be near 1000 dollars. A tall order for us at this time.
So arrangements were agreed upon that I would pay for his bus ticket down. I have never been as excited as the day those plans were agreed upon and everything came together. I would have him for right at 8 days and found ways to squeeze as much time together as possible. And I was overjoyed at the idea of introducing him to the amazing new family I have.
But those plans are all but completely shot down now. His grandmother is not sure about sending him to see me. Not because she thinks I’m unfit but because he hasn’t been behaving to her liking. My argument is that keeping a son from his dad is no fit punishment for almost any behavior. This is exacerbated by the fact that he has aspergers, a form of autism, that he has struggled with.
Her comment was that I’m not his dad.
This is technically true. I am not the man who brought him into this world. I am not the man who ignored him most of his life. I am not the man who would occasionally call and make promises of grand Christmas gifts and birthday visits that never occurred.
I’m the man who met him when he was 3 and fell in love with his personality. I’m the man who taught him the basics of Lego building that became his talent and obsession. I’m the man who taught him how great Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and Weird Al are. I’m the man who was there for those birthdays and Christmases with him crying into my shoulder asking why his Dad never came. I’m the man who stayed in his life, no matter what, after his mother and I split up when he was 9. I am the man he continues to call dad 5 years after that point. I may not be his ‘father’ but I AM his dad.
Of course, I have no legal rights to him or I would have him here. Not as a vacation, but to live. But I have no such rights.
Now I am scrambling to figure out how to come up with enough money to go see him. It will happen, but may be limited to a day or two. It will happen because I miss him. It will happen because I have faith God will make it happen. It will happen because I have the same feeling that any mother or father could tell you they feel when they are away from their kids for any length of significant time, let alone 2+ years.
But I want this shared to show support for those dads who aren’t ‘Fathers’. To show love for those who are there, not because they have to, but because they choose to. We have no rights if something goes wrong yet we throw our hearts into it 100% with no emotional safety net.
Share this if you are or know one of these dads.